INTPs are independent, reserved, and live in a world of ideas. They can work well on a team but prefer to work alone in sporadic bursts of energy.

Although private, INTPs can at times seem totally outspoken because of their directness of communication and economy of words. Other people may assume that INTPs say very little, but this is only when there is nothing to say. They prefer to speak only about areas that interest them, things they consider important.

INTPs direct their energy toward acquisition of knowledge and competencies. They are devoted to accuracy and seek it, often splitting hairs if need be. They abhor a lack of willpower.

INTPs may overlook the human element in their quest for objective truth and understanding. They can be bitingly critical and sarcastic and may be seen as cold and distant. Also, they tend not to like the small talk necessary for social situations.

INTPs are skilled at analysis, seeing differences and developing categories. As strategists, they map out all feasible events well in advance. They adapt and improvise as a means to an end. They solve complex problems, enigmas, and riddles.

Do you want to learn more about your type? Register for our online course: INTP Bootcamp: Get Paid to Do All the Research You’d Do Anyway. Personality type expert, Penelope Trunk, will show you how to leverage your unique INTP strengths to accomplish more in your life.


  • Reserved and impersonal
  • Live in a world of ideas
  • Skilled with hair-splitting logic
  • Has strongly defined interests
  • Enjoys theoretical and/or scientific subjects

Areas of Growth

  • Improve follow-through
  • Nurture relationships
  • Remember to communicate
  • Be sensitive to others’ needs
  • Take care of details


Expect INTPs to be skeptical of anything and everything—and yet always willing to explore and improve on whatever already exists. While they are open to new ideas, they are skeptical of their validity until logically proven otherwise.


  • Freedom to work on a project for as long as desired
  • Working on concrete projects with tangible results
  • Receiving genuine appreciation
  • Being respected for special expertise
  • Autonomy and independence


  • Strict rules and regulations
  • Being supervised by incompetent people
  • Being responsible for or supervising incompetent people
  • Not enough time alone
  • Being confronted with strong emotions

To function at their best

INTPs will not fit snugly into a typical structure. They value independence of thought and action. They need space—to think, to be free from other people—for working in short bursts of energy.

INTPs do not like too much detail, preferring a broad approach. The simple and obvious bores them, and anything they see as trivial or unimportant will be ignored. If it holds their interest, the high critical thinking ability of INTPs and their shrewd judgments means they can analyze and distill even the most complex problems to cut to the core of what needs to be done.


INTPs are very independent, deep, and private, yet can seem outspoken due to their directness of communication and economy of words, speaking only when there is something to say. INTPs find emotions difficult, as they are logical, analytical, and objective, with no time for anything they see as “fanciful.” They find it difficult to share their feelings, although INTPs will be blunt and outspoken regarding their thoughts.

In times of low energy or moments of single-minded concentration, INTPs are aloof and detached in a way that might offend more relational or extroverted individuals. This makes INTPs very difficult to know, as they tend to be very skeptical and wary about close emotional involvement.

INTPs may not pick up on verbal and nonverbal cues. They may tread on toes or fail to notice another person’s feelings and can therefore be seen as slightly cold or harsh. Strong emotional impulses, which they do not understand, can cause problems for INTPs.

INTPs are relatively easygoing, quiet, and amenable to most anything until something violates their principles. Then, they become outspoken, inflexible, and, at times, downright unreasonable, switching from reserved to enjoying heated debate and drama. INTPs can move from compliance to obstinance very quickly, often shocking those who hadn’t realized they had offended the INTP’s principles. Once the infraction is settled, INTPs will look to move back to a less confrontational and invisible position, as they become embarrassed after too much time in the spotlight.

INTP at work

In a work setting, INTPs will use their love of knowledge to bring a clear explanation of how and why things happen using empirical data, evidence, hypotheses, and rational thinking. INTPs may not be the most vocal, but when discussions enter the arena that holds their interest, they will become quite outspoken and very clear-thinking.

INTPs will be the ones who point out the downside, the ones who protect the team from self-deception, and the ones who can see the follies of ideas quickly and can focus the group on a new direction. INTPs are great critics and will be blunt in assessment.

Typical pessimists, INTPs are concerned about failure, so they are excellent at seeing the potential pitfalls in any plan. INTPs are superb at analyzing problems and evaluating ideas and suggestions. The team will be better placed to make balanced decisions given the serious, unemotional, and prudent nature of INTPs.

Do you want to learn more about your type? Register for our online course: INTP Bootcamp: Get Paid to Do All the Research You’d Do Anyway. Personality type expert, Penelope Trunk, will show you how to leverage your unique INTP strengths to accomplish more in your life.

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