INTP is one of the 16 Myers & Briggs personality types, characterized by introversion, intuition, thinking, and perception. INTPs, also known as “architects”, are known for their intellectual curiosity, open-mindedness, and willingness to explore different possibilities. They are quiet and private individuals, who rely on principles and logical reasoning to understand their thoughts and ideas, and pursue knowledge. They enjoy engaging in intellectual conversations and may even get into arguments with others just for the sake of it.
INTPs are often perfectionists and are driven by the desire for personal competence. They have an innate ability to break down complex situations and come up with practical and innovative solutions with precision and accuracy. They have an optimistic outlook and a resourceful attitude, and are able to turn their ideas into reality with their problem-solving skills. However, sometimes their ideas can be so complex that they may have trouble communicating them to others. INTPs are drawn to logical systems and are often interested in science, mathematics, and technology.
Cognitive Functions of INTPs:
To gain insight into the characteristics of INTP personalities, it is helpful to understand the dominant and auxiliary cognitive functions that drive them. According to the MBTI system, each personality type has a set of cognitive functions that they use most frequently, which leads to consistent patterns and characteristics. For INTPs,
- the dominant function is Introverted Thinking (Ti), and
- the auxiliary function is Extraverted Intuition (Ne) that supports the dominant function
Dominant Ti: An Introverted Thinking (Ti) function allows individuals to analyze and process the world around them internally through logical and objective thinking. These individuals use their naturally technical mind to identify the inner workings and mechanics of systems. Ti allows this type to disregard feeling and sensation to fully immerse in the governing logical frameworks and devise a way to gain leverage based on this understanding. They enjoy devising ingenious solutions to interesting & challenging problems.
Auxiliary Ne: Extraverted Intuition (Ne) allows an individual to generate new ideas, explore possibilities, and see connections between seemingly unrelated things. This function is always looking for ways to bring new elements into a situation, to create new patterns, to relate one thing to another in a new way.
For introverted thinkers to be productive, they must have a strong auxiliary cognitive function to provide perception and support for their thinking. Auxiliary Ne allows INTPs to consider possibilities and potential outcomes that may not have been immediately apparent through logical thinking alone. INTPs first use their dominant function, Introverted Thinking (Ti), to understand the logical structure of a situation. Then, they use their auxiliary function, Extraverted Intuition (Ne), to consider the potential impacts and outcomes of that situation in the real world, which makes them appear more rational and logical.
Like all personality types, INFPs have a combination of strengths and weaknesses. Some of strengths of INTPs include:
- Creative problem-solving: INTPs are logical and analytical thinkers, which makes them great problem-solvers. Their dominant Ti helps them methodically assess a situation and come up with creative solutions to problems. They have an instinctive feel for what will work and what won’t, hence, they are often good at anticipating potential problems and being prepared for them.
- Independence and perseverance: INTPs prefer to work independently and don’t need much supervision. Their strong thinking function equips them with mental resources required for completing tasks without being micromanaged. INTPs are also very dedicated and focused, able to concentrate better than most types because they limit their search to only what is relevant to the issue at hand.
- Intellectual insights: INTPs are probably the most intellectually profound of all the types. Their dominant Ti gives them intellectual curiosity and creative brilliance, while their auxiliary Ne brings a deeper insight and understanding of situations that cannot be reached by thinking alone. With both of these qualities combined, INTPs are able to think in extremely complex ways.
- Objectivity: INTPs are committed to seeking truth and objectivity. They strive to eliminate errors and inconsistencies, without being swayed by other people’s ideas. This allows for some truly profound contribution in systems and theories that can be felt a long time after their lifetimes.
INTPs may have some potential weaknesses that could impact their personal life, relationships, as well as their performance in their workplace. These weaknesses may include the following.
- Neglecting routine and mundane tasks: Just like other Ne-dominant types, INTPs are weak with sensory and practical details,being so absorbed in their thoughts and ideas that they neglect routine matters such as paying bills, meeting deadlines etc. This can also result in them not conforming to basic societal or workplace expectations which they may think as trivial or boring.
- Difficulty with reading and using emotions: INTPs may struggle with understanding and expressing their emotions, as well as of others, mainly due to Feeling being their inferior function. They also avoid engaging in small talk and may come across as disinterested or aloof. This can make them appear unapproachable in social situations, and they may have trouble building and maintaining relationships, both personally and professionally.
- Perfectionism: INTPs’ perfectionism can lead to high standards and a drive for excellence, but it can also hold them back and prevent them from taking action. Their Ti sometimes pushes them to over-analyze every possible solution while trying to find the perfect one. They become obsessed with getting everything “just right”, and this significantly hinders progress in their endeavors
- Intellectual Pride: INTPs base their self-image on being ingenious, autonomous, and resolute. However, their pride in their own ingenuity can sometimes generate hostility and defensive responses from others. They may also be a bit snobbish at times, showing impatience with others who are less endowed with intellectual ability or less driven.
It is important for INTPs to choose a career that aligns with their interests and allows them to use their strengths and skills. They may also benefit from careers that allow them to work independently and have the freedom to think creatively and come up with new solutions to problems.
- Scientists and engineers: INTPs may enjoy careers in scientific research, where they can use their logical thinking skills to understand complex systems and processes. They may also use their creativity and ability to generate new ideas, owing to their auxiliary Ne, to come up with innovative hypotheses and projects. INTPs are naturally drawn to technology, so a career in innovative fields like computer engineering is a great fit too.
- System Architects and designers: INTPs are interested in understanding the patterns and structures of systems in relation to their immediate context. Their Ti helps them piece individual pieces together to envision how a complex system would work, which may lead them to careers related to architecture or design.
- Musicians: INTPs do not restrict their analytical thinking and intuitive skills to science and engineering fields only; they also make excellent musicians. Many INTP musicians say that they can actually “hear” the music in their mind before they have even composed a song. They may use their highly developed analytical and intuitive skills to identify the elements of a song that would make it effective, and then figure out ways to improve or enhance those elements.
- Entrepreneurs and business managers: INTPs have a passion for ideas and can excel in a business career by leveraging their analytical instincts and innovative spirit. Their intuition, coupled with their ambition, can drive them to success in the business world.
Some careers that may not be the best fit for INTPs include those that involve a lot of social interaction, public speaking, and emotional intelligence, as they tend to be more logical, reserved and introverted. Some examples include sales, customer service, marketing, and human resources.
INTPs approach relationships in a rational and calm manner. They value independence in their relationships, and appreciate when their partner gives them the space they need to pursue their own interests and goals and would be more than happy to do the same for their partners.
INTPs enjoy engaging in intellectual and meaningful conversations with their partner, but may struggle with understanding and expressing emotional needs. They are even-tempered and easy to get along with, but have a tendency to be preoccupied with their own ideas, leading them to forget important dates or events in their relationships, which can become a source of conflict. With maturity and self-awareness, INTPs can learn to balance their logical and emotional sides in their relationships, and act with consideration while showing emotional needs and appreciation more skillfully.
As parents, INTPs do not impose their own expectations on their children, and treat each child as a rational individual with their own rights and privileges. They encourage their children to take responsibility for their own lives and to make their own decisions.
In conclusion, INTPs are individuals who are not just curious, but are driven to uncover the wisdom of the world and share it with others. They possess a unique blend of analytical and logical thinking paired with an innate drive to uncover the deeper truths and principles of the world around them. Independent and self-motivated, INTPs are driven to push beyond the surface level of understanding, bring next-level performance and innovation to the workplace or even mankind with their ingenuity!