Dominant, Introverted Thinking (Ti): Inwardly evaluating ideas analytically and objectively

Auxiliary, Extraverted Intuition (Ne): Outwardly focused on possibilities for enhancing systems 

At Their Best 
People with INTP preferences are independent problem solvers who excel at providing detached, concise analysis of an idea or situation. They ask the difficult questions, challenging others and themselves to find new logical approaches.

INTPs’ best work may emerge when they are allowed to work independently on a problem whose solution requires an approach that runs counter to prevailing wisdom or knowledge. Though they typically work best alone, their incisive critiques and summaries can assist a group in getting to the core of complex problems.

INTPs can be considered Insightful Analyzers. They use Introverted Thinking (Ti) as their core approach to work and living. INTPs usually take a calm, objective, logical, approach. They tend to enjoy investigating and analyzing complex ideas and theories.

Insightful Analyzers thrive in situations where they can spot flaws and figure out solutions to problems. They often want to work independently.  If you are an Insightful Analyzer, you are likely at your best when you are logically evaluating ideas. To gather more information, Insightful Analyzers tend to explore and play with new ideas. This open-ended approach to the world provides input for a more accurate and thorough analysis. Others usually see the INTP using this secondary, flexible approach. They may glimpse the more private, examining side of the INTP by observing their somewhat detached interactions or their sometimes cynical or sarcastic humor.

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 skepticism, 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 connection beyond the present and obvious. They are curious and seek knowledge for its own sake. They love to theorize and discuss abstractions. INTPs are usually:
• Mentally quick, insightful, and ingenious
• Intensely curious about ideas, theories, and what makes things work

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 analyzing a complex problem that arouses their curiosity.

INTPs are typically inquisitive ANALYZERS; reflective, independent, curious; more interested in organizing ideas than situations or people. Having Introverted Thinking as their strongest mental process, they are at their best when following their intellectual curiosity, analyzing complexities to find the underlying logical principles.

They typically value:
• A reserved outer life; an inner life of logical inquiry
• Pursuing interests in depth, with concentration
• Work and play that is intriguing, not routine
• Being free of emotional issues when working
• Working on problems that respond to detached intuitive analysis and theorizing
• Approaching problems by reframing the obvious
• Complex intellectual mysteries
• Being absorbed in abstract, mental work
• Freedom from organizational constraints
• Independence and nonconformance
• Intellectual quickness, ingenuity, invention
• Competence in the world of ideas
• Spontaneous learning by following curiosity and inspirations

How Others May See Them 
INTPs are usually quiet and reserved thought 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 organize people or situations.

INTPs are tolerant of a wide range of behavior, 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, detached observers
• Independent, valuing autonomy

Potential Areas of Growth 
Sometimes life 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 actualize or even communicate their ideas.
• If they have not developed their Thinking, they may go form insight to insight, never analyzing 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
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.

Introduction to Type, Sixth Edition developed by Isabel Briggs Myers

MMTIC®Murphy-Meisgeier Type Indicator for Children developed by Charles Martin, Elizabeth Murphy, and Betsy Styron

Donna Dunning’s terrific blog