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intp: (Introverted Thinking)


Introverted Thinking Intuitives

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Created on 2009-04-14 14:29:09 (#58774), last updated 2009-08-21 (422 weeks ago)

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Name:INTP - Introverted Thinking Intuitives
Website:An INTP Profile
Posting Access:All Members
Community description:A community for INTPs and those who want to understand them
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About INTPs

Referred to as the Thinker (M-B)[1] or the Architect (Keirsey) [6], INTPS make up between 3% and 5% of the US population [5], or about 1% of the general population [1, 6] depending upon who you ask. The personality dynamic can be summarized as [1, 2, 3, 4]:

  • Dominant: Introverted Thinking (Ti)
  • Secondary: Extroverted iNtuition (Ne)
  • Tertiary: Introverted Sensing (Si)
  • Inferior: Extroverted Feeling (Fe)

The INTP is primarily a thinker with a logically-structured inner world. Experiences are analyzed to be fit into a larger, logical, structure, the central goal of the INTP being to understand and seek truth. The experience of anything takes a back seat. The INTP is not interested in experiences themselves but is far more fascinated by concepts. The drive to understand things that are not yet understood is a very powerful force in the life of an INTP. Where the Ti preference is strong, this drive can override the experiential element so strongly that the INTP will become quickly bored with anything that they have successfully analyzed to the point of understanding it [1].

The primary interests of an INTP are things which they cannot fully understand: anything simple is too quickly understood and cannot hold the fascination for long. Similarly, proficiency in any area (which requires continual practice after understanding) is not such a driving force as it might be for NTJs, for example. While a judging NT will often seek to become master of his field, an INTP is satisfied by analyzing it alone. The latter is often more of dabbler with ideas which leads me on to his second crucial aspect: detachment [1].

The Ti-Ne axis leads to a desire to observe from a detached position, indicating the preference for intuitive perception with respect to external things. The INTP invariably seeks to step outside the situation being considered; this detachment sometimes being so marked that they will readily see themselves as neutral observers. To the INTP to have a point of view of their own rarely seems relevant [1].

Feeling is their least developed function. Although they may argue that "points of view" and "opinions" are irrelevant, in reality, INTPs can often become far less objective than they think they ought to be: precisely at those times when the under-developed Feeling gnaws at their being [1].

The INTP causes no end of frustration to ESTJs and ISTJs with improvisation, because these types cannot make the same intuitive leaps which come naturally to the INTP. On the other hand, they are quick to smugly point out when the INTP must stop in the middle of a project to puzzle over the previously discarded instructions, which the STJs read at the start. Adding to the STJs' frustration, INTPs are particularly impervious to the rules-oriented world of introverted sensing. INTPs will follow rules if they feel there is a sound underlying reason, but they resist "rules for rules' sake," because they feel there must always be a "reason" for structure [4].

Key words:

  • Detachment: They may analyze their own thought processes as if their mind and body were separate from their conscious self, even treating themselves as subjects for experiment [1].
  • Clarity-seeking: When someone makes an illogical statement or violates one of the INTPs principles they may feel the drive to provide for clarity, sometimes to the point of being seen as over-critical, aloof and arrogant [1].
  • Independence: They put great weight on being individuals and essentially different from other people. The opinions of others are rarely given much weight in themselves, and no title or claim of being an "expert" carries any weight with an INTP [1, 2, 6].
  • Stubbornness: If an INTP is pushed into doing something they will automatically resist because any action must first be filtered by the Ti. They must withdraw to allow the analysis process to work, but if withdrawal is not allowed then stubborn resistance results. The best way to get an INTP to do something is to suggest the idea as an option because the INTP must always believe that it is, ultimately, their decision [1, 2].
  • Knowledge-seeking: They tend to believe that information is the key to life, and that all mistakes can be avoided by having the right information at the right time. INTPs never like doing something until they know they can do it [1].
  • Serious: INTPs detest facades and particularly dislike people who exhibit them. The ability to wield words with cutting precision is one of the INTP's greatest assets and most deadly traits [1, 2].
  • Dualistic thinking: The dominant Ti core tends to assume the role of a controller and organizer, while the Ne behaves like a free spirit, almost childlike in its enthusiasm: in general, they prefer to let the world flow by. When socializing, the Ne mode dominates, unless a discussion starts up involving the INTP in which case the Ti largely takes over [1].
  • Obliviousness: One of the more serious weaknesses of an INTP is that the sensing function makes little inroads out into the external world, so INTPs are usually oblivious to external details unless something forces them to take notice [1].
  • Collectors: INTPs tend to hoard items which help solidify the connection to the past. They find it very difficult to let go of anything they have collected or created, and which may have a nostalgic meaning [1].
  • Dissonance-seeking: The need for intellectual stimulation derived from complex structures and sounds will override concerns for cultured harmony; however, INTPs dislike being in an atmosphere of emotional disharmony [1].
  • Original: They are strongly ingenious and have unconventional thought patterns which allows them to analyze ideas in new ways. Consequently, many scientific breakthroughs in the world have been made by INTPs [2].
  • Under-confidence: INTPs spend considerable time second-guessing themselves, feeling that one's conclusion may well be met by an equally plausible alternative solution. In this way INTPs are markedly different from INTJs, who are much more confident in their competence and willing to act on their convictions [3].

Popular hobbies: photography, music, word games, reading, art, cultural events, chess and other strategy games, writing, taking classes, working with computers, backpacking, hiking, languages, meditation, computer systems, research. [1, 3, 9].

Popular careers: photographer, musician, mathematician, optometrist, plastic surgeon, neurologist, scientist, lawyer, architect, financial analyst, academic (archeology, chemistry, philosophy), inventor, software engineer, computer programmer, systems analyst, financial planner, investment banker, web developer, physicist, psychiatrist, biomedical engineer, legal executive, political scientist, entrepreneur, astronomer, aerospace engineer [1, 3, 7, 9].

Famous INTPs: Socrates, Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Sir Isaac Newton, C. G. Jung, William James, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln. [3, 6, 9]

Interesting facts [9]

  • On personality trait measures, score as Candid, Ingenious, Complicated, Independent, and Rebellious
  • More likely than other types to study a foreign language
  • Most frequent type among college students committing alcohol and drug policy violations
  • Have lowest level of coping resources of all the types (with ISTPs)
  • One of types least likely to believe in a higher spiritual power
  • Highest of all types in career dissatisfaction (with INFPs)
  • In school, have lower grades than would be predicted from aptitude scores
  • More likely than average to complete engineering programs
  • Personal values include Autonomy, Freedom, and Independence
  • Overrepresented among working MBA students
  • Commonly found in science and technical occupations

INTP Resources on the Internet

[1] An INTP Profile,,, revised 12 March 2000.
[2] Portrait of an INTP,, Personality Page.
[3] INTP Profile,, TypeLogic.
[4] INTP,, wikipedia, 13 April 2009.
[5] Estimated Frequencies of Types,, Center for Applications of Psychological Type (CAPT).
[6] Rational Portait of the Architect,,
[7] Rationals: Finding Knowledge and Competence,,
[8] My MBTI Personality Type - MBTI Basics,, The Meyers-Briggs Foundation.
[9] Personality Desk - Learning Center - INTP,, PersonalityDesk.

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