The Thinker


intp-A / intp-T

The Thinker

INTP Introduction

INTP MBTI personalities are analytical, objective, and reasonable in their behavior. They spend a lot of time in their heads, researching topics, making connections, and attempting to figure out how things work. They like researching new theories and ideas, thus they are usually responsible for significant breakthroughs in their chosen field.

What Does INTP Stand For

I. What Does INTP Stand For?

INTP stands for Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking, and Perception and is one of 16 personality types studied from the MBTI test (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). The MBTI personality assessment developed by Isabel Briggs Myers, Katharine Cook Briggs, and David Keirsey from the work of psychiatrist Carl G. Jung, the types of psychology based on theories of cognitive functions. Keirsey named INTP The Thinker/ The Logician because of their intuitive understanding of complex systems. INTP is one of the four personality types of The Rational.

II. Personality Traits of The INTP Group

INTPs are quiet and thoughtful individuals who have a strong passion for logical analysis, complicated operations, and design. 

INTPs are often curious and enjoy learning about complex systems, theories, and how things work. 

INTPs are very enthusiastic and impartial when it comes to solving problems – they dig through the details and then develop a unique approach and finally, a possible solution. 

INTPs' ability is limitless when it comes to mysterious theories – if it does not have a solution yet and the topic is very interesting, they can spend years trying to find clarification.

INTPs are often very shy and reluctant when it comes to meeting strangers. However, they can also be very friendly and confident when they interact with people they know or talk about what they care about. 

INTPs are flexible and comfortable in almost all situations unless their beliefs or logical reasoning are being criticized. In such cases, INTPs can become very conservative and tirelessly debate.

III. The Cognitive Functions of The INTP Group

Dominant: Introverted Thinking

INTPs demonstrate this function by taking over information about the world and trying to understand how things work. They often prefer to break down larger things or ideas to review individual components to see how things adjust and work together. They tend to be logical and effective thinkers and want to fully understand something before being willing to share an opinion or action.

Auxiliary: Extraverted Intuition

INTPs explore possibilities and formulate their ideas with their imagination, past experience, and profound inference. They often reassess things until they can gain inspiration or insight into the issue.

Tertiary: Introverted Sensing

INTP tends to be very detailed, carefully categorizing all the events and experiences in which they participate. As they gather new information, they compare and contrast what they already know to make predictions about what they believe will happen next.

Inferior: Extraverted Feeling

The feeling of outwardness causes INTPs to tend to seek harmony in groups they are comfortable and familiar with. However, in stressful situations, INTPs suppress their emotions and have difficulty connecting with others, their logical traits will prevail instead.

IV. INTP Values and Motivations

INTP Values and Motivations

1. INTP values

INTPs fancy the theory and believe that everything can be analyzed and improved. They are not interested in the real world and other pragmatic things because, in INTPs' opinion, they are less exciting than good ideas or pursuing knowledge. People with this type of personality have no difficulty recognizing models while others cannot – this makes them excellent theorists and analysts.

The accumulated knowledge is the most valuable asset of any INTP. Let's imagine a complex machine that constantly absorbed, processed, and created all kinds of theories – this is how INTPs' mind works. They have the most accurate logical thinking of all personality groups. Besides, they easily notice even the slightest difference between the two reports or statements, regardless of the time interval between the two. 

INTPs focus on building complex theoretical solutions and often leave their implementation to others. They are extremely interested in the hypothesis and will spend most of their time and energy searching for a solution to the problem that has sparked their interest.

2. INTP Motivations

INTPs don't care much about social expectations and other traditional goals in life such as a steady career – however, they are often strongly motivated and will do their best in an environment where their creative and potential talent can be shown.

INTPs are usually not the conventional type, they have their thoughts and do not follow the crowd. Due to their independent nature, they are energized when working individually rather than in a team. 

INTPs can maximize their potential when they can independently work with their hypotheses. When working in an environment that supports genius creativity and promotes their unique personality, INTPs can make a huge difference. They are pioneers with new ideas in our society.

INTPs also feel enthusiastic when they can demonstrate superior skills in explaining complex concepts and ideas to others. For INTPs, life is a journey of discovering the mysteries of the universe and they are pleased to be the ones who solve it.

V. Strengths and Weaknesses of INTPs

1. INTP Strengths

People with an INTP personality are very smart and even eccentric. These traits, combined with the creative capacity and unique thought, create a very powerful mixture. Not surprisingly, INTPs have many inventions in science. 

People in the INTP group are endowed with a special gift of self-creating and analyzing theories and the ability to prove or disprove them. They have very deep insights and are creative thinkers, which help them quickly grasp complex abstract ideas. They also have special skills in logical reasoning and thinking, which allow them to analyze hypotheses to understand them thoroughly. 

Mathematics is one of the strengths of most INTPs, as well as languages, computers, and other complex sciences. They are very passionate about understanding, discovering, mastering, and working with the system.

Possessing precise and organized thinking, INTPs' inference is also very quick. During an argument, they soon realize the crux of the matter, be able to spot gaps in others' reasoning, and resolve it. Obviously, they are very careful in assessing the problem and considering all possible options.

2. INTP Weaknesses

One of the INTPs' weaknesses is that they are always worried about failure. Not being as confident as the INTJ or ENTJ, INTPs are always suspicious of their actions. Even if they are arguing with someone, they are most likely arguing with themselves.

Though INTPs are usually very intelligent and are full of awareness, they can still be biased in some situations. They love new ideas and theories and will never miss an opportunity to discuss them with others – however, this relentless thinking process also makes them look quite serious and isolated as if there is an argument happening in their minds.

Sometimes, INTPs also have difficulty interpreting their thoughts to people. INTPs can also move on to another topic before their colleagues or partners have found out what INTPs want to say.

If INTP cannot find support for developing their best abilities, they often become negative and skeptical. An INTP that has not developed a fully cognitive side can become unconscious of his/her surroundings and will reveal weaknesses when doing routine tasks, such as pay bills every month or dress appropriately in public.

Having much in common with the group Thinking (T), INTPs do not understand or appreciate decisions based on emotions or subjective opinions. In their view, a great solution must be based on logical thinking. However, this also makes it difficult for INTPs to understand the feelings of others or meet their emotional needs.

VI. Personal Relationships of INTPs

Personal Relationships of INTPs

1. Romantic relationship

INTPs often find it difficult to know others well and reserved until their partner proves that he/she deserves to listen to the thoughts of INTPs. Always putting the mastery of knowledge and brainpower first, they will choose to be with people they consider smart. INTPs usually aren't interested or don't know much about the flirting stage, however, once they begin to establish the basic stages of a relationship, they become honest and faithful, thus forming a purely emotional attachment and clear transparency. However, if there is a problem that INTPs think is irreconcilable, they will give up the relationship and never make it up again.

From the very beginning of dating, INTPs are usually direct and honest, doing their best to express their thoughts and create mutual understanding because they believe that this shared knowledge will help to reduce misunderstandings and avoid conflicts. 

The more their relationship progresses, the significantly simpler their material needs become. They do not pay too much attention to this issue, however, they need to notice this characteristic of their partner to avoid being indifferent and not subtle. Meeting the emotional needs of others is a challenge for INTPs. Even if they are not excellent in this aspect, at least they have to let their partner know that they make an effort.

When their relationship enters a sublimation phase, INTPs' vivid and creative imagination makes them an incredibly passionate, enthusiastic, and romantic partner. While they may prioritize their inner world too much, they also use this rich inner world to achieve as much intimacy as possible.

Physically, intellectually and with a little bit of emotional effort, INTPs' relationship is precious and fulfilling. Partners that share an Intuitive (N) trait are often best suited to them, possibly sharing one or two opposing traits to create diversity and balance in a relationship.

2. Friendship

INTPs are very knowledgeable and smart, but it is very difficult to understand them, and very few people have the patience and determination to penetrate the INTPs' shield. Their mind is filled with thoughts, ideas, riddles, and solutions – conversely, communicating with strangers is annoying for INTPs. 

As a result, INTPs tend to be very picky about making friends – if others have significant differences in interest with INTPs or simply cannot cope with their endless ideas, they probably will not be able to become close friends with each other.

Therefore, they have a small circle of good friends. Many types of personalities seek friends for conversation, spiritual support, social recognition, etc, while INTPs tend to ignore these trivial things and this naturally limits the number of their friends. They are often attracted to other NT groups who share their passion for theoretical discussion and intellectual puzzles. It is worth mentioning that INTPs will appreciate and respect their friends very much and work hard to keep the relationship more sustainable.

However, they are not usually warm or help people emotionally. If people come to INTP friends for solving a problem, they will offer reasonable solutions, but don't expect them to understand others' feelings or know how to explain something enthusiastically. This does not mean that INTPs are emotionless and are wallflowers – it's quite the opposite, they can have strong emotions, but they can be suppressed and hidden deep inside, so it is hard for people to recognize.

The friendship of INTPs is very transparent, obvious, and sincere, both do not try to control each other and rarely have excessive emotions. INTPs praise for loyalty and understanding of their friends' logical and thoughtful ideas and reliable advice – it is not easy to be an INTPs' best friend, but such a relationship is worth the effort.

In short, INTPs live a life within their minds, which is filled with imagination and turmoil, so the outside world seems to be disregarded for them. This makes them lack the motivation to form and maintain personal relationships. In reality, INTPs usually don't expand their communication network. They just need a few close relationships that they value and have a lot of influence on them. Because of the introverted personality, whose purpose is to seek clarity in each abstract idea, INTPs are often unable to align with the feelings and needs of others.

3. Parenthood

INTPs are not really sensitive to the feelings of others, young children are no exception, so parenting seems to be a challenge for them. However, they are remarkably conscientious, they are parents who are committed to encouraging their growing children to think and act independently, seek new knowledge, speak up, and protect their opinion. They value knowledge and will do their best to give their children the tolerance and freedom they need to absorb it. INTP parents take a relaxed and intellectual approach to their children, allowing them to explore the world around them and ignore smaller violations along the way.

Children developing according to a standard and traditional process are not the preferred choice of INTP parents. Instead, they ask for the intellectual aspect and independence of their children. They are willing to work side-by-side with their children with the support and advice they need. Besides, in order to have sensible and intelligent discussions with their children, especially during their teenage years, INTP parents will need to rely on a more capable partner or step out of their comfort zone to empathize without being offended by a series of suggestions of reason and blunt truths.

INTP parents must make great efforts for their children to grow up to be as intelligent, independent, and tolerant as they want. Loosening limits and allowing freedom for their children must come with a constructive sense of responsibility in parenting. If they can teach empathy in addition to reasonableness to their children, they will develop into confident adults who have awareness, use their minds, and take good care of themselves.

4. Relationship with other personality groups

INTPs become profound in communication when they find the right audience to arouse their inspiration. They are thoughtful and discreet in communicating, but when discussing complex concepts or creative ideas, INTPs are also quite excited with their information and insights.

For ENTP, INTJ, INFP groups: they have similar characteristics and many things in common so it is easy for INTPs to share values, interests, and approaches with these groups.

For ENTJ, ENFP, ISTP, INFJ groups: they have some differences but these differences are attractive to INTPs. They still have something in common to create a balance in their relationship with each other.

For ENFJ, ESTP, ISTJ, ISFP groups: at first, INTPs may have some difficulty accessing and connecting with these personality groups. However, after interacting for a while, they will discover commonalities as well as other points of view that can complement each other.

For ISFJ, ESFJ, ESTJ, ESFP groups: these personality groups are opposite and conflicting with INTPs, but if it is possible to develop a relationship, this is an opportunity for INTPs to learn and grow themselves, the challenges always come along with great opportunity.

VII. INTP Career Paths and Development Areas

Since people in the INTP group always tend to seek transparency in every matter, they are the perfect combination of desire and practical ability. They will be well-suited for jobs that allow them the freedom of thought and action where they can mainly do their work in developing and analyzing complex abstract theories and concepts, and the goal of their work is to discover the truth, not merely to discover an actual application.

They tend to do their best either working independently or with a small team of competent, intelligent, and logical colleagues. They prefer a flexible environment that allows them to handle problems creatively, not bound by traditional rules. Besides, they tend to be very independent (even somewhat eccentric), always set very high standards for themselves, and dislike managing others or being managed, especially in their careers. This feature is unattractive in the modern corporate world and INTPs should avoid mentioning them in a job interview – however, if their managers appear to be wise and well-minded, INTPs will be tireless "generators" of great and unique ideas. They should make good use of these characteristics in their profession, maybe a focus on legal, freelance counseling, or the path of forensic research or experimentation. They are suitable for the following career fields:

  • IT technology group (Software Development, Web Developer, Information Security Analyst);
  • Design, Engineering, and Architecture (3D Motion Designer, Aerospace Engineer, Architect, Biomedical Engineer, Industrial Designer);
  • Science and Philosophy (Scientist, Psychologist, Professor, Scientist, Archaeologist, Astronomer, Physiologist, Philosopher, Historian, Hydrologist, Mathematician);
  • Business and Finance (Financial Expert, Sales Engineer, Market Research);
  • Entertainment and Art (Cartoonist, Artist, Photographer, Editor, Musician);
  • Senior Officials (Inspector, Managing director, Forensic examiner).

VIII. How INTPs perform in the work and learning environment

How INTPs perform in the work and learning environment

INTP is suitable for the type of work or learning environment with a process and has exact limits on completion time in each implementation process. It sounds pretty odd, but that is how they feel comfortable and enjoy their task.

INTPs have always been good at creating and designing, they often work in high-tech fields with a bit of art such as animation, graphic design, user interface design, video production, and editing, and architecture. Like other introverted personalities, they tend to enjoy working independently or in a small group where they are respected.

Under favorable conditions, INTP subordinates are creative, resourceful, and hard-working, easily manage their minds against any complex problems that arise, and come up with nefarious but effective solutions. However, they need enough freedom to bring out all of these qualities. The leadership style that follows closely and outlines small deadlines with clear goals will put them right on track, otherwise, they will easily focus on forming interesting ideas and omitting details in the course of their performance.

As colleagues, INTPs are not too fond of connections and overtime activities to strengthen the relationship with their colleagues, sometimes they even feel troublesome when having to do such things. They are more suited for independent work, and they are good at developing deep and unbiased interpretations of others' motives, even though they usually overthink and become unnecessarily skeptical of others' goals. Colleagues with similar competencies to them, able to discuss theories, have insight into how to apply a principle to new situations are always welcomed by INTPs.

As managers, INTPs are not too concerned with their powers; instead, they see this as an opportunity to direct concepts and theories while others handle logistics. Despite having the demeanor of an openhanded and flexible leader, they have very high standards, expect others to grasp their insights immediately, and provide their information in an equivalent manner. They tend to ignore other people's emotions, meaning that their criticism often comes quickly and hard to take as they navigate projects to their own perfect standards. The best way for the job to be done smoothly for them is to have a personal secretary or assistant who can clarify their thinking and direct their team in more socially efficient ways.

IX.10 Things you might not know about INTPs

1. This is one of the rarest personality groups in the world and accounts for about 2-4% of the world's population.

2. By gender, only 2% of INTPs are women and 5% are men.

3. "Philosopher", "Architect", "Abstract Professor" are the words commonly used to describe INTP personality.

4. Deceiving INTPs is almost impossible because they will find out right away. They may be daydreaming at times, but not because their minds are in a state of suspension, they are just in a tranquil phase to process and analyze information.

5. INTPs are independent and eccentric and can be called abnormal.

6. INTPs have no desire to lead or follow others.

7. INTPs often take pride in their extensive knowledge and reasoning abilities, but they can be easily frustrated when trying to describe their thoughts to others.

8. INTPs are great at analyzing, but they often lack the same assertiveness as the Judging (J) types. An INTP can find it quite difficult to decide which idea is best, always looking for more information, and questioning his/her own conclusions.

9. INTPs are quite rational individuals who are not dominated by emotions in the decision-making process. Therefore, they are very proud of their fairness and carefree at work.

10. INTPs are not collective and not metaphorical or indirect in their words. They will frankly state their views and expect others to do the same.

X. INTP Famous people

  • Socrates, a Greek philosopher from Athens;
  • René Descartes, a French-born philosopher, mathematician, and scientist;
  • Blaise Pascal, a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, writer, and Catholic theologian;
  • Isaac Newton, an English mathematician, physicist, astronomer, theologian who developed the theory of universal gravity;
  • Carl Gustav Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, whose theory underpinned the MBTI test;
  • Albert Einstein, a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity;
  • James Madison, an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, and philosopher;
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States;
  • Gerald Ford, the 38th president of the United States;
  • Tiger Woods, an American professional golfer;
  • Sheldon Cooper, a fictional character in the television series The Big Bang Theory.