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This article is about the Myers-Briggs personality type. For the Socionics INTp, see Intuitive Logical Introvert.

INTP (Introversion, iNtuition, Thinking, Perception) is an abbreviation used in Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) publications to refer to one of the sixteen personality types.[1][2] The MBTI assessment was developed from the work of prominent psychiatrist Carl G. Jung in his book Psychological Types, which proposed a psychological typology based on his theories of cognitive functions. These theories were based on clinical observation, however, rather than the controlled studies required for acceptance by the modern field of cognitive psychology.[3]

From Jung's work, others developed psychological typologies. Well-known personality tests are the MBTI assessment, developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs, and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, developed by David Keirsey. Keirsey referred to INTPs as Architects, one of the four types belonging to the temperament he called the Rationals.[4] One of the rarest personality types, INTPs are estimated to account for about 1–5% of the population.[5][6]


[edit] The MBTI instrument

The MBTI preferences indicate the differences in people based on the following:[7]

By using their preference in each of these areas, people develop what Jung and Myers called psychological type. This underlying personality pattern results from the dynamic interaction of their four preferences, in conjunction with environmental influences and their own individual tendencies. People are likely to develop behaviors, skills, and attitudes based on their particular type. Each personality type has its own potential strengths as well as areas that offer opportunities for growth.

The MBTI tool consists of multiple choice questions that sort respondents on the basis of the four "dichotomies" (pairs of psychological opposites). Sixteen different outcomes are possible, each identified by its own four-letter code, referred to by initial letters. (N is used for iNtuition, to differentiate it from Introversion). The MBTI is approximately 75% accurate according to its own manual.[8]

  • I – Introversion preferred to Extraversion: INTPs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).[9]
  • N – iNtuition preferred to Sensing: INTPs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.[10]
  • T – Thinking preferred to Feeling: INTPs tend to rely on external, objective criteria rather than a personal sense of right and wrong. When making decisions, they generally give more weight to logic than to social considerations.[11]
  • P – Perception preferred to Judgment: INTPs tend to withhold judgment and delay important decisions, preferring to "keep their options open" should circumstances change.[12]

[edit] Myers-Briggs description

INTP types are quiet, thoughtful, analytical individuals who don't mind spending long periods of time on their own, working through problems and forming solutions. They are very curious about systems and how things work, and are frequently found in careers such as science, architecture and law. INTPs tend to be less at ease in social situations and the "caring professions," although they enjoy the company of those who share their interests. They also tend to be impatient with the bureaucracy, rigid hierarchies, and politics prevalent in many professions, preferring to work informally with others as equals.[13]

INTPs organize their understanding of any topic by articulating principles, and they are especially drawn to theoretical constructs. Having articulated these principles for themselves, they can demonstrate remarkable skill in explaining complex ideas to others in simple terms, especially in writing. On the other hand, their ability to grasp complexity may also lead them to provide overly detailed explanations of "simple" ideas, and listeners may judge that the INTP makes things more difficult than they are. This to the INTP, however, is incomprehensible: They are merely presenting all of the information.[13]

INTPs' extraverted intuition often gives them a quick wit, especially with language, and they can defuse the tension in gatherings by comical observations and references. They can be charming, even in their quiet reserve, and are sometimes surprised by the high esteem in which their friends and colleagues hold them.[13]

When INTPs feel insulted, however, they may respond with sudden and crushing criticism. After such an incident, INTPs are likely to be as bewildered as the recipient. They have broken the rules of debate and exposed their raw emotions. This to INTPs is the crux of the problem: emotions must be dealt with logically—because improperly handled emotions, INTPs believe, can only harm.[14]

[edit] Cognitive functions

Drawing upon Jungian theory, Isabel Myers proposed that for each personality type, the cognitive functions—sensing, intuition, thinking, and feeling—form a hierarchy. This hierarchy represents the person's "default" pattern of behavior.

The Dominant function is the personality type's preferred role, the one they feel most comfortable with. The secondary Auxiliary function serves to support and expand on the Dominant function. If the Dominant is an information gathering function (sensing or intuition), the Auxiliary is a decision making function (thinking or feeling), and vice versa. The Tertiary function is less developed than the Dominant and Auxiliary, but it matures over time, rounding out the person's abilities. The Inferior function is the personality type's Achilles' heel. This is the function they are least comfortable with. Like the Tertiary, the Inferior function strengthens with maturity.[13]

[edit] Dominant: Introverted Thinking (Ti)

In the INTP, as with all introverts, the Dominant function is introverted. As introverted Thinkers, INTPs spend the majority of their time and energy putting order to the interior, logical world of principles and generalizations in an effort to understand. Introverted Thinking is calm, articulate, and aware of the forces that bind reality together.

[edit] Auxiliary: Extraverted iNtuition (Ne)

The Auxiliary function is extraverted iNtuition, which gives INTPs a grasp of the patterns of the world around them. They use their iNtuition to put empirical data together into coherent pictures, from which universal principles may be derived. INTPs frequently puzzle over a problem for hours on end, until the answer suddenly crystallizes in a flash of insight.

[edit] Tertiary: Sensing

The Tertiary function is Sensing, which gives INTPs the potential for keen observation. They use this function to gather empirical data, use physical tools, perceive physical relationships, and support their internal logic with a rich sense of space. (Note that experts disagree on whether the tertiary function is extraverted or introverted.)

[edit] Inferior: Extraverted Feeling (Fe)

The Inferior function is extraverted Feeling, which drives the INTP to desire harmony in community. At their most relaxed, INTPs can be charming and outgoing among friends, or when they have a clearly defined role in the group. When under stress, however, INTPs can feel disconnected from the people around them, unable to use their extraverted Feeling to reach out to others. As their inferior function, Feeling can be a weak point; when threatened they will hide behind a wall of stoic logic. This can lead them to bottle up their emotions to preserve reason and harmony; but a failure to deal with these concealed emotions can lead to childish outbursts.

[edit] Type dynamics of the INTP

Type Dynamics refers to the interrelationship among the four cognitive functions in a psychological type. Far from being a simple combination of initials, the full type creates a rich interwoven system of perceiving and judging that explains much of the similarity and difference among the types.

As a practical example, consider the two types known as the introverted thinkers (ISTP and INTP). They share dominant introverted thinking, which gives them a solid interior grasp of the underlying principles of life. The ISTPs, with their preference of extraverted sensing, love understanding physical, mechanical systems. The INTPs, for their part, love understanding theoretical systems through their extraverted intuition. ISTPs are often very capable in using whatever materials are at hand in their building projects, using available tools to their full capabilities to serve their goals, through their extraverted sensing. INTPs, at the same time, are often good at using physical tools, but here they also use their intuition to solve problems.

An INTP, like their Sensing cousins, love using the right tool for the right job, but they are particularly comfortable with "virtual" tools, reflecting their love of technology.

The INTP causes no end of frustration to ESTJs and ISTJs with improvisation, as despite their best effort these types cannot make the same intuitive leaps which come naturally to the INTP. On the other hand, they are quick to smugly point out when the INTP must stop in the middle of a project to puzzle over the previously discarded instructions, which the STJs read at the start.[13]

Adding to the STJs' frustration, INTPs are particularly impervious to the rules-oriented world of introverted sensing. INTPs will follow rules if they feel there is a sound underlying reason, but they resist "rules for rules' sake," because they feel there must always be a "reason" for structure. Since they have extraverted Sensing, INTPs move smoothly through the physical world, but have very poor memory for facts, the province of introverted Sensing.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Type
  2. ^ Preference
  3. ^ Skeptic's dictionary>
  4. ^ Temperament
  5. ^ "Portrait of the Architect". Retrieved on 2008-10-13. 
  6. ^ "CAPT". Retrieved on 2008-10-13. 
  7. ^ Myers, Isabel Briggs (1998). Introduction to Type: A Guide to Understanding your Results on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.. 
  8. ^ Myers, Isabel Briggs; Mary H. McCaulley (1985) (in English). Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (2nd edition ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologist Press. pp. 52. ISBN 0-89106-027-8. 
  9. ^ "Changing Minds: Extraversion vs. Introversion". Retrieved on 2009-01-10. 
  10. ^ "Changing Minds: Sensing vs. Intuiting". Retrieved on 2009-01-10. 
  11. ^ "Changing Minds: Thinking vs. Feeling". Retrieved on 2009-01-10. 
  12. ^ "Changing Minds: Judging vs. Perceiving". Retrieved on 2009-01-10. 
  13. ^ a b c d e Barron-Tieger, Barbara; Tieger, Paul D. (1995). Do What You Are. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-84522-1. 
  14. ^ An INTP Profile

[edit] External links

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