INTP: Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving

An Overview of the INTP Personality Type, Sometimes Called "The Logician"

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INTP means introverted, intuitive, thinking, and perceiving. It is one of the 16 personality types described by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). People who score as INTP are often described as quiet and analytical. They enjoy spending time alone, thinking about how things work and coming up with solutions to problems.

INTPs have a rich inner world and would rather focus their attention on their internal thoughts rather than the external world. They typically do not have a wide social circle, but they do tend to be close to a select group of people. 

Verywell / JR Bee

The INTP personality type is known as the "Logician" since their thoughts and behaviors are based on logic. There are two subtypes of INTPs: INTP-A and INTP-T.

  • INTP-A: Known as the "Assertive Logician," this subtype tends to be more comfortable with themselves and more confident than an INTP-T. They are also more satisfied with where they are in life.
  • INTP-T: This subtype is referred to as the "Turbulent Logician" and, when compared to an INTP-A, feels less comfort both personally and in terms of their current life. They also tend to be slightly less confident.

Is INTP a Rare Personality Type?

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

Key INTP Characteristics

What is someone with an INTP personality like? Here are a few key characteristics:

  • INTPs are quiet, reserved, and thoughtful. As introverts, they prefer to socialize with a small group of close friends with whom they share common interests and connections.
  • An INTP enjoys thinking about theoretical concepts and tends to value intellect over emotion. They are logical and base decisions on objective information rather than subjective feelings.
  • When analyzing data and making decisions, an INTP is highly logical and objective.
  • INTPs tend to be flexible and good at thinking "outside of the box."
  • People with the INTP personality type think about the big picture rather than focusing on every tiny detail.
  • INTPs like to keep their options open and feel limited by structure and planning.
Strengths
  • Logical and objective

  • Abstract thinker

  • Independent

  • Loyal and affectionate with loved ones

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 is based upon psychoanalyst Carl Jung's theory which suggests that personality is made up of different cognitive functions. The hierarchical order of these functions is what establishes personality and behavioral patterns.

While the MBTI is popular, some suggest that this personality test is flawed in that it contradicts both itself and known data while also lacking testability. Therefore, the information it supplies may be interesting but not necessarily something you should plan your relationships or career around.

The dominant function is the one that plays the largest role in personality, although it is also supported by the auxiliary. The tertiary function is less developed, but still exerts some influence and becomes more pronounced as a person strengthens this area. The inferior function is largely unconscious and represents an area of weakness.

Here are the four levels of cognitive functions for an INTP.

Dominant: Introverted Thinking

This function focuses on how people take in information about the world. INTPs express introverted thinking by trying to understand how things work. They often like to break down larger things or ideas to look at the individual components to see how things fit and function together.

INTPs tend to be highly logical and efficient thinkers. They like to have a complete understanding of something before they are willing to share an opinion or take action.

Auxiliary: Extraverted Intuition

INTPs express this cognitive function by exploring what-ifs and possibilities. They utilize insight, imagination, and past experiences to form ideas. INTPs often go over what they know, seeking patterns until they can achieve a flash of inspiration or insight into a problem. They tend to spend a great deal of time thinking about the future and imagining all the possibilities.

Tertiary: Introverted Sensing

INTPs tend to be very detail-oriented, carefully categorizing all of the many facts and experiences they take in. As they collect new information, INTPs compare and contrast it with what they already know in order to make predictions about what they believe will happen next.

Inferior: Extraverted Feeling

INTPs tend to seek harmony in groups. While they are introverted, INTPs can be quite outgoing when they are around people with whom they are familiar and comfortable. In situations where they feel stress, however, INTPs shut down their feelings and struggle to connect with others. Under stress, they tend to rely on logic rather than feelings.

INTPs You Might Know

A few famous INTPs include:

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

Personal Relationships With INTPs

As introverts, INTPs prefer spending time alone for the most part. Unlike extroverts, who gain energy from interacting with a wide group of people, introverts must expend energy in social situations.

After being around a lot of people, INTPs might feel like they need to be by themselves to recharge and find balance. While they may be shy around people they do not know well, INTPs tend to be warm and friendly with their close group of family and friends.

Because INTPs enjoy solitude and deep thinking, they sometimes strike others as aloof and detached. At times, people with this personality type can get lost in their own thoughts and lose track of the outside world. INTPs love ideas and place a high value on intelligence and knowledge.

In social situations, INTPs tend to be quite easy-going and tolerant. However, they can become unyielding when their beliefs or convictions are challenged. Their high emphasis on logic can make it difficult for INTPs to not correct others when their arguments aren't rational or logical. Because they rely on their own minds, INTPs can also be very difficult to persuade.

INTP Relationship Compatibility

People with an INTP personality tend to be more compatible with an ENTJ, ESTJ, or ENTP, potentially making them good marriage partners. Conversely, an INTP may clash with an ISFJ or ESFJ.

Career Paths for the INTP

Because they enjoy theoretical and abstract concepts, INTPs often do particularly well in science-related careers. They are logical and have strong reasoning skills, but are also excellent at thinking creatively.

INTPs can be very independent and place a great deal of emphasis on personal freedom and autonomy. In some cases, they can be aggravated by authority figures, particularly those that they feel are trying to suppress their ability to think and act for themselves. Because of this, INTPs typically do best in careers that have a great deal of flexibility and independence.

Popular INTP Careers

If you are an INTP, you may enjoy a career as a:

  • Chemist
  • Physicist
  • Computer programmer
  • Forensic scientist
  • Engineer
  • Mathematician
  • Pharmacist
  • Software developer
  • Geologist

Tips for Interacting With INTPs

If you have an INTP in your life, here are a few tips for interacting with them based on the nature of your relationship.

Friendships

Shared interests are one of the best paths to forming a friendship with an INTP. They tend to value intellect over all else and can be very slow to form friendships. While this often leads to fewer friendships, the ones that an INTP does gain tend to be very close. Remember that your INTP friends may not be the best at dealing with excess emotions, but they love to bond over deep conversations and shared passions.

Parenting

If your child is an INTP, it's important to remember that they may respond better to reason and logic rather than appeals to emotion. Encourage your child to develop their intellectual interests, but also look for situations that may help them foster friendships. This can be an area where a child struggles, but putting them in contact with other kids who share the same interests can be helpful.

Relationships

INTPs tend to live inside their minds, so they can be quite difficult to get to know. Even in romance, they often hold back until they feel that the other person has proven themselves worthy of hearing their innermost thoughts and feelings.

One thing to remember is that, while INTPs do enjoy romance in the context of a deeply committed relationship, they do not play games. So, if you are in a romantic relationship with an INTP, be honest and forthright when dealing with them.

Because INTPs are not good at understanding the emotional needs of others, you may need to be very direct about what you need and expect in that regard. INTPs also struggle to share their feelings, so you may need to pay attention to subtle signals that your partner is sending.

3 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Stein R, Swan AB. Evaluating the validity of Myers-Briggs type indicator theory: A teaching tool and window into intuitive psychology. Soc Personal Psychol Compass. 2019;13(2):e12434. doi:10.1111/spc3.12434

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Additional Reading

By Kendra Cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.