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INTP Personality Type – The “Engineer”

Introverted (I), Intuitive (N), Thinking (T) and Perceiving (P)

The INTP personality type is nicknamed the "Engineer" and belongs to the NT Intellectual temperament. INTPs are easygoing yet private. They are logical and enjoy analyzing complex problems. They thrive on the theoretical and like to figure out how things work. They do not like rigid rules and often do not abide by them. They are independent intellectuals.

INTPs direct their energy inward. They are energized by spending time alone. They are private and typically not socially inclined. Engineers are Intuitive. They are focused on the future and see endless possibilities. They are inventive, imaginative and complex. Their thought process is theoretical and abstract. INTPs are Thinkers that make decisions with their head. They are impersonal, objective and logical. INTPs are carefree and spontaneous. They dislikes routine and rules. Engineers like to keep their options open. Their style is relaxed and flexible.

Engineers are acutely autonomous. They do not like feeling controlled. Traditional roles often seem debilitating since their focus is always on their intellectual pursuits. They respect people who are genuine. They are willing to sacrifice and are supportive in relationships they care about as long as their independence is respected. Relationships are on their radar but are not always of first importance.

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value." — Albert Einstein

Engineers love to learn. Although they enjoy networking and sharing ideas and knowledge they prefer solitude. They become bored unless the learning experience demands intellectual competence and mastery. They strive for flawlessness and conceptual perfection.

Describing an INTP

INTPs can often be described with these words. They commonly posess the following strengths and weaknesses.

Characteristic of an INTP

  • Logical
  • Intellectual
  • Easygoing
  • Individualistic
  • Theoretical
  • Flexible
  • Inventive
  • Curious
  • Impersonal
  • Objective
  • Analytical
  • Complex
  • Spontaneous
  • Private
  • Independent
  • Future Focused
  • Rule breaking
  • Carefree
  • Creative
  • Perfectionist
  • Unemotional
  • Abstract

Typical Strengths

  • Laid back and easygoing
  • Handles criticism well
  • Not demanding
  • Enthusiastic about their interests
  • Imaginative and creative

Possible Weaknesses

  • Not good at managing money
  • Can be explosive
  • Not good at communicating feelings
  • Distrusting of others
INTPs by Gender Pie Chart
  • INTPs make up 2.5% of all 16 personality types. INTPs are one of the most rare personality types. Introversion, iNtuition and Perceiving are less common as dominant preferences than their opposites.
  • 1 in every 25 males is an INTP (4% of all males). 1 in every 100 females is an INTP (1% of all females). Female INTPs are the third least common type-gender combination.
  • There are significantly more male INTPs than there are female INTPs, with males outnumbering females 4 to 1. One reason there are more male INTPs is that males tend to be Thinkers (T) while females are more often Feelers (F).

INTP Preferences

The INTP's Preferences are Introversion, Intuition, Thinking and Perceiving. These determine the INTP's Personality Type.

Introverted (I)

Introversion is characterized by a preference to focus on the inside world. As introverts, INTPs are energized by spending time alone or with a small, familiar group. They find large group gatherings draining because they seek depth instead of breadth of relationships. Like other introverts, INTPs process information internally. They are often great listeners.

Thinking (T)

Thinking prioritizes objectivity. As Thinkers, INTPs make decisions based on facts. They are ruled by their head instead of their heart (but are not without emotion). INTPs judge situations and others based on logic. They value truth over tact and can easily identify flaws. They are critical thinkers and oriented toward problem solving.

Intuitive (N)

People with Intuition live in the future. They are immersed in the world of possibilities. They process information through patterns and impressions. As Intuitives, INTPs value inspiration and imagination. They gather knowledge by reading between the lines. Their abstract nature attracts them toward deep ideas, concepts and metaphors.

Perceiving (P)

Perceiving refers to a person's adaptability and flexibility. Engineers are random thinkers who prefer to keep their options open. They thrive with the unexpected and are open to change. They are spontaneous and often juggle several projects at once. They enjoy starting a task better than finishing it. Engineers play as they work.

INTP Cognitive Functions

Every person engages the world through four Cognitive Functions. The INTP's primary function is Introverted Thinking and secondary is Extraverted Intuition.

Introverted Thinking (Primary)

INTPs use this function most often. While Thinking (T), Engineers make decisions based on logic and reason. The Introverted Thinking function enables them to categorize and analyze information that they receive. It is the ability to identify inconsistencies and know how things work as well the ability to solve problems.

Extraverted Intuition (Secondary)

INTPs use of this function is somewhat high. With Intuition (N), INTPs process new information through impressions, possibilities and meanings. Extraverted Intuition allows them to see different paths or ways. When an INTP receives information, they are able to see that there is more than one way to look at things.

Introverted Sensing (Tertiary)

INTPs use this function but to a lesser degree. Through Sensing (S), INTPs process data with their five senses. The Introverted Sensing function allows them to remember data in detail and to compare it with current information. It is the ability to link present experiences to past experiences in search for a connection.

Extraverted Feeling (Least)

INTPs use this function least of the four. When Feeling (F), INTPs make decisions based on feelings. The Extraverted Feeling function allows INTPs to tune their behavior to the needs of others. Is it the ability to relate and the desire to connect with others with warmth and consideration as well as draw others out and responds to expressed or unexpressed needs.

INTPs and Work

INTPs are complex in their thinking and can produce a great number of ideas. They work well alone and are not always able or willing to communicate their complex thoughts to others. In the workplace they value honesty and integrity. They are impatient with redundancy and sloppy thinking. Intellectual honesty is highly prized by Engineers. If their job is not challenging intellectually, they can become disinterested and perform poorly.

INTP Career Matches

People with the INTP personality type may find satisfaction with the following careers which tend to match well with their Engineer personality.

  • Professor
  • Scientist
  • Archaeologist
  • Architect
  • Mathematician
  • Artist
  • Technical Writer
  • Philosopher
  • Strategic Planner
  • Systems Analyst
  • Computer Animator
  • Computer Programmer
  • Computer Specialist
  • Economist
  • Engineer
  • Inventor
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist
  • Investigator
  • Teacher
  • Logician
  • Marketer
  • Translator/Interpreter
  • Musician
  • Network Specialist
  • Judge
  • Lawyer/Attorney
  • Legal Mediator
  • Project Manager
  • Financial Planner
  • Banker
  • Researcher
  • Consultant
  • Photographer

Famous INTPs

Here is a sampling of Famous People and Fictional Characters that may share the INTP personality type.

  • Abraham Lincoln
    American President
  • James Madison
    American President
  • John Quincy Adams
    American President
  • John Tyler
    American President
  • Gerald Ford
    American President
  • William Harvey
    Medical Doctor
  • Charles Darwin
    English Naturalist
  • Rene Descartes
    French Philosopher
  • Albert Einstein
  • Blaise Pascal
    French Mathematician
  • Socrates
    Greek Philosopher
  • Carl Jung
  • William James
  • Rick Moranis
    Actor (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids)
  • Meryl Streep
  • Bob Newhart
    Comedian, Actor
  • Jeff Bingaman
    U.S. Senator
  • Brent Spiner
    Actor ("Data" on Star Trek)
  • Mary-Kate Olsen
    Actress (Full House)
  • Ashley Olsen
    Actress (Full House)
  • Dr. Susan Lewis
  • Avon
    Blake's 7
  • Seven of Nine
    Star Trek: Voyager
  • Peter Parker
    Spiderman (Film)
  • Snoopy
  • Linus
    Peanuts (Charlie Brown)
  • Ash
  • Brian Griffin
    Family Guy
  • The Doctor
    Doctor Who
  • Data
    Start Trek: The Next Generation
  • Filburt
    Rocko's Modern Life


INTPs are highly intellectual people that are driven toward self-mastery and competency. INTPs are their own harshest critics. Their greatest contribution is the design of sophisticated models and theories that improve the lives of others.