INTP Personality (“The Logician”)

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Albert Einstein

The INTP personality type is fairly rare, making up only three percent of the population, which is definitely a good thing for them, as there’s nothing they’d be more unhappy about than being "common". INTPs pride themselves on their inventiveness and creativity, their unique perspective and vigorous intellect. Usually known as the philosopher, the architect, or the dreamy professor, INTPs have been responsible for many scientific discoveries throughout history.

The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living

INTPs are known for their brilliant theories and unrelenting logic – in fact, they are considered the most logically precise of all the personality types.

They love patterns, and spotting discrepancies between statements could almost be described as a hobby, making it a bad idea to lie to an INTP. This makes it ironic that INTPs’ word should always be taken with a grain of salt – it’s not that they are dishonest, but people with the INTP personality type tend to share thoughts that are not fully developed, using others as a sounding board for ideas and theories in a debate against themselves rather than as actual conversation partners.

This may make them appear unreliable, but in reality no one is more enthusiastic and capable of spotting a problem, drilling through the endless factors and details that encompass the issue and developing a unique and viable solution than INTPs – just don’t expect punctual progress reports. People who share the INTP personality type aren’t interested in practical, day-to-day activities and maintenance, but when they find an environment where their creative genius and potential can be expressed, there is no limit to the time and energy INTPs will expend in developing an insightful and unbiased solution.

INTP personality

Wisdom Begins in Wonder

They may appear to drift about in an unending daydream, but INTPs’ thought process is unceasing, and their minds buzz with ideas from the moment they wake up. This constant thinking can have the effect of making them look pensive and detached, as they are often conducting full-fledged debates in their own heads, but really INTPs are quite relaxed and friendly when they are with people they know, or who share their interests. However, this can be replaced by overwhelming shyness when INTP personalities are among unfamiliar faces, and friendly banter can quickly become combative if they believe their logical conclusions or theories are being criticized.

When INTPs are particularly excited, the conversation can border on incoherence as they try to explain the daisy-chain of logical conclusions that led to the formation of their latest idea. Oftentimes, INTPs will opt to simply move on from a topic before it’s ever understood what they were trying to say, rather than try to lay things out in plain terms.

The reverse can also be true when people explain their thought processes to INTPs in terms of subjectivity and feeling. Imagine an immensely complicated clockwork, taking in every fact and idea possible, processing them with a heavy dose of creative reasoning and returning the most logically sound results available – this is how the INTP mind works, and this type has little tolerance for an emotional monkey-wrench jamming their machines.

Let Those Who Would Move the World First Move Themselves

Further, with Thinking (T) as one of their governing traits, INTPs are unlikely to understand emotional complaints at all, and their friends won’t find a bedrock of emotional support in them. People with the INTP personality type would much rather make a series of logical suggestions for how to resolve the underlying issue, a perspective that is not always welcomed by their Feeling (F) companions. This will likely extend to most social conventions and goals as well, like planning dinners and getting married, as INTPs are far more concerned with originality and efficient results.

The one thing that really holds INTPs back is their restless and pervasive fear of failure. INTP personalities are so prone to reassessing their own thoughts and theories, worrying that they’ve missed some critical piece of the puzzle, that they can stagnate, lost in an intangible world where their thoughts are never truly applied. Overcoming this self-doubt stands as the greatest challenge INTPs are likely to face, but the intellectual gifts – big and small – bestowed on the world when they do makes it worth the fight.

Logicians You May Know

5 years ago
I am an INTP male and want to comment on the section on emotions- also might be helpful for those trying to figure out whether they are INTPs or INFJs (above). First of all the one thing that really annoys me about INTP type descriptions that I read is that we're made out to be completely insensitive and incapable of relating to others emotionally. This might have been true when I was a kid! but as I grew up I realized that people aren't like me and I must learn to understand other people. Secondly I don't appreciate the language in this description which makes it seem that an INTP doesn't value emotions, again this might have been true when I was young but people grow and mature. So how do I see emotions? For me emotions aren't something I need to suppress or ignore, they are fascinating and I spend huge amounts of time analyzing them and pondering the basis for them; they reveal so much about myself and others and must be studied if I'm going to at least attempt/pretend to make objective decisions. It is natural for me to make decisions by heavily leaning on reasoned arguments which go on in my head, but this does not mean that I don't consider emotions (a case in point is the deciding who might make a good marital partner- emotions are v. important). Furthermore I understand that others can pick up on someone's feelings better than myself and are therefore justified to make more use of them in their decision making. The problem comes in that I am not normally aware of the emotions I am feeling- I am not suppressing or hiding them, I'm just not thinking about them. Sometimes I cry, or am overwhelmingly happy and I don't know why- so I need to go away and reflect on it. However when I am aware of my emotions and the reasons behind them (unless they are ridiculously personal) I have no problem sharing them with anybody. This I think is quite unlike others who will share emotions with people they trust and know very well.
5 years ago
For myself, I am an INTP female. I was hyper-aware of the emotions of others from an early age; perhaps because I was so different and sought to seem like the ordinaries, Yet even now in my 50s, I have much finer discrimination for other's emotions than my own. I know my Anger, my Fear, my Love, but the nuances of feeling remain hidden to me still. For INTPs who would grasp more of emotion I recommend looking for web lists of emotion words. Hold each word close to your heart and FEEL it. Should it arise naturally (that emotion) you will give the proper label.
Cole Beckham
5 years ago
How good it is to realize that there are others like me!! I am not the only one! :D Not that I would be at all uncomfortable being the only one of my kind- instead, I am enthused because I have long daydreamed about people who think like me. It's also sort of nice to have some conformation that I'm not going insane. ^_^
5 years ago
I have been in a long term relationship with my INTP I - 50%, N 30%, T 90%, P 75% for about 2 years. I'm an ENTP E - 64%, N - 34%, T - 52%, P - 44%. We both really love to debate issues and solve puzzles together. We play many board games and have late into the night discussions! I bring out his social side by including him in my circle of really intelligent outgoing friends. My biggest challenge at first was getting him to show me he cares! I know all you INTP's are thinking...."he's with you...of course he cares...why would he waste his time if he didn't!" But it took quite a bit of research to understand what is going on under the surface. I needed to give him time and be patient, but I was way too inquisitive for that! I prodded him until he admitted that he does not trust people and it did not occur to him to tell me how much I meant to him or show any sort of emotions. His biggest fear was that he would let down the walls of his inner fortress surrounding his delicate crystal heart for me to leave him for someone else on a whim. He thought to himself “what if I commit everything to this person and in 10 years they leave me.” We also get along well because I let him unwind and re-charge everyday for a few hours when he gets home from work and then he comes to me ready to talk. This is something I greatly struggled with at first; being super Extraverted I would come home ready to explode with new ideas! I also think he appreciates and understands me better because his best friend growing up was an ENTP guy. I just wanted you all to know that it is possible to have someone appreciate how amazing and rare you INTPs are.
5 years ago
Tx Melissa and good luck in your relationship. My one comment is your partner is probably more skeptical than mistrusting and used the wrong word.
5 years ago
I wouldn't say that INTPs are free from bias. We can have a strong J tendency when we feel our values are threatened or under stress. I am an example of this myself, sometimes being irrational in bouts of strong emotion. Thus as to why I reserve myself as a thinker, just to triumph over these tidbits of rage. And sometimes our greatest strength can also be our greatest weakness. I often find myself hesitating when writing a story to get the wording just the way I like it. Descriptions are a pain to say the least.
5 years ago
we have the same qualities of Sherlock Holmes i guess we might add him to the list
5 years ago
depends on which sherlock holmes- he is portrayed differently according to the series/production
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