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
Well, i dont have trouble understanding emotions. I just dont feel that they are more important in making decisions than logic. I consider myself as a emphatic guy, and that sometimes bothers me alot.
5 years ago
I am a pretty strong INTP, and being entirely frank, I have never had that much trouble understanding emotions. Many of my close friends and peers confirm this. For me, I often think of them in very logical manners, like cause and effect (ie x event happened and caused her to feel y emotion), and making observations about people put together into a bigger picture. I am not at all an empathic, but I have been told by many that I come across as one, just by being able to break down the person someone is and know who they are at a level that really surprises them. I am not sure if other INTPs are the same way, or drastically different from me. But for me it's not the understanding emotion I lack, it's the feeling it and the true firsthand of having been there. The concepts themselves are really easy. Otherwise, this description is pretty accurate. Any other INTPs break down the emotions of others in a similar way?
5 years ago
It's not that we lack the ability to understand emotion. It's hard to explain for me. But I think it lies more in that we see, and feel and sense on a level that we also analyze to understand ourselves, to sate our constant need to know ourselves. When we become bored with the pattern that doesn't move and the categories that don't change, others perceive that we are disconnected. And since we are constantly analyzing ourselves we begin to think we are disconnected as well, therefore giving us the impression of being emotionless and unsypathetic, knowing we're not and having an issue with anything coming close to calling us so. I hope I'm making sense.
5 years ago
I am so an INTP, yet in some ways I am not.... The things that make me think I am an INTP: * I may have emotions but I feel the need to make sure nobody else knows I do because I think they get in the way and make one seem weal and less tough and able, I can't relate to others' emotions and I don't know what to do when someone else gets emotional- All I can do is bring some humor and sarcasm to things which really doesn't help at all. * I am bad at explaining things, such as giving advice. I once saw a funny shirt that explained this- "I'm not so good with the advice- could I interest you in a sarcastic comment?" * I have that zoning out thing * I don;t know how to give out or take in compliments.... * I don't know how to react to people being really nice and girly. * I speak my mind and have no qualms about it, and to quote a sentence I used once, "And if you don't like it you can just go back wherever you come from and sit on a great big tack, is what you can do, and see if I care, which I won't, so don't hold your breath!" (And yes. That got me in big trouble. But to this day I don't care. It needed saying at the time.) Thing that make me think I don't know what I am: * Math...I just can't get my head around it- I don't think I'm smart enough * I don't not like science, but I don't love it either- I just am not REALLY interested in doing something with that, It's just a subject I did pretty well in. * My parents used to have to FORCE me to go into a store and pay for something- I am not shy but I HATED the interaction with, and money exchange with, the clerk- I am not shy but yet I hated it. I didn't know how to act. To this day I am not big on it. I handle it though. I have studied INFP or whatever that one with the F is and that one is SO not me- So I guess I'm just a weird INTP?
Bob Loblaw
5 years ago
Lol, the t-shirt quote is from friends :D Good old Chanandler.
5 years ago
I am very grateful for the comments sections on this page. For a while I doubted myself and was convinced that I was not who I was and that I was essentially worthless and would never accomplish anything. I was convinced that I was not creative or imaginative or good at abstract thought and coming up with theories and seeing connections. People would say that I was smart but I just could not really see it. I love science but was, until recently, convinced I would fail at it. Reading these comments helped me realize that I could do a lot of things and that I am in fact an INTP. So I would like to say thank you to you all because for a while I was drifting through space getting farther and farther from myself and you guys sort of brought me back. I was asking so many questions that I knew could never be answered and that scared me and made me feel worthless but this has helped me accept the fact that I will never get the answers but that that is okay because that means there will always be questions to be answered. I now know this is who I am, not all of me just sort of how my mind works. It's weird because usually I suck at expressing myself, especially my emotions, but maybe because this is writing it is different. Anyway, I have a question. Is this a me thing or an INTP thing where when you have a timer you tend to do a lot worse. On a test for example, if you are given an hour to do it and you just do so much worse because you know you only have an hour and then all of a sudden you cannot process things properly. I don't know its hard to explain but maybe you'll understand or something. So yeah.
5 years ago
Hi Amelia - Science is a wonderful field for an INTP, but that sense of impending failure is likely to stick with you no matter how well you do and no matter how much acclaim you meet with. Try to think of it (fear of impending doom) as something that serves to keep us humble and striving. At least for me, it helped to take the edge off it to look at it that way. WRT the timer thing: all of the P's have a problem with deadlines, and we INTP's especially have problems with arbitrary deadlines. Yet I, myself, always tend to do better on timed anything because the playful gamer (N) in me wakes up and takes over. Plus, I am curious to see just how much I can do in 10 minutes or an hour, so as to learn more about myself and my mastery of the subject at hand. If you cannot control your T during tests, reframing the situation may help you. For one thing, are you studying for grades or to learn? Timed tests can help you learn by showing you which areas you are weaker in so you can shore those up; the score you get is perhaps less important than what you can find out about your mastery. Also, try to look at it from the test-giver's standpoint: that person has other places to go after the test and wants to get lunch in, so perhaps the deadline is not so arbitrary. It isn't all about you. Hope that helps. Life is short. Try to have as much fun as you can.
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.
Your name: