The Creative, Rational Type
Innovative, imaginative, logical, skeptical

The INTP Personality Type in Brief

INTPs approach life with a desire to grasp the underlying principles of everything around them. They’re not so interested in surface-level realities – they want to know the systems and essential components that make everything work. They are drawn to complex and elegant theories and models that they can dig into and explore in-depth. Theorizing, analyzing, and learning are all activities that bring them energy and excitement. When presented with new information, these types want to explore it and toss out any inaccuracies or logical inconsistencies that hamper the truth. More than anything the INTP seeks truth, precision, and clarity of thought. They’re not afraid to question social norms or rules in an effort to live a life that is honest and based on on their inner principles.

INTPs have many talents – they are the inventors, artists, engineers, writers, and troubleshooters of the world. They believe in generating ideas that will advance technology or human understanding. Imaginative and conceptual, they enjoy tinkering with ideas and objects to transform the world around them and make new discoveries.

  • Driving Force: To analyze, categorize, and evaluate information to understand how everything works and is connected.
  • Back-Up Strength: To explore alternatives, generate ideas, and discover hidden meanings and interconnections.
  • Weaknesses: May be so focused on the logic of something that they lose sight of the human impacts of their decisions. Can be overly-critical to a fault or out-of-touch with the needs of others.
  • Stressors: Excessive socializing, rigid rules and structures, being in emotionally turbulent situations, constraints on creativity, having to do things “by-the-book.”

What does INTP mean? An introduction to the four-letter type code

I = Introversion. INTPs focus inwards before responding to the outside world. They gain energy from alone time when they can reflect on their own thoughts.
N = iNtuition. INTPs prefer focusing on abstract possibilities and ideas rather than concrete data. They prefer imagining what could be rather than dwelling on what “is.”
T = Thinking. INTPs look at the world of logic, pros and cons, or cause and effect when they make a decision.
P = Perceiving. INTPs like having a lot of options and tend to be adaptable and flexible. They like to mix work with play and enjoy an exploratory approach to life.

Rumored Famous INTPs: Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Immanuel Kant, Marie Curie, Hannah Arendt, John Locke, Adam Smith, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Jesse Eisenberg, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Richard Ayoade, Randall Munroe.

INTP Overview

One of the most defining qualities of the INTP is their talent at rooting out truth and seizing and discarding logical inconsistencies. Not afraid of an intellectual challenge, they are energized by looking at a problem from many angles to find solutions and effective strategies. They enjoy taking apart ideas and objects in order to understand their construction – as children they often find themselves surrounded by encyclopedias, de-constructed toys, and science experiments – anything that can help them to understand the essential makeup of things. They enjoy filling in gaps in their knowledge bank and organizing their inner world so that each subject they explore has a place in their mind. Less focused on organizing the world outside themselves, they enjoy organizing their mental map – creating a blueprint in their mind of how everything works and is connected.

INTPs are also people of imagination and creativity. They enjoy exploring a plethora of possibilities and alternatives. Naturally big-picture oriented, they enjoy zooming out of a situation to see its different contexts and meanings. They can quickly generate hypotheses that help to unveil what’s really going on in a situation. In their day-to-day lives they tend to work in bursts of inspiration, following their minds down many different rabbit trails of thought. Experimenting and innovating is highly appealing to them – so much so that they tend to grimace when having to do things “by-the-book” or follow a very specific pre-ordained set of rules.

In careers, INTPs prize variety, originality, creativity, and freedom. They like having their own space and they enjoy working with competent, open-minded people. They’re not afraid to have a higher-risk job if it means they can earn more money. The opportunity to have independence and achieve things on their own is extremely important to them. In fact, working in teams or groups tends to put them on edge because they value their autonomy so highly. They show occupational trends in scientific and technical fields.

At Their Best:

At their best, INTPs are highly independent troubleshooters and conceptualizers. They are skilled at seeing a problem from multiple angles and asking the difficult questions that other people avoid. They challenge themselves and others to think objectively and find new and better solutions to problems. Open-minded and creative, they enjoy learning from a variety of people – even people who are their opposites in terms of type preferences. They love to theorize and discuss abstractions and are quick to see hidden meanings and connections that can be usable to understand a situation more deeply.

At their healthiest, INTPs know that they have weaknesses in the areas of sensing and feeling. They enjoy asking advice from people with sensing and feeling preferences so that they can round-out their abilities and strengths and be aware of any gaps in their thinking. They are more conscientious of others, more aware of their own health needs, and are able to bring their ideas out of their mind and into the real world with ingenious creativity.

Average INTPs:

At an average level, INTPs are logical, critical, and mentally quick. They are curious about ideas, theories, and people and enjoy expanding their view of how the world operates. At this level they can struggle to understand the emotional nuances of the people around them and they may unwittingly offend people with their critiques and tendency to see flaws. Although open-minded and curious, they may also be tentative about making forward progress on a goal. Because they are so drawn to exploring more and more possibilities, they may not want to shut off options to focus on one thing and finish it.

Unhealthy INTPs:

Unhealthy INTPs tend to create strategies to cope with life. In these phases they tend to repress their emotions, considering them irrelevant. They are often overly cynical and negative, sarcastically putting down any ideas that have any logical inconsistencies or perceived flaws. It’s important for them to rationalize everything that happens around them, even situations that are impossible to rationalize. They will become increasingly reclusive, deciding that if they shut others out of their lives they can avoid appearing incompetent or dealing with power struggles. They can become fixated on getting all the details right in their lives, which can make them appear more like introverted sensing (SJ) personality types.

Personal Growth Recommendations for INTPs:

  • Make sure to get time for yourself each day to think, reflect, and delve in to your interests. But don’t overdo it! Bring your ideas out into the world, brainstorm with other people, write about your ideas, or go to exhibits, art museums, etc,. to get more inspiration.
  • Think of something that has been bothering you for a while. Decide to take action and deal with the issue.
  • Take time to check in with yourself each day. How are you feeling physically? How can you take care of your body’s needs? Try to schedule alerts on your phone to drink enough water. Eat foods that will improve your concentration and focus.
  • Take some time each day, even if it’s only a few minutes, to acknowledge the loyal friends and family members in your life. Send them a text letting them know you are thinking of them, buy them a coffee on your way to work, ask them if they need help with something, etc,.

What Are Your Thoughts?

Did you enjoy this article? Do you have any insights or experiences to share? Let us know in the comments!

Other Articles You Might Enjoy:

10 Things That Excite the INTP Personality Type

Here’s Why INFPs and INTPs Get Misunderstood

Are You an INTP or an INTJ? 7 Ways to Find Out

3 Weird and Wonderful Secrets About the INTP

An in-depth look at what it means to be an #INTP personality type. #MBTI #Personality

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Susan Storm is a certified MBTI® practitioner and lover of all things psychology-related. She is the mom of five beautiful children and loves using her knowledge of personality type to understand them and others better! Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to learn more about type!