INTP Personality (Logician) Handbook: Definition, Characteristics, Cognitive Functions, Facts & More
The INTP personality type is one of 16 personality types from the Myers-Briggs personality test or MBTI personality inventory which is created on Jung’s psychological typology and theory.
This theory discusses that a blend of four psychological functions creates each personality type. In its essence, based on people’s preferences, it offers an explanation of why people behave in a certain way.
INTP Meaning and What Does It Stands For
INTP meaning (introverted, intuitive, thinking, and perceiving) comes from the four personality traits. The unique combination of these functions makes the individuals with the INTP personality type focused on finding logical explanations behind everything that surrounds them.
Individuals with the INTP personality type live in their inner world filled with outstanding concepts and flamboyant ideas. They are generally withdrawn and have a small circle of close friends.
What strikes, though, is their well-developed intuitive function, which helps them perceive things in a deeper context. INTPs can look beyond the surface and are quick to get a higher understanding of what’s said or what’s not said.
Strangely enough, these individuals have a weak Feeling function, so they discard emotions as a reasonable cause for taking actions and undervalue sentiments regardless of the circumstances.
INTPs look for underlying general truths, unrevealed paths, and systemic connections of global processes. Due to their enhanced thinking function blended with creativity and inventiveness, this personality type is nicknamed “Logician” or “Thinker”.
INTPs are people driven to find patterns, systemic connections and are excellent at spotting inconsistencies. They have highly developed perceiving capabilities that help them understand how complex systems function by segmenting them into small consisting units.
INTP Key Characteristics That Distinguish Them
- INTPs have a theoretical approach to life in general and love thinking of alternative ways of solving problems.
- Logicians connect facts and information into a meaningful whole, trying to find the most objective and logical explanation for whatever is happening around them.
- INTPs are introverts with a rich and vivid inner life. They are incessant thinkers who love looking for possibilities and innovative solutions. However, what’s happening in their head stays there as INTPs rarely share their thoughts with others.
- INTPs are open-minded and flexible and show genuine interest in other people’s opinions.
- INTPs rarely focus on details, as it is the big-picture that they are focused on.
- Logicians are spontaneous, flexible, and free-willed, so any form of structure and planning inhibits their usual way of life.
- INTPs personality types lack emotional understanding and often feel perplexed when they need to show or deal with feelings.
- Logicians are incredibly independent, unconventional, and very authentic. They are generally people with complex ideas that borderline eccentricity.
INTP Cognitive Functions
As mentioned in the introduction, the four cognitive features: introverted, intuitive, thinking, and perceiving, define the INTP personality type.
However, the hierarchy and the dominance of each function creates the personality type in its essence. The dominant function is the most expressed and plays a key role in how the person behaves.
Yet, the auxiliary and tertiary functions support and give nuanced influence on the person’s personality. The fourth, inferior function, is the least developed, and it is where the person’s weaknesses are the most pronounced.
Dominant: Introverted Thinking
Due to this feature, INTPs are called Logicians or Thinkers. This function influences Logicians’ ability to make logical connections and come to reasonable conclusions.
Also, as this thinking process is inwardly oriented, much of it happens in their minds, and they rarely share their ideas with others. INTPs are analytical in terms of understanding things, yet, they are very creative and often think outside the box.
Auxiliary: Extraverted Intuition
INTPs are intuitive thanks to the extraverted intuitive function, which helps them explore possibilities and read what’s beyond the visible and prominent. With the help of this function, INTPs use their previous experiences and insights to create new ideas and understand hidden meanings.
Their ability to seek and comprehend patterns helps them visualize possible solutions for existing problems or imagine how things would be in the near or distant future.
Tertiary: Introverted Sensing
Having an Introverted Sensing function means that INTPs don’t take things for granted, but they’d rather analyze the information they get, compare, and contrast it with their previous insights.
They sense future outcomes and make predictions on what could happen. Many INTPs dwell on the ‘what if’ ideas and usually try to test those ideas to make them happen.
Inferior: Extraverted Feeling
This cognitive function makes INTPs feel comfortable in large social gatherings when they are not the center of attention. Otherwise, the fact that it is an inferior function implies that they lack emotional expression and comprehension.
This also means that Logicians don’t put much value on sentiments, and when they are under stress or faced with emotional outbursts, they ignore feelings and rely on their intellect and logic.
Subtypes of INTP personality
Not all INTPs are created equal, so within the same type, two distinctive subtypes share the same cognitive functions and exhibit some differences that can be classified into two categories.
These categories are called Assertive INTPs (INTP-A) and Turbulent INTPs (INTP-T). They differ in how they respond to stress and anxiety, how they see themselves, and how they maintain their interpersonal relationships.
INTP-A Assertive Logicians and Their Identity Features
Like all Assertives, the Assertive Logicians are more self-satisfied and happier with their achievements, even though all INTPs, in general, are less satisfied with their lives than other personality types.
When it comes to dealing with change and the unknown, the Assertive INTPs show a greater deal of flexibility and readiness for transformation.
Assertive INTPs can often get sudden outbursts of ideas to try new things and new theories, so they are often in a state of ongoing flux. However, Assertive INTPs are more careful regarding the risk they take when they make sudden changes.
Assertive INTPs are more confident, and they generally have a clearer vision of where they are headed. Not that they dislike change, just that Assertive INTPs experiment with things on a deeper level, usually after becoming bored with what they have ahead. Also, Assertive INTPs feel much more confident when they have to deal with daily activities.
Speaking of interpersonal relations, Assertive INTPs are simply detached from other people’s opinions and influences. As a matter of fact, it is the Assertive INTPs that are the least impacted by other people’s words or deeds.
This might have an adverse turn in social relationships as the Assertive INTPs are not likely to ask for permission or consider other people’s feelings.
This is why many people consider them condescending and arrogant. Assertive INTPs indeed believe themselves to be very intelligent, so that’s one of the reasons why they tend to be so independent.
INTP-T Turbulent Logicians and Their Identity Features
Almost as a general rule, Turbulent INTPs are less self-confident than their counterparts. This also influences the way they respond to changes and unforeseen situations.
Since their lower self-esteem makes them eager for improvement when they notice weaknesses, they have a much more pronounced drive to change. It leads to exploring all the possibilities, creating infinite imaginative prospects, and numerous tests and trials.
However, the level of personal satisfaction is much lower at Turbulent INTPs than their Assertive counterparts.
This might come from not adhering to their agendas as INTP-Ts are often in a quest for something better and more authentic. This tendency, however, makes them appear in the eyes of others inconsistent and unstable.
Regarding interpersonal relationships, Turbulent INTPs take other people’s opinions and remarks more seriously and even consider them when making decisions.
One of the differences between the Assertive and Turbulent INTPs is the INTP-Ts’ observance of how they appear and look in front of other people. They are more self-conscious about their looks, strive to please others more, and get more upset about negative comments or arguments.
Consequently, Turbulent INTPs have a more enhanced need for approval, which might cause them stress and anxiety if not adequately given.
They are more self-conscious about their looks, strive to please others more, and get more upset about negative comments or arguments.
INTP Personal Strengths
- Outstanding Analytical Thinkers
INTPs see the world as a complex system constituted of various interconnected parts that need to be understood thoroughly. They try to find deeper meaning and understanding of everything that happens around them and often excel in coming up with logical conclusions and sensible explanations.
- Abstract Philosophers
INTPs are unsurpassed thinkers, not limiting themselves to any particular area. INTPs love contemplating about an array of topics; however, not much of it is publicly revealed.
- Creative and Authentic
INTPs have a unique ability to come up with creative, out-of-the-box ideas or solutions to problems that, for some, might appear way too eccentric. However, bear in mind that some of the greatest inventors of all time had this personality type.
INTPs look for the ultimate truth, and they test everything against the concept of objectivity and truthfulness. However, they might not appear as such as INTPs, often just ignite a truth trial spark without the intention of keeping up the fire.
Although they might not discuss it, they will most surely process all the information they get through the objectivity filter.
The outwardly rigid expression that most INTPs have can be easily shattered when their interest gets aroused by an intriguing topic. Once they get involved in the discussion, they transform into very vivid and entertaining discussion makers who don’t hesitate to use their witty sense of humor when surrounded by people they trust.
INTPs won’t go around the bush if they have something to say. They believe that it is always better to tell the truth than avoiding it, even at the cost of getting into a conflict.
INTPs are not self-centered intellectuals who take their knowledge and intellect for granted, but they love to explore new possibilities and new ideas. This is an asset that allows them a higher social integration and lets them see what other people think on specific issues.
INTP Weaknesses and Where They Struggle the Most
- Extremely Private
INTPs live in their own world filled with theories, presumptions, beliefs, and ideas. Rarely do they allow anyone to have a little glimpse into what’s happening behind their mental walls, and when they do, it is just a bit of it, leaving those around them puzzled and wondering.
INTPs love discussing with their small circle of close friends, but those discussions usually revolve around new suppositions rather than openly expressing themselves.
When INTPs are truly involved in a process that has completely caught up their interest, they tend to ignore the world around them, including their own needs.
- Patronizing and Arrogant
Logicians’ quick reasoning and intelligence are often the reasons for appearing arrogant and superior to others. At times they tend to take pride in being knowledgeable and information-filled, which can frustrate others.
It is also not uncommon for INTPs to look down on people they consider inferior or simply dismiss a discussion if they feel that they won’t be understood.
For INTPs, emotions have no valid place in solving problems or understanding the reasons behind issues, so they simply dismiss them. This can even be offending for Feeling type personalities, leading to distancing or even ending contacts.
- Avoid Rules and Regulations
When their reasoning simply tells them that there’s no logical explanation for a specific rule, regulation, or guideline, INTPs will try to avoid it. Logicians rely on their intellect, which is where they break off social limitations, find creative inspiration, and risk being disrespectful and disobedient.
- Insecure in Their Own Capabilities
The fact that they question everything and are open up to new ideas is often a two-edged sword that puts their abilities at trial. Logicians are hard to make decisions as they focus not only on what they can but what they could do, leading to frequent delays and switching of interests.
Jobs and Career Paths of INTPs
Since INTPs are independent, creative, and unconventional, careers that involve providing service, corporate management, or team jobs might not be a good match. What INTPs are best at are jobs that involve creativity, methodical and analytical approach, and innovations and testing and trying new ideas or concepts.
INTPs are excellent at jobs that involve mathematical skills, science, or carrying out experiments and measurements. In their jobs, they expect personal growth that goes hand in hand with professional achievement; however, INTPs are never driven by social or corporal achievements or financial stimuli.
INTPs enjoy diving deep into their own thoughts provoked by an interesting concept, project, or task. They are not likely to be seen at social gatherings or attending meetings if not necessary, as for them, it is merely a waste of their precious time.
All jobs that involve social interaction, dealing with day-to-day activities, routines, and services, as well as jobs that involve empathy and emotional understanding, are not a good match for Logicians.
List of 10 Best Work Occupations for INTPs
- Scientist (mathematician, physicist, chemist)
- University Professor
- Data Analyst
- Technical Writer
- Research Journalist
- Business Analyst
- Forensics Expert
- Software Developer
Common Hobbies and Interests
- Art and cultural events
- Strategy games
- Traveling and exploring
How Does an INTP Interact and Behave In
Being a friend with an INTP is not easy, and it doesn’t happen randomly. The usual friendship ignitors such as shared interests or routines, emotional support or understanding, social validity, and status don’t affect INTPs.
It is the clash of intellects that arouses curiosity and keeps the friendship steady.
INTPs don’t have a big circle of friends. Their friendships list is relatively limited, and they avoid being the center of attention or large social gatherings. In such circumstances, they appear distant and withdrawn.
However, when they are in their familiar environment, surrounded by people they appreciate and trust, INTPs are fun and engaging, inspiring everyone with their witty comments, riddles, and ideas.
INTPs see parenting as a natural challenge, and they approach it with utmost dedication and willingness to thrive in this role.
Even though they struggle to understand unreasonable, childish demands and emotions, INTPs give their best to help their children grow into independent adults who rely on their reasoning without taking things for granted.
Logicians are not traditional-style parents but are very devoted and supportive. They usually direct their children to look for knowledge and truth and express their own opinions.
INTPs are relatively easy-going in their parental role and don’t usually impose strict regimes as Logicians firmly believe that controlling other human beings can bring no good whatsoever. However, what INTPs demand from their children is intellectual excellence and sound thinking.
The weakest area of their parenting is the emotional area and handling their children’s emotions. They appear clumsy and awkwardly irrational, as they fail to bring together rationality and sentiments.
If INTPs put more effort into understanding that feelings are equally important for their children as seeking knowledge and ensuring wellbeing, they will have the capacity to build an inseparable, healthy relationship with them.
As with all other areas in their lives, INTPs in relationships seek primarily intellectual connection, which is spiced with sexual attraction and passion.
INTPs rarely engage in shallow relationships, and although they love experimenting and trying out new things, it is relatively uncommon for INTPs to change their partners frequently.
Since Logicians are generally shy and withdrawn, they rarely make the first move. They are more likely to hint their interest and then wait for the potential partner to make the first step.
Once they have found their ‘perfect match,’ INTPs are intriguingly fun, romantic, playful, spicing the relationship with a flirting choice of words and intellectual games.
INTPs’ partners should bear in mind that Logicians lack emotional understanding and even emotional rejection when faced with intense outbursts of feelings.
Waiting for INTPs to comprehend an internal emotional storm would be as if waiting for hitting the lottery, so INTPs partners are advised to openly expose the issue without scaring their partners off.
Otherwise, INTPs in a relationship are not very demanding, even though planning romantic surprises and dinners are far from their thoughts.
Logicians function the best when they are provided with intellectual and spatial freedom to explore and test their ideas.
They love solving problems and inventing new approaches, so anything that stimulates this need means a perfect working environment for the somewhat eccentric INTPs.
Yet, even though, if asked, INTPs prefer to work in complete solitude, they perform much better when paired with another knowledge-thirst person.
Their inner desire to check other people’s opinions and to test their theories can be much more fertile when working in a team.
Famous INTPs You Might Know
- Carl Jung, psychoanalyst
- Albert Einstein, scientist
- Tiger Woods, No1 golfer
- Abraham Lincoln, US president
- Charles Darwin, biologist
- Marie Curie, scientist
- Socrates, philosopher
Famous INTP Quotes
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.”- Albert Einstein.
“No matter how good you get, you can always get better, and that’s the exciting part.” Tiger Woods.
“I am not what happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Jung.
Interesting Facts About INTPs
- Compared to other personality types, INTPs are more likely to study a foreign language.
- INTPs show the highest level of career dissatisfaction.
- Least likely to spiritually engage or believe in supernatural powers.
- INTPs the most likely among students to violate drugs and alcohol regulations.
- Logician personality is the most common in engineering, science, and technical occupations.
- In school, they have lower school grades, and many of them leave school before graduating.
- On a personal level, they value Autonomy, Independence, and Freedom the most.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do others see and perceive INTPs?
As INTPs are always engaged in a thinking process, others see them as unconventional, smart, and even eccentric. Those who don’t know them well might consider them irresponsible and careless, as day-to-day activities are not INTPs’ prime focus, and they tend to neglect them.
What does INTP stand for?
INTP is an acronym of the four cognitive functions that define the Logician’s personality type: Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Perceiving.
Are INTPs rare and How Rare?
INTPs are among the rarest of all personality types, comprising only about 3% of the world population. They are less common among women, as there are only 2% of them, and 5% among men.
If you are an INTP, then you must consider yourself a unique human being. While at some point you get frustrated that people around you can’t truly understand your personality, at another, you realize that your eccentricity is what defines you, and that’s perfectly fine.
INTPs should always bear in mind that their genius mind will always allow them to explore new areas, while at the same time, they will be torn between new opportunities and old existing projects. In this respect, INTPs should work on maintaining consistency while at the same time keeping their creative spirit.
In a nutshell, if INTPs learn to take advantage of their strengths and diminish the negative impacts of their weaknesses, they can lead a prosperous and satisfying life.