INTP: Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking, Perceiving

At your best

People with INTP preferences are independent problem solvers who excel at providing a detached, concise analysis of an idea or situation.

They ask the difficult questions, challenging others and themselves to find new logical approaches.  

How others may see you

INTPs are usually quiet and reserved though they can be talkative in areas in which they are especially knowledgeable. Unless their work requires action, they are more interested in the challenge of finding solutions than in putting solutions to practical use. They prefer not to organise people or situations.

INTPs are tolerant of a wide range of behaviour, arguing and raising issues only when they believe it is reasonable to do so. This flexibility disappears, however, when their ruling principles are challenged; then they stop adapting.

INTPs prize precision in communication and dislike redundancy or stating the obvious. They want to express the exact truth, but they may make it so complex that others have difficulty understanding. Others usually see INTPs as:

  • Quiet, contained, calm, and detached observers
  • Independent, valuing autonomy

Characteristics of INTPs

INTPs use their Thinking primarily internally to find or develop underlying principles and logical structures for understanding and explaining the world. They approach almost everything with scepticism, form their own opinions and standards, and apply these standards rigorously to themselves. They highly value intelligence and competence. INTPs are likely to be:

  • Logical, analytical, and objectively critical
  • Detached and contemplative

INTPs see possibilities and connections beyond the present and obvious. They are curious and seek knowledge for its own sake. They love to theorise and discuss abstractions. INTPs are usually

  • Mentally quick, insightful, and ingenious
  • Intensely curious about ideas and theories

INTPs quickly see inconsistencies and illogicality and enjoy taking apart and reworking ideas. They naturally build complex theoretical systems to explain the realities they see. They find it difficult to work on routine tasks, but bring great energy intensity and focus to researching or analysing a complex problem that arouses their curiosity

Potential areas for growth

Sometimes personal circumstances have not supported INTPs in the development and expression of their Intuitive and Thinking preferences.

  • If they have not developed their Intuition, INTPs may have no reliable way of taking in information and be immersed in their internal logical systems. Then they find it difficult to actualise or even communicate their ideas.
  • If they have not developed their thinking, they may go from insight to insight, never analysing them with a critical eye or integrating them into a whole.

If INTPs do not find a place where they can use their gifts and be appreciated for their contributions, they usually feel frustrated and may:

  • Become cynical and negative critics
  • Be sarcastic and destructively critical
  • Isolate themselves and put off action
  • Engage in verbal sparring and arguments

It is natural for INTPs to give less attention to their non-preferred Feeling and Sensing parts. If they neglect these too much, however, they may:

  • Be insensitive to the needs of others for information and emotional connection
  • Decide something they or others value is not important because it is “not logical”
  • Fail to consider the impact of their ideas or style of expression on others
  • Be impractical, forgetting details such as appropriate dress, unpaid bills, physical needs

Under great stress, INTPs may erupt outwardly in inappropriate displays of emotion. The resulting explosive anger or hurt tearfulness is quite unnerving to others and embarrassing to the usually calm and controlled INTP.

Where you focus your attention: Introversion

People who prefer Introversion tend to focus on their own inner world and experiences. They direct their attention inward and receive energy from their internal thoughts, feelings and reflections.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Introversion:

  • Drawn to their inner worlds
  • Prefer to communicate by writing
  • Learn best by reflection, mental “practice”
  • Depth of interest
  • Tend to reflect before acting or speaking
  • Private and contained
  • Focus readily

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Like quiet for concentration.
  • Tend to be careful with details, dislike sweeping statements.
  • Have trouble remembering names and faces, tend not to mind working on one project for a long time uninterruptedly.
  • Are interested in the idea behind their job.
  • Dislike telephone intrusions and interruptions.
  • Like to think a lot before they act, sometimes without acting.
  • Work contentedly alone.
  • Have some problems communicating.

How you take in information: iNtuition

People who prefer Intuition like to take in information by seeing the big picture, focusing on the relationship and connections between facts.

They want to grasp patterns and are especially good at seeing new possibilities and different ways of doing things.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Intuition:

  • Focus on “big picture” possibilities
  • Value imaginative insight
  • Abstract and theoretical
  • See patterns and meaning in facts
  • Look to the future
  • Jump around, leap in anywhere
  • Trust inspiration

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Like solving new problems.
  • Dislike doing the same thing repeatedly.
  • Enjoy learning a new skill more than using it.
  • Work in bursts of energy powered by enthusiasm, with slack periods in between.
  • Reach a conclusion quickly.
  • Are impatient with routine details.
  • Are patient with complicated situations.
  • Follow their inspirations, good or bad.
  • Frequently make errors of fact.
  • Dislike taking time for precision.

How you make decisions: Thinking

People who prefer to use Thinking in decision making tend to look at the logical consequences of a choice or action. They try to remove themselves mentally from a situation to examine it objectively and analyse cause and effect. Their goal is an objective standard of truth and the application of principles. Their strengths include figuring out what is wrong with something so they can apply their problem-solving abilities.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Thinking:

  • Analytical
  • Logical problem-solving
  • Use cause-and effect-reasoning
  • “Tough-minded”
  • Strive for impersonal, objective truth
  • Reasonable
  • Fair

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Do not show emotion readily and are often uncomfortable dealing with people’s feelings.
  • May hurt people’s feelings without knowing it.
  • Like analysis and putting things into logical order
  • Can get along without harmony.
  • Tend to decide impersonally, sometimes paying insufficient attention to people’s wishes.
  • Need to be treated fairly.
  • Are able to reprimand people or fire them when necessary.
  • Are more analytically-oriented, respond more easily to people’s thoughts.
  • Tend to be firm minded.

How you orient toward the outer world: Perceiving

People who prefer to use their Perceiving process in the outer world tend to live in a flexible, spontaneous way seeking to experience and understand life, rather than control it. Plans and decisions feel confining to them; they prefer to stay open to experience and last-minute options. They enjoy and trust their resourcefulness and ability to adapt to the demands of a situation.

Characteristics of most people who prefer Perceiving:

  • Spontaneous
  • Open-ended
  • Casual
  • Flexible
  • Adaptable
  • Like things unconstrained and open to change
  • Feel energised by last-minute pressures

Effects of preferences in work situations

  • Adapt well to changing situations.
  • Do not mind leaving things open for alterations.
  • May have trouble making decisions.
  • May start too many projects and have difficulty in finishing them.
  • May postpone unpleasant jobs.
  • Want to know all about a new job.
  • Tend to be curious and welcome new light on a thing, situation, or person.