INTPs comprise about 3% of the general population, making them one of the rarer species in the personality kingdom. Of course, this rarified status is something in which they take pride because at their core, the INTP is something of an outlier. INTPs are not ones to follow the pack but would rather go the way of the lone wolf – or perhaps lone fox. Clever and perceptive, the INTP is indeed quite vulpine and wily thanks to their logical acumen.
INTPs like to categorize, define and systematize the information in their heads and, of all the types, they are perhaps the most meticulous with regards to precise implications and analyses. Nevertheless, INTPs tend to take a playful approach to learning where the end goal isn’t as important as what they learn and explore. They tend to dislike standardized testing and oftentimes would prefer an individualized curriculum.
INTPs are deeply thoughtful analysts of whatever holds their interest and often cultivate extensive knowledge around those interests. While they do not necessarily flaunt their intellect bombastically, when they find a willing listener, they love to expatiate at length, sharing their insights and theories. INTPs often develop a pithy communication style that can make them difficult to understand by others less articulate. To some, the INTP may come across as intellectually conceited, which can be true. However, for their part, the INTPs prefer to regard themselves as objective realists, seeking truth and presenting it for what it is no matter how inconvenient or unpalatable it seems to others.
INTPs have trouble when dealing with their own emotions. They tend to invalidate irrational or pointless sentiments if they clash with their logical priorities. INTPs can grow highly irritated with people who act out insensibly or violate the bounds of reasonal behavior. Anything irrational can arouse an INTP to anger especially if it is hostile and confrontational in tone. INTPs when agitated, will normally opt to avoid contact with the people who anger them. Over time however, the INTP’s tendency to ignore such resentments can result in sudden outbursts that surprise others in it’s intensity.
Extraverted Feeling is the INTP’s weakest function; a sticky mess for which they possess little agency and little interest for developing it. Social niceties are adopted only to the extent and service of satisfying what they believe to be the minimum requirement for socially acceptable behavior. Joining the rank and file of the mediocrity militia is of no concern to the INTP. They shun what they view as the all-singing all-dancing masses of self indulgent insipid chatterboxes. The Blissfully ignorant crowd of field-grazing bovines and trendy zombies feeding on the nutrient deficient carcass of pop culture and lapping from the public fountain that is the mainstream.
“Theirs is the life of trivial pursuits”, thinks the INTP to his/herself. This is the intellectual conceitedness of an INTP. They forego tokens of status and popularity in favor of what they consider to be important and meaningful. INTPs strive to find meaning in all things and see no better way to spend their time than building on their redounding understanding of the world. They have difficulty understanding why others wouldn’t feel the same way. They are preoccupied with theory, and search for the universal law behind everything they see. They want to understand the unifying themes of life, in all their complexity.
INTPs require autonomy and sufficient space in their relationships. They make for independent and clever partners with simple needs and very low maintenance. They enjoy engaging intellectually and want an intelligent partner who can match their ability to think critically. INTPs have little appetite for the mundane aspects of life, and may disregard the usual rituals of a relationship. They are rarely interested in customs, preferring instead to design a lifestyle that is tailored to the parties involved—even if it looks highly unconventional to other people. They are tolerant of individual preferences but will rarely do something because they are told they “should.”
Ever the scientist, INTPs tend to apply the same detached scrutiny in their personal relationships and interactions with others. They analyze the theory behind everything, and may interpret interpersonal dynamics with the impersonal logic of a psychological researcher. They may find others difficult to deal with when they cannot understand the logic behind their behavior. When things get too emotional, they may withdraw to their own world of thoughts and ideas.
INTP Career Choices
In the workplace, INTPs are motivated to solve complex problems in an brilliant, ingenious way. Architects want to analyze systems and ideas thoroughly to create deep understanding, and enjoy designing creative solutions to highly abstract problems. INTPs rarely have much interest in organizational traditions, preferring to forge their own path to innovation. They hate being limited by bureaucracy and rules, and are often more in tune with the theoretical soundness of their ideas than they are with the practical applications. They typically prefer to focus on creating the idea, and to leave the tedious details of implementation to someone else.
INTPs work best on their own or with a small team of colleagues that they perceive as smart, competent, and logical. They quickly tire of colleagues who are aggressive or overbearing, and can be dismissive of people who aren’t as clever as themselves. An ideal organization for an INTP is flexible and non-traditional, and values ingenuity over conformity. An ideal job for an INTP allows them to address complex theoretical or technical problems with creative, novel solutions.
- Computer Network Architect
- Computer Scientist
- Computer Programmer
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Database Administrator
- Information Security Analyst
- Network Administrator
- Software Developer
- Web Developer
- Aerospace Engineer
- Biomedical Engineer
- Chemical Engineer
- Civil Engineer
- Computer Hardware Engineer
- Electrical or Electronics Engineer
- Environmental Engineer
- Mechanical Engineer
- Geological Engineer
- Nuclear Engineer
- Anthropologist or Archaeologist
- Atmospheric Scientist
- Biochemist or Biophysicist
- Environmental Scientist
- Medical Scientist
- Physicist or Astronomer
- Political Scientist
- Survey Researcher
- Urban or Regional Planner
- Zoologist or Wildlife Biologist
- INTP is one of the less common types in the population, especially for women. Among women, INTP is the fourth rarest type
- 3% of the general population
- 5% of men
- 2% of women
- Most important feature of an ideal job: creativity and originality; earning a lot of money.
- Males were highest on “obliviousness index” (relatively unaware of spouse’s dissatisfaction with the relationship).
- Highly represented among college students taking foreign languages.
- In national sample, ranked 3rd highest in saying “No” and 2nd highest in “Not sure” to belief in a higher spiritual power.
- In national sample “Leisure Activities,” overrepresented in “Appreciating art,” “Writing,” “Taking classes, going to school,” and “Playing with computers or video games.”
- Academic subjects preferred: art, science.
- Lowest of all types in liking work environments with “Clear structures & responsibilities,” “Employee loyalty & job security,” and “Working as part of a team”
- 1 of 3 highest types liking work environments with “International opportunities” and “Advancement/pay but not job security”
- Include in top 3 desirable work environment characteristics “Variety of tasks,” “Independence & achievement,” and “Clear structures.”
- In national sample, dissatisfied with “Salary,” “Promotions,” and “Job security,” “Predictability,” and “Working conditions” in their jobs.
- With INFPs, most dissatisfied with the work they do, where they work, and future work opportunities, and likely to leave job.
- With ISTPs, had the lowest mean level of coping resources; ranked 16th out of 16 types on total resources.
- Most frequent among college students referred for drug and alcohol violations.