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INTP: The Logician (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving)

An Overview of the INTP Personality Type

By Julia Simkus, published April 20, 2022

by Saul Mcleod, PhD

INTP Personality Type

INTP (introversion, intuitive, thinking, perceiving) is a four-letter code acronym used to represent one of the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types.

INTPs are sometimes referred to as “the Thinker,” “the Architect,” “the Engineer,” or “the Logician.” ESFJ is the opposite personality type of INTP.

People with this personality type are described as quiet, composed, and analytical. They enjoy spending time solving problems and learning how things work, and they tend to be good at logic and math.

INTPs are more interested in studying ideas and theoretical concepts than in participating in leisure activities or social interactions. They are loyal and affectionate to their closest friends and family, but tend to be difficult to get to know.

INTP is one of the less common types in the population, especially for women. Among women, INTP is the fourth rarest type (after INTJ, ENTJ, and INFJ). INTPs make up:

  • 3% of the general population
  • 5% of men
  • 2% of women

Famous INTPs include Albert Einstein, Thomas Jefferson, Kristen Stewart, Charles Darwin, Socrates, Abraham Lincoln, and Carl Jung.

Strengths Weaknesses
Inventive Reserved
Analytical Insensitive
Imaginative Emotionally disconnected
Objective Prone to self-doubt
Independent Difficult to please

Key INTP Characteristics

  • INTPs are quiet and reserved individuals. They are true introverts, preferring to socialize with small groups of close friends and focus their attention on their internal thoughts rather than the external world.

    INTPs struggle to express their feelings and get tired out by extensive socializing, sometimes making them difficult to get to know. INTPs crave time alone to be with their own thoughts.

    Despite their independence and introverted nature, though, INTPs are highly loyal and affectionate to those closest to them and are able to come out of their shell in the right company.

  • INTPs are deeply intellectual and analytical. They are passionate about logic, reason, and sense. They have a willingness to think outside of the box and enjoy searching for unifying themes in the world around them.

    They hardly ever stop thinking and are constantly in their own heads, exploring concepts, musing about possibilities, analyzing patterns, and observing how things work.

    INTPs analyze essentially everything that they come across.

  • INTPs approach their thinking in creative, open-minded, and curious ways. They have endless imaginations, coming up with unique thoughts and opinions that would not occur to most people.

    They are receptive to original ideas and are always interested in pursuing new hobbies and areas of study.

    INTPs are big-picture thinkers who reflect on various theories to understand and explain difficult concepts.

Cognitive Functions

The MBTI suggests that the four different cognitive functions (thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensing) form a hierarchy where each function is either directed outwardly (extroverted) or inwardly (introverted). The order of these functions determines one’s personality.

MBTI test dichotomies

The dominant function is the primary aspect of personality, while the auxiliary and tertiary functions play supportive roles.

Dominant: Introverted Thinking

  • INTPs approach the world rationally and logically, breaking down larger ideas into individual units to see how things fit and function together.
  • They make decisions based on logic and reason, and their actions and choices tend to be dependent on careful observation and thought.

Auxiliary: Extraverted Intuition

  • INTPs are imaginative and insightful individuals who tend to spend a great deal of time thinking about patterns in life and pondering over the possibilities of the future.

Tertiary: Introverted Sensing

  • This function of the INTP personality influences how they process information. INTPs tend to be detail-oriented, organizing their thoughts and experiences in their minds.
  • They are constantly comparing new information with what they already know to recognize patterns and make predictions about the future.

Inferior: Extraverted Feeling

  • Since INTPs are introverts, this is the least developed element of their personality, surfacing only when they are around people with whom they are familiar and comfortable.
  • In the presence of their close circle, INTPs can be quite outgoing and affectionate. Otherwise, they struggle to connect with others and tend to rely on logic rather than feelings.

INTP Hobbies, Interests, and Careers

INTPs have a unique and intuitive understanding of complex systems. INTPs can be found in a wide variety of fields as long as they can use their intellect, analyze concepts, and think deeply.

They typically thrive in science-related careers because of their reasoning skills, innovative spirit, and passion for ideas. They enjoy thinking creatively and experimenting with new processes.

INTPs can often be found working in California's Silicon Valley or at a cutting-edge tech company like Google or Apple.

Top careers for INTPs include: mathematicians, analysts, researchers, engineers, technicians, and scientists. INTPs are also more likely than the average to be self -employed.

In their free time, INTPs enjoy reading, art and cultural events, chess and other strategy games, writing, taking classes, working with computers, backpacking, hiking, and meditation. They also tend to enjoy studying foreign languages.

INTP Work Environments

INTPs prefer work environments where they can have the flexibility and independence to forge their own path and create their own ideas.

They prefer to work alone, but can also succeed alongside a small team of colleagues that they perceive as smart and competent enough. In fact, INTPs can actually benefit from their colleagues more than they might realize.

An ideal environment for an INTP is one that is both non-traditional and intellectually stimulating. They want to have the freedom to immerse themselves without having to follow rules or protocols or engage in social obligations or administrative tasks.

They do not appreciate being micromanaged or having set tasks and deadlines as they need the space to think freely and come up with different ways to solve problems.

INTP Personal Relationships

As introverts, INTPs prefer spending time alone and need time to themselves to recharge and process. They tend to be shy and detached around people they do not know well but are able to open up and display affection with their closest friends and family.

They are not highly attuned to the feelings and emotional cues of others and typically are lost in their own world of thoughts and ideas.

INTPs form the strongest connections with those who match their mental energy. Because they place a high value on logic and knowledge, they enjoy engaging with people who have similar levels of intellectual depth and can parallel their ability to think critically.

When they form these meaningful relationships, INTPs are faithful and loving. They can be counted on to offer sound advice and rational solutions to others’ problems, just not emotional support.

Their friendships and relationships tend to be knowledge-based, built on a shared passion for ideas, theories, and concepts. INTPs do not surround themselves with just anyone.

They reserve space in their lives for those who will share their pursuit of learning and growth and also challenge their ideas.

Tips for Interacting With INTPs

Friendships

Having shared values, interests, and a general approach to life is one of the best means to forming a friendship with an INTP.

They value intellectual depth so many of their friendships are based on a similar passion for knowledge.

While INTPs appreciate commonalities, they also want a friend who will challenge their ideas and make them rethink their assumptions.

Relationships

In relationships, INTPs tend to hold back until they feel comfortable enough around the other person.

As the partner of an INTP, it is important to be patient and give them plenty of space to explore their own thoughts, ideas, and interests. 

INTPs are not good at understanding the emotional cues of others, so you need to be honest and forthright about how you are feeling and what you need in the relationship.

Parenting

INTP parents find great joy in teaching their children about the world. They encourage their children to think independently, solve their own problems, and form their own opinions.

They will not force their child into any particular field or lifestyle, but rather give their child the freedom to decide on their own life path and figure out how to go after it.


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About the Author

Julia Simkus is an undergraduate student at Princeton University, majoring in Psychology. She plans to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology upon graduation from Princeton in 2023. Julia has co-authored two journal articles, one titled “Substance Use Disorders and Behavioral Addictions During the COVID-19 Pandemic and COVID-19-Related Restrictions," which was published in Frontiers in Psychiatry in April 2021 and the other titled “Food Addiction: Latest Insights on the Clinical Implications," to be published in Handbook of Substance Misuse and Addictions: From Biology to Public Health in early 2022.

How to reference this article:

Simkus, J. (2022, April 20). INTP: The Logician (Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving). Simply Psychology. www.simplypsychology.org/INTP-personality.html

Sources

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Myers, I. B. (1962). The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: Manual (1962).

Myers, K. D., & Kirby, L. D. (2015). Introduction to type: A guide to understanding your results on the MBTI assessment . Sunnyvale, CA: CPP.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. (2019, May 28). New World Encyclopedia, . Retrieved from https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/p/index.php?title=Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator&oldid=1020015.

Myers, Isabel B.; Myers, Peter B. (1995) [1980]. Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type. Mountain View, CA: Davies-Black Publishing. ISBN 978-0-89106-074-1.

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