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Conceptualisers - "Truth before tact."

INTPs are extremely analytical types who are naturally drawn to solving intellectual problems. They tend to be original thinkers who develop real expertise in their chosen field.

INTPS predominantly use intuition in their external world. This leads them to be big picture, conceptual thinkers who are drawn to the abstract and the theoretical. They take great pleasure in discussing ideas with other people – particularly those who share their intellectual approach. 


INTPs’ first preference is for thinking which they use to run their interior thought processes. Their intuition comes up with new information and then their thinking sets about finding new ways to analyse it. Unlike some of the other thinking types, INTPs do not use their thinking to try to control other people or run their outer life.


INTPs are able to hold many complex thoughts in their head but they often find it difficult to do justice to the complexity of this in speech. When this happens they can feel frustrated. They may then turn to writing as it offers them a better way to convey the sophistication of their thoughts. 


INTPs are very sceptical and take nothing at face value. Indeed they tend to have a very scientific attitude to life, seeing nothing as the truth but simply as the best starting point for analysis. They are often attracted to philosophy, science or social sciences and to academic life in general. 


INTPs’ intellectual and sceptical approach often leads them to be the most questioning of all the types. They often feel driven to clarify and detest sloppy thinking or inconsistencies. In discussion this leads them to readily point out the flaws or illogicalities in others’ thinking. They will often contradict other people or try to engage them in debate on precise definition of terms and concepts. 


Truth and honesty are vitally important to INTPs and they need to feel they are acting in congruence with their principles. It is also difficult for INTPs to respect anyone who they do not perceive as operating with intellectual or personal integrity. INTPs do not have a great need to discuss their principles with others. They discuss ideas readily yet much of their thinking is never conveyed to other people.


INTPs value their independence greatly and expect others to reciprocate. This means that relationships can sometimes be a difficult area for them to achieve the balance between autonomy and sharing which they often desire. 


Despite their natural reticence in relationships INTPs often make great networkers. They will get to know and maintain relationships with people who they think are interesting or who may have access to information which may be useful to them or their colleagues. 


INTPs sometimes find it difficult to finish things unless they have a deadline. They like variety and need room for manoeuvre. Like all NPs, INTPs struggle with organisation and don’t often pay enough attention to practical details. They can find it easy to mislay things and generally find it hard to keep order and control in their outer lives. This is in contrast to the structure of the inner world. 


INTPs, like their fellow type ISTPs, may be prone to outbursts of anger. Outwardly they may appear laid back people but in their head their thinking is leading them to make continual evaluations and judgments. However, as introverts, INTPs don’t tend to tell other people these thoughts until they have stepped over an invisible line. The INTPs’ annoyance then boils over and they get angry. To other people this seems to happen out of the blue and it can be a source of friction in their relationships both at work and at home.


Relationships with others, particularly paying attention to people’s feelings can be hard for INTPs. Others can resent what they see as INTPs’ desire to split hairs or indulge in intellectual competition. But INTPs often believe their verbal challenges are a sincere and genuine attempt to help the person improve their thinking.


Female INTPs often learn to curb these impulses to challenge others’ views, as they are more aware of how it can be damaging to others but male INTPs can find this a harder lesson to learn. Female INTPS often learn earlier that relationships are important and need to be nurtured.


Ultimately it is important for INTPs to manage their anger better. They can do this by learning to be more assertive and expressing their growing displeasure at an earlier stage.  It is also helpful for them to begin to pay more attention to the importance of feelings – their own and others. Time management skills can also prove useful. 


INTP overview


Words to describe INTPs

reserved      original         theoretical

abstract        logical         adaptable

speculative   spontaneous conceptual 

challenging   resourceful discursive

precise      independent sceptical


Careers attractive to INTPs

Architecture, computers, science, philosophy, social sciences, teaching, art, writing, management. 


Needs at work

  • Room for manoeuvre and little overt direction.
  • Space to work on their own some times without interruption. 
  • The opportunity to develop and use their intelligence and expertise. 
  • Encouragement to see the importance of harmony and relationships at work.

Anticipated work/team strengths

  • Solving conceptual problems or coming up with new ways to look at things. 
  • Designing solutions to complex problems. 
  • Seeing the need to innovate.
  • General expertise in their area. 
  • Finding the flaws in other people’s thinking through questioning and discussion. 

Potential problem areas

  • May be too abstract in their approach and uninterested in the practical application of their work. 
  • May alienate colleagues with their tendency to split hairs and look for flaws in others’ thinking.
  • May find it difficult to communicate with other less intellectual types and generally seem aloof.
  • May be unassertive about dealing with annoyances in a timely manner and so may then lose their temper.
  • May appear unappreciative of other people’s efforts. 

Likely areas for improvement

  • Learning to praise and thank others for their efforts and generally becoming more sociable.
  • Paying more attention to the practical application of their ideas. 
  • Learning when it is more helpful to refrain from intellectual debate for the sake of harmony. 
  • Spending quality time considering their own feelings and what is important to them in relationships. 

 Common relationship Issues for INTPs

INTPs show caring by listening to others and challenging their thoughts processes to ensure logic and rationality.


INTPs like others to take their ideas seriously and  to be prepared to debate them at length. 

INTP Type Dynamics

Dominant – thinking – introverted

Auxiliary -    intuition- extraverted

Tertiary   -   sensing

Inferior   -    feeling    


This profile information is copyright and for review only. If you would like to buy a version of this for workshop/coaching use please see details about Enspired Profiles. 


© Carol Craig

MBTI, Myers-Briggs, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Trust in the United States and other countries; OPP Ltd. has exclusive rights to these trademarks in the UK. 


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