Many of you are likely familiar with the Meyers-Briggs profiles and the 16 personality types. There are numerous online tests you can take to find your type, and I have tried several, but what I found annoying was that I could get different results depending on my current mood, stress level, and other factors. So while the results were usually partly accurate, I never felt they were completely on point.
Recently, I took another test and came up with INTP as the result. (Introverted Thinking, Extroverted Intuition, Introverted Sensing, and Extroverted Feeling, in that order of priority)
While the generic description seemed to mostly match my own perception of myself, I didn't fully appreciate it till I read an essay found on this site:
The first thing I found interesting was that the author bothered to register a whole domain name dedicated to INTPs! While Paul James claims that only about 1% of the population are INTPs, I've seen other stats that claim more like 2-5%. Regardless of the actual number, it's a fairly small segment of society and one of the rarer personality types out there.
Now, Mr. James is rather wordy and the site is not formatted for easy reading, but I will pull out a few quotes that I related to the most:
- ..." the INTP will become quickly bored with anything that he has successfully analysed to the point of understanding it. Once understood, it has nothing left to offer, once the satisfaction which comes with achieving the goal of understanding diminishes."
- "If an INTP decides to learn a skill, then it is very important for him that he reaches a sufficient level so that basic errors can be avoided. Errors made by others are to be expected and can be criticised."
- "Refined competency requires too much effort and has little attraction. It would require practice and that usually bores an INTP. Hence, it is common to see INTPs dabbling at many things, achieving competency, just enough to prove to themselves that they could become more proficient if they wished, but rarely actually bothering to refine their skills further."
- "INTP's put great weight on being individuals and essentially different from other people, who they often view as being too alike and too interdependent."
- "To know is everything, to do is a lower order necessity, if it is necessary at all. This breeds the potential for lazy aloofness. The INTP is often satisfied simply by knowing that he could do something if he wished."
- "an INTP will often make controversial, speculative points of argument, often annoying the discussion-partner, and make them in such a way as to leave the impression that he is very serious about what he says. In reality, the INTP is not actually even certain himself whether he really stands by what he is saying,.. The purpose then of his outspoken style of argument is to sharpen his own intuitive understanding by testing the reaction of the listener, and indeed to examine the logic of his own arguments in real time while speaking them out."
- "He must become the composer, the solo performer, the genius scientist who makes the unique discovery. If he is to be noticed at all, then he must be centre stage. If he can't be centre stage in an area of interest, then he must withdraw and resort to vitriolic criticism."
- "He can readily dream up jokes about almost any situation. Taking things out of context is the chief source of humour and many an INTP is a Monty Pythonite.... Needless to say, the humour of an INTP can be pretty zany and warped and may not be understood easily by others."
- "INTPs preference for intuitive perception (rather than action) with respect to people results in them resembling a chameleon. The INTP can fit into many different modes of behaviour, even contradictory ones, in order to get into the mindset of the other person. The goal is to gain enough intuitive data to analyse and assess the person."
- "where friendship develops rapidly, almost instantly, is when an INTP meets another INTP or similar temperament. Communication between such people can become extremely intense, leaving outsiders baffled."
- "Many of the most dedicated Computer Freaks are INTPs. Ultimately, INTPs tend to trust machines more than they trust people and may feel particularly at home in the realm of cybernetics."
- "If an INTP speaks, he must be listened to, for he believes his spoken opinions to be important. If not, he withdraws (at least in spirit) and assumes that the people who do not listen lack intelligence. Hence, INTPs make very poor leaders, for they depend too much on the attitudes of others."
- "Objects which lie unmoved for more than about 48 hours usually become invisible to the INTP, until such time as he has a use for them again."
- "INTPs tend to hoard items which help solidify the connection to the past. They find it very difficult to let go of anything they have collected (or indeed created) and which may have a nostalgic meaning."
- "INTPs often love keeping lists and databases in areas of interest, especially when the lists are associated with things of the past. Collecting periodical magazines or other media of interest is also a very common INTP trait."
- "The curious problem with any collection of an INTP is that he typically fails to enjoy it in the here and now. Items are stored away so that they can evoke this time at some point in the future, but such a point often never occurs. It may never occur because INTPs are always so mentally active that they continually delve into new interests, and continue to hoard items relating to these, so that they rarely allow themselves enough time to reflect on the ever expanding library of their past."
- "Photography is a classic interest of the INTP, which depends strongly on the Si - Ne combination, as well as on Ti for attention to technical detail." "INTPs may convey a very critical and impersonal approach in discussing images, which could lead to offence in some situations."
- "Another area of interest common to INTPs, where Si has a strong influence, is Music. INTPs are usually fascinated by music and may have deep and wide-ranging tastes."
- "INTPs are often drawn to dissonance." "If an INTP is forced to listen to simple harmonic music for a while, he usually can't wait to feel the relief provided by a few minutes of pure dissonance." 1.
Naturally, the essay contains much more information but this is getting to be a long post already. So I'll stop here. Needless to say I find the subject matter interesting (for now). How about you? Any other INTPs out there care to comment?
1. A description of the INTP Personality Type by Paul JamesOriginal version: April 5, 1999
revised and published on the web: March 12, 2000