INTP in a Nutshell
INTPs are philosophical innovators, fascinated by logical analysis, systems, and design. 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 are detached, analytical observers who can seem oblivious to the world around them because they are so deeply absorbed in thought. They spend much of their time focused internally: exploring concepts, making connections, and seeking understanding. To the Architect, life is an ongoing inquiry into the mysteries of the universe.
What Makes the INTP Tick
INTPs present a cool exterior but are privately passionate about reason, analysis, and innovation. They seek to create complex systems of understanding to unify the principles they've observed in their environments. Their minds are complicated and active, and they will go to great mental lengths trying to devise ingenious solutions to interesting problems.
The INTP is typically non-traditional, and more likely to reason out their own individual way of doing things than to follow the crowd. The INTP is suspicious of assumptions and conventions, and eager to break apart ideas that others take for granted. INTPs are merciless when analyzing concepts and beliefs, and hold little sacred. They are often baffled by other people who remain loyal to ideology that doesn't make logical sense.
Recognizing an INTP
INTPs are often thoroughly engaged in their own thoughts, and usually appear to others to be offbeat and unconventional. The INTP’s mind is a most active place, and their inward orientation can mean that they neglect superficial things like home décor or appropriate clothing. They don’t tend to bother with small talk but can become downright passionate when talking about science, mathematics, computers, or the larger theoretical problems of the universe. Reality is often of only passing interest to the Architect, as they are more interested in the theory behind it all.
INTPs are typically precise in their speech, and communicate complex ideas with carefully chosen words. They insist on intellectual rigor in even the most casual of conversations, and will readily point out inconsistencies of thought or reasoning. Social niceties may fall by the wayside for an INTP who is more interested in analyzing logic, and they may offend others by submitting their dearly held values and beliefs to logical scrutiny.
Popular leisure activities for an INTP include reading, art and cultural events, chess and other strategy games, writing, taking classes, working with computers, backpacking, hiking, and meditation.
Research on INTP
Interesting facts about the INTP:
- On personality trait measures, score as Candid, Ingenious, Complicated, Independent, and Rebellious
- More likely than other types to study a foreign language
- Most frequent type among college students committing alcohol and drug policy violations
- Have lowest level of coping resources of all the types (with ISTPs)
- One of types least likely to believe in a higher spiritual power
- Highest of all types in career dissatisfaction (with INFPs)
- In school, have lower grades than would be predicted from aptitude scores
- More likely than average to complete engineering programs
- Personal values include Autonomy, Freedom, and Independence
- Overrepresented among working MBA students
- Commonly found in science and technical occupations
What the Experts Say
"INTPs are perhaps the most intellectually profound of all the types."
- Isabel Briggs Myers, Gifts Differing
"What is important is that the underlying structures of the universe be uncovered and articulated, and that whatever is stated about the universe be stated correctly, with coherence and without redundancy."
- David Keirsey, Please Understand Me II
"INTPs are free-spirited idea mills and absentminded professors, which makes them fun to be around, easily diverted, and a plethora of unending creativity."
- Otto Kroeger, Type Talk at Work
INTP at Work
At work, the INTP is motivated to solve complex problems in an original, innovative 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 independently 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.
Popular Careers for the INTP
Top careers for the INTP include:
Least Popular Careers for INTPs
It is important to note that any personality type can be successful in any occupation. However, some occupations are well suited to the natural talents and preferred work style of the INTP, while other occupations demand modes of thinking and behavior that do not come as naturally to this type. Occupations that require the INTP to operate outside their natural preferences may prove stressful or draining, and often sound unappealing to Architects who are choosing a career.
The following occupations have been found to be unpopular among INTPs, based on data gathered from surveys of the general population.
INTPs as Leaders
In leadership positions, INTPs inspire others with their intelligence and innovative ideas. INTP leaders are often unassuming on the surface but catch everyone's attention once they begin talking about their ideas. They generally allow their reports a lot of latitude, preferring to set the overall goal and trust their team to solve problems autonomously.
INTPs enjoy exploring new possibilities and engaging in creative problem solving, but may sometimes get so caught up in the world of ideas that they neglect to lead their teams into action. They may have trouble hashing out details, and often leave it to someone else to create exact specifications. They do best leading competent, intellectually driven teams who understand their complex ideas and can fill in the details to create realistic plans of action.
INTPs on a Team
INTPs are thoughtful, analytical team members who contribute a deep understanding of complex problems. They are often most interested in the theoretical questions behind the team’s goal, and can help the group to identify key principles and generate innovative ideas. They tend to engage with the vision of the team, analyzing it rationally and objectively and offering options and possibilities.
INTPs do best on a team when they are given freedom to analyze logical problems in an original way. They are skilled at coming up with creative solutions, but don’t put much stock in the established way of doing things. Team members who are highly loyal to tradition may encounter friction with the INTP. Architects are typically independent thinkers who’d rather debate ideas than make small talk. They may become impatient if too much time is spent on pleasantries, and may put off team members who seek a more personal touch.
INTP Communication Style
INTPs can be insightful communicators, when the subject inspires them. Thoughtful and independent, they may not have a great need for conversation, but when discussing complex concepts or innovative ideas they can become quite intense and display a wealth of information and insight. Logical and analytical, they can weigh possibilities endlessly and are great at playing devil’s advocate. They love to pick apart ideas but are not convinced by anything but the most rational of analyses; they can spot a flaw in logic a mile away, and rarely hesitate to point it out.
INTPs as Partners
INTPs are independent and clever partners. 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 tradition, preferring instead to design a lifestyle that makes sense for 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."
INTPs tend to analyze the theory behind everything, and may interpret human interactions with the detached 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 retreat to their own world of thoughts and ideas.
INTPs want plenty of space in a relationship to explore their own thoughts, ideas, and interests. They value a partner that appreciates their ingenuity and problem-solving ability, and one that understands their need for autonomy.
INTPs as Parents
As parents, INTPs encourage competence and independent problem solving. They often do not tune in easily to their children's feelings, but will enthusiastically help them to reason out a complex dilemma.
INTPs are usually involved in their own projects or ideas and typically do not take much pleasure in the mundane, day-to-day tasks of caring for children. As a result, the Architect parent may sometimes seem distant to their children, but their true delight in parenting is in sharing exciting ideas and concepts with young minds.