With a combination of dominant Ti and Ne, the INTP is usually a conceptual thinker with clearly delineated views and ideologies. Unless life forces them to earn a living doing physical labor, the INTP prefers to apply their analytical thinking skills to non-material aspects of things: planning organizational structures, developing ideas, analyzing data, and reaching conclusions. No matter what they do or where they work, the INTP will have a distinct focus on clarifying thought and ways of looking at things.
1. Ti: Introverted Logic
The INTP naturally assesses statements, opinions, and actions in terms of conformance to certain principles. These principles may in practice be rules of thumb based on experience, but INTPs will usually appeal to more general, self-evident reasons, if the need arises. The INTP is most engaged in communication when they are critically analyzing people's decisions and actions as well as how they generally are or are not consistent with certain pre-established goals. their dual, the ESE, likes hearing the INTP's judgment, and simultaneously softens its edge by shifting their focus to how they are communicating their ideas, letting them see the intellectual thought process from the outside. The ESE appreciates and praises their ability to take the information seriously, but the ESE will find funny ways of reminding the INTP of how they are coming across when they seem more serious than they realize.
"Just because" is not in an INTP's vocabulary. If there is a reason for something, the INTP will probably want to find it. The INTP strives to reduce things to their most essential aspects, and mentally recreate the whole from the bottom up. The INTP's theoretical tendencies can often leave him out of touch with reality, and if unchecked may lead to abstract theories that make logical sense but have little bearing on the real world.
The INTP may explore many avenues of thought, but in the end only tell others his refined conclusions, because he sees the intermediate steps as irrelevant. He is often too concise for his own good, making it difficult for others to understand his ideas.
2. Ne: Extraverted Intuition
The INTP often applies in an academic field such as mathematics, one which allows for abstract speculation to be realized in concrete conclusions. The INTP does not much care for implementation or hands-on work, requiring some degree of independence from material demands in order to develop his own ideas. If the INTP feels made to do a task he perceives as boring, he will try to find an original way to do it, if simply for the sake of developing an interesting idea. The INTP can think on his feet, and is able to consider multiple viewpoints, although if he feels that he has fully analyzed an idea in the past, he may dismiss it out of hand with .
The INTP is always in tune with the "big picture", looking at things from the most general perspective possible. Given this frame of reference, he sees many ways ordinary life could be changed to meet his vision of how things should be. Thus the INTP is often seen by other more practically-minded types as naively idealistic.
The INTP does not come up with ideas simply for their own sake, but tries to relate everything back to "the main point". He quickly becomes impatient or disinterested with discussion that is simply meant to generate ideas, instead of realizing them.
3. Fi: Introverted Ethics
The INTP is acutely aware of social conventions, such as saying "please" and "thank you", and expends much effort to conform to these rules to maintain the status of a "polite" person. But he tends to overdo the conventions themselves, as opposed to the relationships they are supposed to establish, and so ends up stepping on other people's toes (violating some less easily definable convention which he would never really want to conform to anyways). He prefers an easy-going environment where such conventions don't exist in the first place. When in a heated argument, an INTP can alienate others by his natural tendency to hold and defend strong opinions ().
If asked to express a unique, personal sentiment, such as a favorite color or football team, the INTP may find difficulty choosing if there is no "obvious" answer. He often feels like he has no real personal, subjective feelings at all, and usually has to make a conscious decision where other types could easily supply an instinctive reaction.
The INTP also is very sensitive about how other people see him, feeling depressed if he has affections that are not returned. For this reason, he tends to avoid expressing signals that show interest in certain people (as opposed to signals about his general mood and demeanor, which he feels to be much more natural), but of course it just aggravates his loneliness, instead of relieving it.
4. Se: Extraverted Sensing
The INTP hates being ordered what to do, and chafes especially under orders that don't make sense to him. In such cases the INTP is likely to criticize the authority — but if he does he is not subtle about it, and usually ends up being marked as a "rebel" and feeling even more frustrated than he did to begin with. An INTP works best alone, so that he doesn't have to subordinate (to) others — or constantly negotiate his priorities, which strains his patience and diverts his time and attention away from reworking his understanding; if he is forced to waste time defending what he already knows, he gives up the freedom to deepen his understanding further. He does not tolerate pushiness combined with close-mindedness.
The INTP does not like being simply told "get real" or "get off your duff", which he views as crude, intrusive, and insulting. He prefers to be left alone - or better, included in an atmosphere of open discussion that is receptive to his thoughts and thereby inspire him to develop them more.
If the INTP has a problem that cannot be solved intellectually, but requires direct personal confrontation, he may resort to total avoidance rather than approaching the person directly, which he tends to think will produce only frustration and contempt. The INTP thinks that, in an ideal world, everyone would just listen to reason instead of insisting on having their own way.
5. Fe: Extraverted Ethics
Being a naturally private person, the INTP finds it difficult to believe that others would be interested in what he is thinking or feeling at any given moment. He feels like something is not quite right if his interaction with the people around him is too aloof. However he only rarely makes an effort to venture into more open spheres, because he usually avoids making small talk, preferring to talk about his real interests and say only what he truly believes.
To this end, the INTP, above all things, appreciates others' attempts to get him to "open up" emotionally and express his true thoughts and views of the world - not just as an abstract ideal living in his head, but as something that other people actually care about enough to participate in and bring to fulfillment. His focus on important abstract matters also leads him to detach from the world, if it is not complemented with a healthy dose of silliness. The INTP is usually oblivious to his emotional-psychological state and feels little responsibility for improving it, not to mention the state of others. This means that "bad emotions" can build up in him until some environmental factor comes along to alleviate them. Visible demonstrations of emotional warmth play a major part in this: something as simple as a big smile and a hug is enough to brighten an INTP's day. The INTP can be attracted to insincere displays of affection, even if he consciously realizes that they are only in jest.
The INTP is often at a loss for what to do in social situations, and appreciates others who make him feel included in a new group and in the emotional side of a situation. The INTP tends to take life very seriously, and appreciates others who can show him the lighter side of things.
6. Si: Introverted Sensing
The INTP has poor control over his physical well-being, neglecting matters of simple hygiene relatively easily. He dislikes having to take care of mundane details of work, but simultaneously derives pleasure from aesthetic neatness and organization.
The INTP is easily annoyed by sensory over-stimulation, including loud noises, bright light, and temperature. On the other hand, he easily becomes "addicted" to more pleasurable things, such as music, which have a corresponding effect on his mood (). When left to his own devices, the INTP tends to oscillate unhealthily between total indulgence of the senses and total neglect (the latter especially when working on something he feels to be extremely important). He tends to feel guilty for indulging in hedonism for the sake of hedonism.
On the surface the INTP can seem easygoing, but in work projects or at home his critical nature will become more obvious.
7. Te: Extraverted Logic
The INTP is an efficient worker, and seeks out new tools, resources, or methods as long as they are directly relevant to his work or interests. He is not likely to keep especially careful track of his finances, avoiding this by keeping his needs simple and constant.
The INTP can easily understand whether something is impractical or not, but prefers to explain why using structural principles. He dislikes rote memorization of dates and the like, but paradoxically will often have a mental store of many arcane pieces of information (such as the first 100 digits of pi) he finds interesting or equally absurd technical skills (like mastering a video game). Such skills and information will either be a part of his leisure activities, or relate directly to his main interests, which he chooses not based on their immediate practical consequence, but on how interesting they are.
The INTP only exchanges such information in conversation for entertainment, and criticizes overly bland or rambling analyses, especially if he feels they have no point.
8. Ni: Introverted Intuition
The INTP is a naturally cautious person, and never acts without considering the consequences in detail. This tendency sometimes prevents him from acting decisively—or at all. However, he tries not to be overly pessimistic about the consequences of others' actions, and only offers direct advice in this area if it is specifically requested. If something bad happens he is usually willing to forgive and move on without placing blame, re-establishing the course as subtly and smoothly as possible. While he tends to have very specific ideas about his general life principles and goals, he is basically indifferent as to their specific timeframe and implementation.
The INTP has an active imagination, but it tends to fade in and out and its products are rarely verbalized. He hardly ever says purposely cryptic or idiosyncratic things, and criticizes others for employing overly obscure concepts.
Common social roles
- The lone repository of truth — the last stalwart in a crazy world of illogic and delusion.
- The self-sacrificing workaholic who works hard, not in order to earn money, but because he doesn't want to give anything less than 100%.
- Mr. or Ms. Literal, who says exactly what (s)he means, and trusts that you will too.
- The book worm who spends every moment of every day reading.
- The smart aleck who never lets authorities tell him what to think and always finds a way to get the last word.
- The specialist who devotes every waking moment to excelling in an extremely narrow but highly competitive technical field.