What is an INTP? Personality Traits, Myths & Cognitive Functions | Introvert Wisdom (2024)

If you are looking for a detailed description of the personality type, then this article is for you. We will discuss what INTPs are like in terms of characteristics and cognitive functions. In addition to some myths and facts about them. All that without mentioning Sherlock Holmes!

Table Of Contents

An Overview of the INTP Personality Type

The INTP personality type, one of sixteen personality types as described by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). People who score as INTP are often quiet and analytical. They enjoy spending time alone and come up with solutions to problems they have. The INTP has a rich inner world that they like to focus on rather than the external world.

According to psychologist David Keirsey, creator of the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, 1 to 5 percent of people have an INTP personality type.

Their opposite type, or 'perfect match' are the ENTJs.

What is an INTP? Personality Traits, Myths & Cognitive Functions | Introvert Wisdom (1)

Key INTP Characteristics

  • Quiet and introverted, INTPs have a hard time socializing with large groups of people. They enjoy talking to close friends about shared interests.
  • INTPs enjoy thinking about theoretical concepts and base decisions off of objective information. They value intellect over emotion, and generally prefer to think before they feel
  • When analyzing data and making decisions, INTPs are highly objective and logical.
  • Tends to be flexible and good at thinking "outside of the box."
  • People with the INTP personality type are more interested in the overall picture rather than focusing on each little detail.
  • INTPs like to keep their options open and feel limited by structure and planning.
  • INTP Strengths

  • Logical and objective
  • Abstract thinker
  • Independent
  • Loyal and affectionate with loved ones
  • INTP Weaknesses

  • Difficult to get to know
  • Can be insensitive
  • Prone to self-doubt
  • Struggles to follow rules
  • Has trouble expressing feelings
  • INTP Cognitive Functions

    The MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) identifies preferences in four key dimensions: Extraversion vs Introversion, Sensing vs Intuition, Thinking vs Feeling, and Judging vs Perceiving.

    As you can tell by the four-letter acronym, INTP stands forIntroverted,Intuitive,Thinking, andPerceiving.

    According to psychoanalyst Carl Jung, the MBTI also considers a functional stack to better understand personality. The functions are either introverted or extroverted and they work in different ways depending on each person's type.

    Every personality type possesses a dominant function that sets the tone of the individual. In addition to this, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior functions take part in assembling an individual's personality characteristics.

    INTPs rely on four key cognitive functions:

    Dominant: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

    This function observes the world, and INTPs try to understand what’s behind anything. They focus on breaking down things into their individual components. They want a complete understanding of something before they will express an opinion or take action.

    Auxiliary: Extraverted Intuition (Ne)

    INTPs express this cognitive function by considering what-ifs and abstract possibilities. They typically use insight, imagination, and past experiences to form ideas. They often go over what they know while seeking patterns until they have an idea about the problem.

    INTPs fantasize a lot about the future and make many predictions which are not very accurate but do show their genius in innovation or determination of knowledge among other areas.

    Tertiary: Introverted Sensing (Si)

    INTPs are usually very detail-oriented with a keen eye for anything that may be of significance. They typically categorize everything they come across - whether new or already known - and use this information to predict what will happen next.

    Inferior function: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

    INTPs can often establish camaraderie with others. They are usually introverted to the point that they need plenty of solitude, but when interacting with close friends, INTPs tend to be more assertive and outgoing. When not in situations that cause stress, INTPs are extremely friendly and engaging. They enjoy discussing philosophical concepts and can often feel bored with topics of less interest to them.

    However, when stressed, they tend to use logic over emotion which can engender an aloof or indifferent demeanor with other people.

    Famous INTPs You Might Know

  • Albert Einstein, scientist
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower, U.S. President
  • Carl Jung, psychoanalyst
  • Tiger Woods, golfer
  • Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory
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    Personal Relationships

    Introverts tend to be more selective about the people they interact with, which means many INTPs need time alone after long periods of socializing. At the end of a busy day, the INTP personality type may want to recharge and find balance by spending some time alone.

    Though they might feel shy around those they do not know well, close friends and family members are likely to be warm with an INTP.

    Some people misinterpret the shyness and isolation of INTPs as arrogance or indifference. In truth, they are deep thinkers who enjoy a good idea like anyone else. Their intelligence and love for knowledge make them valuable teammates in any setting.

    In social situations, INTPs tend to be quite easy-going and tolerant. However, they can become unyielding when their beliefs or convictions are challenged. INTPs have a strong reliance on logic which means they often correct others in situations where their argument is not rational or logical. Their independent and self-controlled nature can make it difficult to persuade them, too.

    INTP Career Paths

    INTPs do well in science-related careers, and because they enjoy theoretical and abstract concepts, INTPs are often logical students. Additionally, they have strong reasoning skills and the ability to think creatively.

    INTPs can be very independent and place a great deal of emphasis on personal freedom and autonomy. Some INTPs can become irritated with authority figures that they feel are trying to suppress their ability to think and act for themselves. INTPs tend to be drawn to careers that have flexibility and independence.

    Popular INTP Careers

  • Chemist
  • Physicist
  • Computer programmer
  • Pharmacist
  • Software developer
  • Geologist
  • Forensic scientist
  • Engineer
  • Mathematician
  • Tips for Interacting With INTPs


    Seeking shared interests is the best way to form friendships with an INTP. They often bond over intellectual topics while shying away from personal discussions. INTPs are introverts who enjoy spending their time alone, in reflection. And because they only have a handful of close friends, these relationships tend to be very special to them.

    After all, INTPs do not deal well with too many emotions and conversations that get too emotional might make an INTP pull away from the conversation or person emotionally. They may also find it challenging to converse when they feel as though they will say something the other party would disagree with. When you're communicating with your INTP friend just remember that he/she is thinking deeply about what you are saying- so don't expect any quick responses for clarifications or questions.


    INTP's tend to respond better to logic and reason, but will also do well in situations that cater to their intellectual interests. Encourage your child by developing their personal projects as well as introducing them to people with similar interests. Often times these two areas are strengths for INTPs.


    INTPs are difficult to get to know on a first date or for the first time. They do not open up about themselves unless they feel like their partner deserves it, and as such may seem distant in romance. INTPs can be a bit uninformed about the social and emotional needs of their partners, so it may take more work to make those connections. However, when INTPs do enter into a committed relationship they are not likely to cheat or need any reassurance that you are devoted to them.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What personality type is INTP?

    Some main traits of the INTP personality type is introverted intuitive thinking, intuition and perceiving. Introversion means less focus on people outside themselves, intuitive intelligence deals with understanding things without conscious reasoning and perceiving means being able to focus on the environment as it is.

    What it means to be an INTP?

    The type INTP means that the person is a logical thinker who relies on facts and ideas. The INTP personality type can be difficult to interact with because they have trouble reading social cues or understanding emotional needs so it may take more work for them to make connections in relationships.

    Is INTP a rare personality type?

    Pretty much, yes! They're rare because they make up only two to four percent of the population and it's not often that they meet other people like themselves.

    What is an INTP female?

    An INTP female is someone who is a logical thinker who is often misunderstood or viewed as an outcast. They rely on facts and ideas in order to make decisions, which can be difficult for other people to understand because it's not always clear how INTPs are feeling about the situation.

    Additional Resources

    Who Are the INTPs? (YouTube video by CS Joseph)

    What is an INTP? Personality Traits, Myths & Cognitive Functions | Introvert Wisdom (2024)
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