What Is The INTP Personality Type? (2024)

Many people use the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a personality test based on Carl Jung’s theory of personality typology, to get a better understanding of their behavior. The test has users answer a series of questions about how they might respond to different situations and categorizes each person into one of 16 different personality types.

One of these personality types is the INTP, which stands for Introverted, Intuition, Thinking and Perceiving. Understanding what it means to be an INTP can give insight into what motivates you, how you interact with others and even what career might be best for you. Here’s a look into what it’s like to be an INTP.

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What Is the INTP Personality Type?

The INTP type stands for Introverted, Intuition, Thinking and Perceiving. “These preferences—as is the case with all of the Myers-Briggs qualities—occur on a continuum rather than being fixed,” notes Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., clinical psychologist and author located in Sonoma County, California. In other words, while INTP types have a preference for these qualities, they are not the only things that define them. And while these qualities may describe some who fit the INTP type, they won’t apply to everyone who does.

“Introverted” means that INTPs draw their energy from internal reflection rather than external stimuli, explains Easton Gaines, Psy.D., a holistic and clinical psychologist of Mindcare Psychology in New York City. Intuition is another defining characteristic of this type. “INTPs possess a remarkable ability to see connections and seamlessly grasp complex concepts,” says Dr. Gaines. “Their minds are like vast, interconnected networks, always seeking innovative solutions and insights.”

The “T” stands for Thinking, and refers to the fact that INTPs may be highly logical, rational and objective in their approach to decision making, says Dr. Gaines.

Perceiving makes up the “P,” and that means that INTPs may be flexible and adaptable. “INTPs have a tendency to explore multiple perspectives simultaneously,” Dr. Gaines says. “They value autonomy and can resist rigid structures, preferring instead to navigate life spontaneously.”

INTP Characteristics

INTPs are logical and are known as problem solvers who work hard and hold a close circle. “[INTP personality types] like spending time by themselves and can be quiet, but when they need to get creative, they’re best doing that in a group,” says John Hackston, head of thought leadership at The Myers-Briggs Company.

One thing INTP types are known for is how analytical and thoughtful they might be. “INTPs possess an ability to think abstractly and connect ideas in innovative ways,” says Dr. Gaines. “They are natural-born theorists and conceptual thinkers, always seeking to understand the underlying principles and patterns that govern the universe.” This allows INTPs to come up with unique solutions and creative ideas, which is one reason why this type is sometimes referred to as “the architect.”

INTPs may also be extremely rational, explains Dr. Gaines, as well as flexible and adaptable. This tendency to be more open-minded allows them to “consider alternative perspectives and challenge conventional wisdom,” she adds.

According to Hackston and Dr. Manly, additional characteristics include being able to effortlessly explain and problem solve in areas of interest, as well as being driven, reserved, curious and easygoing.

INTP Weaknesses

Like any other personality type, being an INTP may also have some disadvantages. As Dr. Manly points out, their analytical nature can sometimes cause them to be skeptical or critical, and can also lead to them being “more engaged with abstract ideas and theoretical concepts than social interactions.”

Dr. Gaines echoes the same sentiment, saying that INTPs may often find both social interaction and emotional expression challenging. “They tend to prioritize logic over emotions, often relying on their thinking function rather than their feeling function when making decisions,” she says, noting that they don’t lack empathy or compassion, they are just extremely analytical by nature.

According to Dr. Gaines and Dr. Manly, some common roadblocks include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed by a lot of social interaction
  • Struggling with expressing themselves emotionally
  • Tending to over-analyze and procrastinate
  • Difficulty with routine or repetition
  • Difficulty forming and maintaining social connections

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How Common are INTP Personality Types?

There are various studies that look into the prevalence of INTPs, so it can be difficult to say exactly how common they are. According to Hackston and data from The Myers-Briggs Company, INTPs represent 4.8% of the U.S. population[1]The Power of Introversion. The Myers-Briggs Company. Accessed 7/26/2023. , with 5.8% men and 4% women[2]INTP. MBTI Online. Accessed 7/25/2023. .

Alternatively, data from Ball State University notes that INTPs make up 3.3% of the U.S. population, with 72% being male and 28% being female[3]INTP Careers and Majors. Ball State University. Accessed 7/7/2023. .

What Are the Best Careers for INTP Personality Types?

INTPs may enjoy challenges and coming up with solutions for problems, making them more likely to thrive in careers that allow them to do just that. “They’re good at seeing things others are not able to spot, summarizing issues, finding strategic answers and creating long-term solutions,” Hackston says.

Any job that requires someone to use logic, analytical thinking and reflection would suit an INTP, says Dr. Gaines. They enjoy being able to constantly learn something.

One thing INTPs may want to avoid when looking for a career is a job that requires them to extensively work with others. “As introverts, INTPs do well in careers where they have sufficient alone time with a moderate-to-low degree of ongoing interaction with social groups,” explains Dr. Manly. She also notes that they should avoid anything too rigid, monotonous or repetitive, because they like the opportunity for self-reflection and higher-level thinking.

According to Hackston, Dr. Gaines and Dr. Manly, any of the below jobs would be an excellent option for an INTP:

  • Anything technology-related
  • Transportation
  • Architecture
  • Finance
  • Engineer (biomedical or computer)
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Scientific research
  • Writing and philosophy
  • Academia

INTP Relationships

As introverts, INTPs may value their alone time and aren’t quick to let people in. They might be more interested in deep, meaningful connections, whether the relationship is platonic or romantic.

Romantic Relationships

INTPs may appreciate a significant other who they can engage with on an intellectual level, notes Dr. Gaines. Characteristics of a preferred partner might include being open-minded, curious and able to engage in deep conversations. They may also want someone who can give them the alone time they need.

“Although they may appear indifferent to a romantic prospect, they are secretly observing and documenting the actions and behaviors of those they’re interested in,” Hackston says. They opt to show their affection in more subtle ways.

“It’s important to note that INTPs may sometimes struggle with emotional intimacy and navigating the realm of deep emotions,” says Dr. Gaines. “They may find it challenging to express their own feelings or understand the emotional needs of their partners.”

Platonic or Family Relationships

Although they might not always be extremely outgoing, INTPs still value meaningful and strong bonds with others. “INTPs thrive on deep, intellectually stimulating conversations when forging new relationships, seeking out topics that spark engaging and even humorous discussions,” Hackston says. They prefer to have a close-knit, small circle of friends over a lot of less intense friendships.

As Dr. Manly notes, they are also spontaneous, flexible, fun and easygoing. “This can be difficult for those who prefer a more organized, pre-planned approach to life,” she says.

INTPs may appreciate when friends or family members give them space and time to themselves. “They may approach family dynamics with a desire for autonomy and freedom of thought,” says Dr. Gaines.

Work Relationships

While INTPs are not typically difficult to work with, they may not intentionally seek out friendships in the workplace either. “INTPs will interact well with coworkers but are generally on the quiet side and not prone to high levels of social interaction,” says Dr. Manly. They can be great teammates, and according to Hackston, they can make good leaders thanks to “their capacity to stay focused, improve systems and create solutions, while remaining interested in learning other points of view.”

INTPs might be curious, analytical problem-solvers. They value meaningful relationships and intellectually stimulating conversations, and although they may struggle with emotional conversations or showing their affection, they can still make great romantic partners and friends. Thanks to their logical nature, INTPs thrive in careers where they can do a lot of thinking and learning. True introverts, they love having some time to themselves as well.

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What Is The INTP Personality Type? (2024)
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