Introverted. Intuitive. Thinking. Perceiving Approximately 3-4 percent of the population
Seek to develop logical explanations for everything that interests them. Theoretical and abstract, interested more in ideas than in social interaction. Quiet, contained, flexible, and adaptable. Have unusual ability to focus in depth to solve problems in their area of interest. Sceptical, sometimes critical, always analytical.
INTPs are conceptual problem solvers. They are intense , intellectual and logical, with flashes of creative brilliance.
Outwardly quiet, reserved, and detached, INTPs are inwardly absorbed in analysing problems. They are critical. precise, and sceptical. They try to find and use principles to understand their many ideas. They like conversation to be logical and purposeful and may argue to the point of hair-splitting just for fun. INTPs are convinced only by logical reasoning.
INTPs are usually ingenious and original thinkers. They prize intelligence in themselves, have a strong drive for personal competence, and are interested in challenging other people to become more competent as well. INTPs are primarily interested in seeing possibilities beyond what
is currently known, accepted, or obvious. They like to develop models for improving the way things are or solving difficult problems. They think in extremely complex ways and are better able to organise concepts and ideas than they are able to organise people. Occasionally, their ideas are so complex they have difficulty communicating and making others understand them.
Highly independent, INTPs enjoy speculative and imaginative activities. They are flexible and open-minded and are more interested in finding creative yet sound solutions to problems than they are in seeing those solutions made into reality.
Possible Blind Spots
Because INTPs rely so heavily on their logical analysis, they can overlook what matters to others. If something is not logical, INTPs run the risk of dismissing it, even if it is important to them. Admitting to themselves what they really care about will help them stay in touch with their true feelings.
INTPs are excellent at detecting the flaws in an idea but are more reticent about expressing their appreciation. They can get bogged down on a minor flaw in one part of a plan and keep the entire project from moving toward completion because they refuse to let one illogical point remain within the whole.
When they turn their highly honed critical thinking skills on the people around them their naked honesty may translate into unintended hurtfulness. They need to be told, and need to learn to ask, what matters emotionally to others.
Because INTPs are fascinated with solving problems, they tend to be impatient with routine details and may lose interest in a project and never complete it if it requires too much follow-through or detail. Turning their energy outward will enable them to gain sufficient practical knowledge to make their ideas workable and acceptable to other people.
INTPs sometimes feel inadequate when they try to live up to their own high standards of perfection. Learning to share those feelings with someone else can help them get a more realistic and objective view of themselves.
– Lack of Expression
INTPs are pensive, analytical folks. They may venture so deeply into thought as to seem detached, and often actually are oblivious to the world around them.
Precise about their descriptions, INTPs will often correct others (or be sorely tempted to) if the shade of meaning is a bit off. While annoying to the less concise, this fine discrimination ability gives INTPs so inclined a natural advantage as, for example, grammarians and linguists.
INTPs are relatively easy-going and amenable to almost anything until their principles are violated, about which they may become outspoken and inflexible. They prefer to return, however, to a reserved albeit benign ambiance, not wishing to make spectacles of themselves.
A major concern for INTPs is the haunting sense of impending failure. They spend considerable time second-guessing themselves. The open-endedness (from Perceiving) conjoined with the need for competence (NT) is expressed in a sense that one’s conclusion may well be met by an equally plausible alternative solution, and that, after all, one may very well have overlooked some critical bit of data. An INTP arguing a point may very well be trying to convince himself as much as his opposition. In this way INTPs are markedly different from INTJs, who are much more confident in their competence and willing to act on their convictions.
Mathematics is a system where many INTPs love to play, similarly languages, computer systems–potentially any complex system. INTPs thrive on systems. Understanding, exploring, mastering, and manipulating systems can overtake the INTP’s conscious thought. This fascination for logical wholes and their inner workings is often expressed in a detachment from the environment, a concentration where time is forgotten and extraneous stimuli are held at bay. Accomplishing a task or goal with this knowledge is secondary.
INTPs and Logic — One of the tipoff’s that a person is an INTP is her obsession with logical correctness. Errors are not often due to poor logic — apparent faux pas in reasoning are usually a result of overlooking details or of incorrect context.
Games NTs seem to especially enjoy include Risk, Bridge, Chess, Go, and word games of all sorts. (I have an ENTP friend that loves Boggle and its variations. We’ve been known to sit in public places and pick a word off a menu or mayonnaise jar to see who can make the most words from its letters on a napkin in two minutes.) INTPs in the main are not clannish.
As an INTP, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you deal with things rationally and logically. Your secondary mode is external, where you take things in primarily via your intuition.
INTPs live in the world of theoretical possibilities. They see everything in terms of how it could be improved, or what it could be turned into. They live primarily inside their own minds, having the ability to analyze difficult problems, identify patterns, and come up with logical explanations. They seek clarity in everything, and are therefore driven to build knowledge. They are the “absent-minded professors”, who highly value intelligence and the ability to apply logic to theories to find solutions. They typically are so strongly driven to turn problems into logical explanations, that they live much of their lives within their own heads, and may not place as much importance or value on the external world. Their natural drive to turn theories into concrete understanding may turn into a feeling of personal responsibility to solve theoretical problems, and help society move towards a higher understanding.
INTPs value knowledge above all else. Their minds are constantly working to generate new theories, or to prove or disprove existing theories. They approach problems and theories with enthusiasm and scepticism, ignoring existing rules and opinions and defining their own approach to the resolution. They seek patterns and logical explanations for anything that interests them. They’re usually extremely bright, and able to be objectively critical in their analysis. They love new ideas, and become very excited over abstractions and theories. They love to discuss these concepts with others. They may seem “dreamy” and distant to others, because they spend a lot of time inside their minds musing over theories. They hate to work on routine things – they would much prefer to build complex theoretical solutions, and leave the implementation of the system to others. They are intensely interested in theory, and will put forth tremendous amounts of time and energy into finding a solution to a problem with has piqued their interest.
INTPs do not like to lead or control people. They’re very tolerant and flexible in most situations, unless one of their firmly held beliefs has been violated or challenged, in which case they may take a very rigid stance. The INTP is likely to be very shy when it comes to meeting new people. On the other hand, the INTP is very self-confident and gregarious around people they know well, or when discussing theories which they fully understand.
The INTP has no understanding or value for decisions made on the basis of personal subjectivity or feelings. They strive constantly to achieve logical conclusions to problems, and don’t understand the importance or relevance of applying subjective emotional considerations to decisions. For this reason, INTPs are usually not in-tune with how people are feeling, and are not naturally well-equipped to meet the emotional needs of others.
The INTP may have a problem with self-aggrandizement and social rebellion, which will interfere with their creative potential. Since their Feeling side is their least developed trait, the INTP may have difficulty giving the warmth and support that is sometimes necessary in intimate relationships. If the INTP doesn’t realize the value of attending to other people’s feelings, he or she may become overly critical and sarcastic with others. If the INTP is not able to find a place for them self which supports the use of their strongest abilities, they may become generally negative and cynical. If the INTP has not developed their Sensing side sufficiently, they may become unaware of their environment, and exhibit weakness in performing maintenance-type tasks, such as bill-paying and dressing appropriately.
For the INTP, it is extremely important that ideas and facts are expressed correctly and succinctly. They are likely to express themselves in what they believe to be absolute truths. Sometimes, their well thought-out understanding of an idea is not easily understandable by others, but the INTP is not naturally likely to tailor the truth so as to explain it in an understandable way to others. The INTP may be prone to abandoning a project once they have figured it out, moving on to the next thing. It’s important that the INTP place importance on expressing their developed theories in understandable ways. In the end, an amazing discovery means nothing if you are the only person who understands it.
The INTP is usually very independent, unconventional, and original. They are not likely to place much value on traditional goals such as popularity and security. They usually have complex characters, and may tend to be restless and temperamental. They are strongly ingenious, and have unconventional thought patterns which allows them to analyze ideas in new ways. Consequently, a lot of scientific breakthroughs in the world have been made by the INTP.
The INTP is at his best when he can work on his theories independently. When given an environment which supports his creative genius and possible eccentricity, the INTP can accomplish truly remarkable things. These are the pioneers of new thoughts in our society.