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personalityhacker-intp-vs-intj_the-thinkerI have a working theory that every type in the Myers-Briggs system is integral to social ecology. It doesn’t matter if a specific type drives you crazy, they are necessary to keep us balanced as humans.

When we’re trying to figure out our own type it can be difficult when two (or more) types fill a relatively similar role in society.

I mentioned in the article about INFPs vs INFJs that these two types are here to help us gain greater emotional intelligence, but they do so in slightly different (and necessary) ways.

The same could be said of INTPs and INTJs. Both types blow me away with their ability to manage extraordinary amounts of information while trying to avoid cognitive biases. I believe they’re both intended to question common sense to prevent mental stagnation.

While the service these two types perform for humanity is similar, they help us calibrate to new ways of thinking in different ways.

This article is intended to be a deep-dive, side-by-side comparison of their similarities and differences.

(If you’re in the middle of trying to figure out whether or not you’re an INTJ or an INTP, remember that these aren’t intended to describe your individual interests or values, but rather how the two types are ‘wired’ differently.)

5 Crucial Differences Between INTPs and INTJs

1. INTP vs INTJ: Different “Driver” processes

The Driver process can also be called the “dominant cognitive function.” It’s the mind’s first point of contact and the primary lens through which everything gets filtered.

For an INTJ, this dominant process is technically called Introverted Intuition, but we’ve nicknamed it “Perspectives.”

personalityhacker_third-eyePerspectives is a learning function (technically called a “perceiving function”), and works by watching one’s own mind form patterns. After years of use, eventually Perspectives begins to see the ‘pattern of the patterns’ and understands that what is happening inside of themselves cognitively is also happening for other people.

INTPs, on the other hand, lead with a process called Introverted Thinking, which we call “Accuracy.”

personalityhacker-intp-vs-intj_mental-frameworksAccuracy is a decision-making function (technically called a “judging function”), and works by creating a framework and then sifting through all the data within that framework, scanning for incongruities and inconsistencies. Its ultimate goal is to find things that make sense to the user, and once clarity is gained then the INTP knows the right course of action to take.

Because both are Thinking types – meaning, they both make decisions based on impersonal, analytical criteria – it’s important to both INTJs and INTPs to be intellectually honest. And while both have this same desired outcome, there’s an important nuance between the relationship each has with data.

Since INTJs are leading with an intuitive process there is more credence given to creative internal thought. They aren’t scanning for content that could be wrong, they’re scanning for new patterns that could be right.

This is why INTJs must pair their Driver process with the Co-Pilot of Extraverted Thinking, or “Effectiveness.” The only way to truly know if those patterns have merit is if they play out in the ‘outer world’. If they work, awesome! That was a great new pattern. If they fail, then it’s back to the internal drawing board.

For an INTP, the outer world isn’t where thoughts are vetted. In fact, INTPs couple their Accuracy with Extraverted Intuition, or what we call “Exploration.” The world outside of themselves is where intriguing new patterns are observed, and it’s up to them to make sense of what those possibilities could mean.

A logically consistent argument is the proof that supports their speculation.

This is why INTPs must be so ruthless with their content and data. The criteria isn’t necessarily provable to an outside observer, and so an internally consistent argument may be the best they’ve got to give credibility to their conclusions.

Tesla_colorado_adjustedThink of it in terms of Nikola Tesla (most likely an INTJ) and Albert Einstein (most likely an INTP).

Tesla thought up extraordinary new technologies, but the real test was whether or not those inventions actually worked.

Einstein, the on the other hand, saw patterns in the outside world and mulled over them until he culled from the herd everything but the most internally consistent reasons.

Tesla could point to the invention. Einstein had to point to the math.

This results in two very different relationships with data.

For an INTP, ‘clean’ data is of the utmost importance. Personal biases, what we want to believe, and social attachments to concepts muddy the waters. This is why there’s always some attraction to math, formal logic and/or binary code for an INTP. These are disciplines that tolerate little to no personal interpretation, which is hugely satisfying.

An INTP will unconsciously vet people for when they can and cannot be trusted with data. For example, they may have a good friend who always knows when someone is being fake, but can’t seem to wrap their head around time. When talking to them about motivations and intent the INTP knows they’re a trusted source of information, but they will dismiss that person whenever they talk about how long it will take to get somewhere.

There is such a thing as clean data, one just has to be ever vigilant for it.

For an INTJ, there is no such thing as data separate from the person holding that data. That is to say, our perceptions will always color the information we carry and so data is never clean. This is why an INTJ will frequently counter an inquiry for a piece of data with the question, “Why do you want to know?”

The context changes the content, and so if they don’t know why you want to know they can’t produce the data. (Not that it matters, but this can be maddening to an ENTP. Or, at the very least, to this ENTP. :p)

No matter! It’s not the empirical nature of the data that’s important, it’s the result it produces that’s the important thing. Which is why INTJs unconsciously vet people for their usefulness, not the data they hold (unless that’s how the person is ‘useful’).

Understanding the difference between these two Driver functions is crucial to understanding the difference in types.

2. INTP vs INTJ: Two different intrinsic insecurities generate different strategies

Even when we’ve graduated beyond our insecurities, the fact that they existed at some point influences our early strategies for navigating the world.

It’s been said by some that both INTPs and INTJs can come across arrogant, which I think is a surface understanding of what’s going on with both types (even when they’re at their “I’m going to strangle you now” worst).

As mentioned before, an INTP is constantly scanning for the cleanest data possible because they can’t actually show proof for their conclusions. Accuracy is by definition a subjective criteria: “it makes sense to me.

Like Authenticity users (as mentioned in the INFP vs INFJ article), if the audience isn’t getting it an INTP can become (in order) confused, frustrated and ultimately cynical. There is always some insecurity about others invalidating their arguments and conclusions, but instead of staying in the realm of hurt (as an INFP may), the easiest solution is to just assume everyone else is an idiot.

Harboring insecurities is just another way for indicating immaturity, and an immature INTP will show up as The Authority On All Subjects, assuming they are right and you are wrong. When an INTP is accused of arrogance, it’s generally because they have a growing pathology toward being right at all times.

Conversely, the more mature an INTP becomes, the more they’re delighted at being proven wrong. That’s the outer world helping them cleanse data they may have grown attached to / become biased toward!

This is generally done through the development of their Co-Pilot process of Exploration, a function that opens frames and actively looks for more information to plug into existing frameworks.

stormthetest-jovialThey also become more cheerful as they develop, losing their grip in cynicism and enjoying a naturally egalitarian disposition where anyone at any time could offer interesting perspectives and content.

Of course, that doesn’t mean an INTP won’t still engage in argument and debate. Iron sharpens iron, after all, and debate is anything but personal.

For an INTJ, there is little to no insecurity about being right. If you don’t agree with them they might debate with you about it, but they understand that perception defines reality and you may just be seeing things fundamentally differently.

Ultimately, the proof is in Effectiveness, and you’ll see how wrong you are when the outer world plays it all out.

The insecurity an INTJ faces is more of a well guarded secret. INTJs are surprisingly sensitive, and as mentioned in our article about the INTJ personality type, anyone they let in can do real damage.

The insecurity lies in just how amazingly vulnerable they are to others. For a hardcore Thinker, it’s incredibly disconcerting for the INTJ to realize they are wired to be sensitive without the benefit of commensurate (natural) emotional intelligence.

The arrogant front an INTJ puts up isn’t to deflect being proven wrong, it’s to deflect against the hurt and pain another person potentially represents. It’s a true wall, an impenetrable domain around the inner sanctum that you may or may not ever be invited into.

The more insecure and immature the INTJ is, the thicker and more impenetrable the wall.

Conversely, the more mature an INTJ the more they understand that their personal happiness is directly linked to their willingness to be vulnerable. They may still be protective, but they don’t close themselves off universally. The INTJ builds healthy boundaries which allow special people in, who are the lucky recipients of their extraordinary understanding.

If you’re trying to determine your type between INTP and INTJ ask yourself: are you more put-off by being wrong, or by being vulnerable?

3. INTP vs INTJ: How emotions show up

No matter what your type and no matter how much of a “Thinker” you are, you have emotions and feelings. Being a Thinker means you use impersonal criteria to evaluate situations, which generally results in putting emotions as a lower priority. But they still exist.

When you look at the car model for each of these types (or, for Myers-Briggs geeks, when you look at the cognitive function stack) you’ll notice that the INTJ type has a more conscious relationship with their emotional side, whereas an INTP’s emotional awareness is more unconscious and a blind spot.

The Car Model for an INTJ is:

Driver: Introverted Intuition, “Perspectives”
Co-Pilot: Extraverted Thinking, “Effectiveness”
10 Yr Old: Introverted Feeling, “Authenticity”
3 Yr Old: Extraverted Sensing, “Sensation”

For the INTP it’s:

Driver: Introverted Thinking, “Accuracy”
Co-Pilot: Extraverted Intuition, “Exploration”
10 Yr Old: Introverted Sensing, “Memory”
3 Yr Old: Extraverted Feeling, “Harmony”

Not only are the Feeling processes in different positions in the car, they are also different expressions. For an INTJ it’s Introverted Feeling, or Authenticity, and for the INTP it’s Extraverted Feeling, or Harmony.

personalityhacker_davinci-chakrasAuthenticity (at its core) is about understanding the emotional impact something has on you as an individual, and what’s in alignment for you as a person. It’s quiet, reflective and introspective. In fact, I’ve heard it described by Harmony types as “numbed out,” a misunderstanding of how the process works but an apt illustration of how inwardly turned the process appears from the outside.

Harmony (at its core) is about the emotional impact something has on others, aka the group, and checks in with social truths (like how we should behave and what people’s reputations are). It’s also outwardly expressive and emotive.

INTJs have a more conscious relationship with their Feeling process, which is in part why they’re sensitive. They’re often very aware of how things are impacting them emotionally, though they don’t always know what to do about it.

INTPs, on the other hand, have a very unconscious relationship with their Feeling process and a much higher threshold for tuning it out. Once it gets triggered, though, it’s anything but quiet.

When we go to our 3 Yr Old process (also known as our ‘inferior’) it’s generally in times of deep stress. (We can develop strategies to give our 3 Yr Old some attention to prevent it from controlling us, but most people only figure this out over time and through the concept of “failing better.”)

This is called Being in the Grip, and it’s never a pretty sight. For a generally rational and straight-faced INTP this can look like a full on temper tantrum. Uncontrollable crying isn’t just a possibility, it’s a probability. And the INTP – having no clue what the hell is happening to them – is swept up in the ride.

(When an INTJ is In the Grip it shows up as childlike self-indulgence – too much food, alcohol, sex and/or any other favorite expression of sensory pleasure.)

An INTJ will rarely temper tantrum. They’re more likely to get prideful as a first line of defense, and then move on to sulky and mopey. They may get angry, though this will generally be a controlled internalized version of the emotion. When an INTP gets angry, it’s more like a powder keg of explosion.

Understanding each type’s relationship with their Feeling process isn’t just a great tie breaker when profiling yourself or others, it’s also an important way to hold space for a loved one who may be one of these two types.

4. INTP vs INTJ: Hygiene, organization and status

When one has a purely theoretical understanding of Myers-Briggs it’s easy to rely on things like, “Oh, the INTJ is a Judger, so they’ll be organized and the INTP will be messy.”

If only people would just closely follow stereotypes we could lock this thing down and all go home.

Unfortunately, it’s not so simple.

As mentioned before, the INTJ is leading with Introverted Intuition (Perspectives) which is technically a ‘perceiving’ process. That means their flow state is learning and thinking creative thoughts.

Organizing their outer world is absolutely preferential as the more organized things are the more they can mitigate distractions and stay Perspectiving, so to speak.

But that means getting out of Perspectives to go organize, and sometimes that’s about as unappealing as an idea gets.

They also couple Perspectives with Effectiveness, a process that naturally thinks in terms of delegation. I’ve known INTJs that wished someone would just come along and organize their space for them, but until that happened they were merely going to shut off sensory awareness and not acknowledge the disaster around them.

When an INTJ exercises the Effectiveness process this is less likely to be the case, but even then ‘cleaning and organizing’ has to be considered a high leverage activity. Which it may or may not be.

personalityhacker-intp-vs-intj_siliconvalley_danesh-and-gilfoyleGenerally the biggest give-away between an INTJ and INTP (when taking into consideration that one is a J and the other is a P) is in personal grooming.

An INTP – having Harmony as their 3 Yr Old process – has an exceptionally easy time of just not giving a rat’s ass about how they appear to others. Actually, more accurately, they don’t give a rat’s ass if they’re socially acceptable. They may care how they come across, but that’s generally to send a message of not caring.

For the INTP, status is a game other people play, and dressing up just to suit others almost feels icky.

For an INTJ, on the other hand, status is a resource. And resource is always on the radar of Effectiveness. Playing a status game doesn’t feel icky, it feels like a necessary part of life. And it’s not so much that they dress for high status, but that they understand just a little effort goes a long way.

Unless they’ve given up, and then they turn into the Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons. When an INTJ devolves they start looking more like an immature INTP.

Alternatively, when an INTP matures they stop seeing hygiene and personal grooming as “being under the thumb of society” and more as a way to connect with other people. They dress for leverage, or self-expression, or a number of other perfectly acceptable reasons to attend to their appearance.

5. INTP vs INTJ: Why we need them both

I’ve found INTJs to exhibit amazing intellectual integrity. I’ve found INTPs to exhibit extraordinary radical honesty.

For a society to exist well we need to have people who won’t bullshit themselves and won’t bullshit you. We need creative thinkers that question the status quo, implement new technologies that improve our lives while at the same time whistle-blowing and calling out that the emperor is, indeed, naked as the day he was born.

When an INTJ develops into the best version of themselves they are the walking think tanks of sustainable systems.

When an INTP develops into the best version of themselves they are the innovators of new paradigms, literally altering how we understand and see reality.

Both types are imperative, and if you are either type please understand how important you are. Develop into the best version of yourself by exercising your Co-Pilot process of either Exploration (INTP) or Effectiveness (INTJ).

And hug yourself for me. Cause I’m a fan.


p.s. This is by no means an exhaustive list and we’d love to hear what you think are ‘tie-breakers’ between the types. Leave a comment and let us know what you see as the biggest differences.

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Antonia Dodge
Antonia is an author, thought leader, coach, trainer, systems thinker, and personality profiling expert. As the co-owner and Lead Trainer of Personality Hacker, she oversees all the training programs and content that Personality Hacker produces to help people "hack" their personal growth journey and create more happiness in their lives.
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  • Benjamin

    Thanks for the post Antonia! I am an INTP who occasionally tests as INTJ. I think I share traits with both types, which is confusing since I like things to make sense.

    I would like to share a story that I believe gives some insight into the way my mind works. My family just moved into a new house, and the first power bill came in the mail. My ENFJ wife opens the bill, and before she says anything, I say “Wait, let me guess!” My wife, knowing I enjoy the Estimation Game, smiled and said go ahead. My brain puked out a number: “$370.” My wife stared at me in silence. “How did you do that?” “Do what?” “How did you guess the power bill? It’s $376.”

    To me, it was simply a feeling I had. I literally Felt $370 with my brain. This confused my wife, so I went into detail: “We have been living here for a month. For the past month, I have been gathering data everywhere you look. The wood floors. The carpet. The ratio of carpet to wood. The walls — some are wooden, some are sheet rock, and some are stone. The open loft area of the house is partially contained, probably 40%, and part of that area will affect the energy usage. We have two HVAC systems, one for upstairs, and one for downstairs. The heat has been on for the past month, and it has snowed more than once. It got hot a couple of times, but the temperature inside of the house stayed constant due to the speed in which the cold returned. The windows feel drafty to me; sometimes I feel the draft from 4 feet away, and sometimes 2 feet away. The window sills seem colder than they should be. There is a 10 degree temperature drop from the hallway into the kitchen because of the garage not being insulated. The location of my office in relation to the heating vents and thermostat play into the energy usage as well — I have to turn the heat up higher because it’s colder over here. We do turn the heat down at night so it’s not too hot, and there seems to be a disparity in the heat distribution between the bathrooms and other areas of the house. The master bedroom is 10 degrees warmer than the other areas as well, which means that when we turn the heat down at night, it is actually colder everywhere else than what we are experiencing in our bed. Our energy provider has consistent rates, and I have lived in many different houses under this one provider. Given the square footage of the previous houses I lived in, and now the new square footage of this house, and given what I have overheard about energy prices in other parts of the state, I am comfortable with my ability to estimate our power usage.”

    She sort of stared at me like I was a robot. All of that happened in my head in 1 split second, and it has always happened that way. Everything I do in life goes through that process, and every decision I make abides by that database flow.

    Back to the article: I am still in between INTP or INTJ. I am veryp picky about personal hygiene; I won’t leave the house without showering and brushing my teeth, etc. I also have nice work clothes, because I know that it matters. I was not always this way: it took some major growth and introspection to “get it.”

    I am completely out of touch with emotions. I don’t really feel emotions at all, actually. Under extreme despair I will feel sadness, and in general I have a pleasant attitude, but I experience the world as data. I take in data and observe. Nothing frightens me because I am just observing, and confident that I can respond to whatever happens. Watching sports does nothing for me: whether the home team wins or loses is irrelevant; if they lose, they did not play as well as the other team. It’s just data. I try not to be a robot but sometimes it feels like I am!

    I will admit that I used to be obsessed with “being right.” It was a personal violation to me if someone disagreed with my statement, and I would argue all day with someone if they were wrong. Now I realize that some people don’t really care about logic or facts. Their minds are not programmed to abide by those. They feel about things, instead of thinking about things. If I see a funny pic on the internet, I first check to see if it was photoshopped, and if it was, I get no entertainment value, because it’s fake. My ENFJ wife, on the other hand, will laugh until she cries over a picture, regardless of if it’s fake. That is one thing that makes our marriage so great — she brings an outpouring of emotion and feelings to my life, which I am not used to having. I don’t understand how she can feel so much and genuinely care about how my day went, and that is what is fascinating about her. She walks in a room with a smile and the room is filled with this positive energy.

    Thanks for another good article! This site and the car model have helped me grow as a person and have helped my marriage immensely.

    • Antonia Dodge

      First of all, that’s crazy data management. As an ENTP I have a taste of that, but I’ve never come close to being able to regurgitate it on command. Amazing.

      For what it’s worth, I’ve known INTPs to become picky about personal hygiene after growth and reflection. When something becomes important to Introverted Thinking (it ‘clicks’) then there’s a dedication to it that’s admirable.

      I originally had the article say that INTPs who grow in the personal hygiene department begin to resemble INTJs, but I thought it sounded a little condescending a removed it. 😛

      Thanks for the comment!


      p.s. I’m so glad the content on the blog has helped with your marriage! 🙂

      • INTPondering

        “For what it’s worth, I’ve known INTPs to become picky about personal hygiene after growth and reflection. When something becomes important to Introverted Thinking (it ‘clicks’) then there’s a dedication to it that’s admirable.”

        THIS. Also, in regard to grooming habits, I think it’s useful to distinguish between male and female INTPs because the latter are much less likely to look the part. Women of every type are conditioned to present a socially acceptable appearance, and many of us do, if only because we don’t want to deal with the unpleasant fallout of rebelling against sartorial conventions. Besides, some of us have a very Ne appreciation for vibrant color and patterns and an Si nostalgia for traditional dress. And we’re not always immune to compliments on our personal style, either, even if the status and popularity that some people attempt to convey with their clothing choices are of little or no interest to us.

        • Intplady

          Someone in this thread wrote “Besides, some of us have a very Ne appreciation for vibrant color and patterns and an Si nostalgia for traditional dress. ” wow!!! I just tested as an INTP and I’m female, and while generally I found the info on target, I often wondered about the differences between m/f. There is so little information!! But the quote above describes my clothing to a T. The pattern thing is out of control with my clothes, I’m almost embaressed by the loudness of it, but I love each peice and each pattern, and don’t care if it all matches. Where is there more about female intp’ers?

          • Cassie Middlemiss

            Hello INTP lady. I am a fellow INTP woman and I have bright pink hair and get what you mean about clothes. I tend to band t-shirts with crazy patterns or drawing on them. Do they clash with my hair? I don’t know or care… 🙂

          • Mai

            I’m a female INTP, but the hygiene bit made me laugh because it fit me perfectly, actually. I was called a “freak” in high school because I simply could not care what I looked like to other people. I don’t mean hygiene as in showering or brushing my teeth; I mean in style and quality of clothes, or primping. I didn’t want to look feminine, and painting nails and doing makeup was a waste of my time. I wanted to be comfortable. Clothes are utilitarian. That was simply the end of the argument for me. And the more others tried to pressure me into changing my appearance, the more stubborn I got about it. It really did feel like they were trying to control me via some kind of status game, and the importance they put on my clothes made me shove my lack of care in their faces harder. As I matured, I did have an epiphany. I realized how people would discount my thoughts because of my appearance. I realized I could utilize my clothing as a form of self-expression; I can look nice yet be true to myself. I’m still casting around to this day for my “style” but I’ve tried some adventuresome combinations before. Still, when it comes to being home, or with friends and family, I default to old, ripped jeans (worn in and so soft), sweatshirts with tank tops, boots or barefoot.

            As for what lets me know I’m INTP instead of INTJ… if the hygiene thing wasn’t a determining factor, it’s dealing with data and emotion. The idea that the criteria isn’t necessarily provable to an outside observer rang true, as did Einstein having to point to his math. I’ve said, “Look, this is how I got to this conclusion” a million times before. I often get confused, frustrated, then cynical in those situations.

            Then there’s the emotion. “Uncontrollable crying isn’t just a possibility, it’s a probability. And the INTP – having no clue what the hell is happening to them – is swept up in the ride.” I’m known to my family to burst into tears at the drop of a hat… and it takes me some time to work out why I’m even upset. The anger being a powder keg is accurate as well. I almost don’t notice that things have been weighing on me emotionally until the spark sets it all off… and I’m absolutely “swept up in the ride” along with the poor person that set it off. Now, I’ve gotten MUCH better at my emotions as I’ve matured, to the point where I identify with INTJ’s sensitivity and emotional vulnerability. But the volatile nature of my emotions was definitive proof.

        • Alexander M

          For me I feel as if I’m a little of am intj and mostly an intp. I’m good with social interactions but ultimately the only reason I socialize is to feel better about my skills in predicting people and not because I feel better from hanging out with them or learning with them. I live my social life showing I don’t care and sometimes I rant about the stupidity of other teenagers(15) young intp that feels alone. I show that people are fake and put up a lot of bullsbit to feel less insecure about themselves through society. I spend my life deeply thinking and trying to find something that satisfies me with putting my mind into it-I like reading about astrophysics and I wanna become a theoritical physicist and I spend a lot of my time arguing with myself about what’s wrong or right. But anywho I think a possible way to divide your intj and intp is by your inferior function(3 year old function). I sometimes have random emotional outburst. It happens maybe once every month and a half but when it happens it happens. I spend a lot of my life not experiencing emotions because they are useless and ways down people’s life for no reason. My greatest satisfaction is figuring out truth and gaining facts and making theories and thinking in new changing ways to approach situations that we expericance throughout life and creating new situations that hasn’t happened and emotions have nothing to do with any of that so I enjoy my life through deep conscious thought throughout it. I always am dazzing off into thought almost appearing like Im deattached from society without even realizing it. But no matter what I know my worst function is when I go through the uncontrollable outburst of layer of emotions that’s just been hiding for days just waiting to get released out and the hole time I’m like why. What’s is happening and I have no control it’s insane I go through sad and mad outburst that shoot out like the nuclear energy trapped in rest mass. So because of how aware I am of that, it helps score into the intp part of me. I use a bunch of introverted thinking where I analyze and brainstorm everything that I can observe. And I’ve created things in the spot with a bit of extroverted intuition and introverted thinking in projects and social life. Either way I’m not sure if intjs go through the outburst as often or as strong and less frequent as the intp and I do know an intj which helps me divide the differences between us. Where actually quite close and your inferior functions might divide the difference.

          • heda chedda

            You’re’s probably the hormones. I’m 37 and I KNOW it’s the hormones.

      • Hampton Ford

        To start, this is an informative and completely accurate article to me. I have tested as an INTJ and have just a few comments and examples that I think will be useful to this article. I believe I used to be an INTP or at least shared many more similarities with them than I do now. A friend of mine (INTP) and myself had a debate last night at a sleep over (high school) and we debated, cliche as this is, the meaning of life. It started out with me saying my purpose in life (you are not privy to that). Put simply he said that the here and now is meaningful no matter what happens when we die. I said that when we die there is nothing then by definition there will be no consciousness anywhere and thus to me now nothing matters. I reject that idea because at the heart of who I am, and I understand people are shaped by their environment, I just cannot accept that view. We both agreed that there is a binary outcome to life or death if you prefer. Either there is or is not something afterwards and we both agreed that is there was something and we do remain awareness then we will find out who is right and who is wrong. Thus we debated the idea of nothing and the implications on the present and past. This is the meaning of the old expression “If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it does it still make a noise.” The answer to this has no evidence or proof, for those intelligent enough to understand the concept, it comes down to the fact that is only a matter of what we choose to believe. Because of my forging through life I choose to believe that there is life after death because I simply have to a purpose intrinsically. My friend on the other hand believes that only the now that matters. My conclusion from all this is that the INTJ has to have a grand scheme whether in the ethereal eternity of death or in this life. The INTP chooses to believe the that there doesn’t have to be. Basically your answer to this question will tell you ultimately if you are an INTJ or INTP. “Does the end justify the means or is it the ride that matters?” (Hint: If you say both you are lying, remember it is a choose and who you are defines how you will respond to this question.) Sorry for the awkward phrasing, I know it is not completely organized but I will use my personality as an excuse. Please give your opinion on whether you agree or disagree and more importantly if this is correct. If it is not correct please support your reasoning.

        • Jensen

          Sorry, I’m completely sidetracking this but, I’m an INTP, and when I read about the part on your comment on ““If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it does it still make a noise?”, my first reaction was to immediately say “no”, and my follow up reasoning was that by saying “no”, I might be able to lure out any witnesses who would have known about the tree falling. I mean, not going into how effective my reasoning is, my first reaction was “I want to know who else is in the forest, I want to know the truth!”

          I wonder if that’s an INTP reaction.

          • Rod

            If a man waks deep into the forest and there is no woman around to hear him, if he speaks is he still wrong?

          • Brian

            If a tree falls and noone heres it it DOES NOT make a sound. Figured that out years ago. Quantum Physics has been proven, look it up. I must digress, I choose both. I acknowledge I am here for the ride and practice those habits as best I can, however I am not only extremely logical, but very spiritual as well. Different strokes for different folks. Only naivety would suggest otherwise. “Your opinion is not my reality” 😉 Everything else was cool to read tho. Glad I’m not the only one with unusual traits.

        • Mike Tuttle

          If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, it does not make a sound. It simply makes a vibration. It is the presence of ears, wired to a brain sensitive to that wavelength range, that translates that vibration to “sound.”


          • Gene

            Okay, but that assumes that there was nothing else near the tree that would have heard the sound. Like a squirrel.


            Another INTJ ?

          • Will

            Think Harder.

            INTP 🙂

          • Edward

            If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it.

            So, does it matter if there is sound or no sound? What does it serve? And i don’t care.

            Another INTJ-A =)

          • INTP-Bob

            It’s a Metaphysical question, one of philosophy, not science, what we can and can’t know. From Wikipedia: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” is a philosophical thought experiment that raises questions regarding observation and knowledge of reality.” Physics is secondary, informing the philosophical enquiry into what we’re capable of knowing of reality.

          • Sarah INTJ

            If a tree falls in a forest, what we “perceive” as sound will be produced whether we are around to hear it or not.

            Even if there is no creature around to perceive it as a sound, any action has a reaction, the tree falling will generate an impact whether you exist or you don’t, that’s how the whole universe works.

            As humans, we should not believe that the universe exists with all its laws solely because we are able to perceive it.

          • Laura

            Haha I love that – my thoughts exactly!


          • Kimball

            So by being there to sense the action of the tree falling in the forest and hearing it it then makes a noise? this is a foundation of which quantum physics that Einstien called spooky. the fact that you were able to consciously detect the falling of the tree with your ears made it a reality and infact was the actualy the creation of the sound of the falling tree otherwise it would never have made a sound. When we observe the actions and interactions of quantum physics its the action of our observing that creates the actions and interactions.
            Yes I’m an INTP and very appy to be one.

          • Camus

            “If a tree falls in a forest, what we “perceive” as sound will be produced whether we are around to hear it or not.”

            That’s the way I think of it too.
            So when we (our brain) die we can’t perceive anymore and our memory is gone, technically.
            Therefore in order to know if there is an afterlife we would need to know what happens with our memory. Yes, no? 😀
            If we could extract our memory and put in some other organism, wich can handle the date “the way its supposed to be handled”… ok I give up, for now – too many possibilities XD

        • Michael

          The definition of a sound is a wave capable of being perceived by hearing functions, ears, etc.

          So given that, if there is no object capable of perceiving these waves, the tree falling does not make a sound. Of course, we would never know if creatures or organisms or devices out there in the forest can perceive unless there is inter-species communication – or device is obtained.

          • David Dunn

            I actually just saw a TED Talk about trees, and how they actually communicate quite extensively. So in a sense, the entire forest would “hear” the tree falling.

            Being another INTJ, yes, technically it wouldn’t be a “sound” because of the lack of auditory sensing within trees, but the information of said tree dislodging and subsequent vibration would be known and recognized within the “tree community”.

          • Sam

            “capable of being perceived”

            The definition you gave does not require the wave to be perceived in order to classify it as a sound. Only that it is capable of such.

            If a star shines, and nobody sees it, is it still generating light?

            It could be light years away and we haven’t noticed yet. It’s still light. It still has the capacity to be perceived.

            There’s the popular Quantum Mechanics double slit experiment, but how extensively did they determine what does and doesn’t qualify as observation? Sentience? Does certain matter observe other matter within a certain radius?

          • intpM

            David: The entire forest would hear it only if it’s a very small forest.


        • Madhavi

          About the tree question.
          First of all if a tree falls in the forest and to determine whether it made sound or noise even if nobody heard it are based on the following three broad facts, or the absence of it rather.

          1. Key point: Does ‘Nobody’ include or exclude animals and birds? By nobody did you include only humans in this terminology or are animals included as well. It can be safe to assume that some sort of birds or animals would be living either on/in that tree or adjacent trees. We have no possible way of determining if they ever heard a sound. Humans may not have been around or anywhere near the forest to heard the noise produced, but the same is not applicable for animals and birds living in the forest.

          2. Key note: Size of the tree can determine whether it was possible for the tree to make a sound in the first place. Depending on the size of the tree we can judge whether a sound or a thud was made in the first place. (by sound I don’t just mean what we humans perceive as sound, but also the vibrations which would cause a certain sort of noise to occur, one way or another)

          3. Key note: The amount of adjacent trees beside the main tree.
          If the forest was a densely populated forest completely filled with trees and completely filled with leaves, (basically a lush forest), then the adjacent trees depending on their sizes might have broken the fall, an in turn lessened the sound to a small murmur (reason for which that even if humans were there, they might not have heard the sound).

          But either ways, from my conclusions I can draw up the fact that if a tree, either big or small, whether broken by a fall or not, whether heard by animals/birds would indeed make vibrations upon reaching the ground, one might hear it as a murmur or quite rustles even (depending on the height, width and girth of the tree), but all that is still considered sound.
          By sound I’m referring to the wave of compression and rarefaction. A sound will be produced no matter what, the elasric medium (air) that might have dulled the sound based on various circumstances.
          Also there can be no absence of sound if there was nobody to hear it.

          Whatever we term as sound still occurs in the event of a tree falling down, even in our absence. Whether we are actually able to hear the sound or not is irrelevant.

          I’ve been tested as INTJ and an INTP on various forums. I’d like some insight as to what I could be.

          • .:,

            I always thought that the question is about how do we know that something is happening even if we are not percieving it when we are, well, not percieving it. What if there is a law of sort that causes events to play out differently, that decides that lesser laws do apply or do not apply according to whether something capable of observation is present? And we have no way of determining if yes or no, because we do that through observation. I think it is similar to how we do not know what atom does, when we are not looking at it. Except that atom behaving differently is caused by energy input from light we need to apply to actually observe it. If we use less, we also see less. I wondered if we couldn’t solve this by using light of different intensity and see graduation of changes in atom’s activity and figure from them what would be actually going on without light. But I am no expert on physics so there might be some tiny little important detail preventing us from that.
            Anyway, lovely debate. One of the reasons why I love rationals. I am sorry for any mistakes, english is not my native language.

            INFP (probably, different tests gave me different results – ENFP, INTP, INFJ and even ESTP once)

      • INTJ-P

        thanks for this Antonia, I an INTJ but my emotional acts like the 3yr old occasionally, it’s quite distressing to normally be very aware of my emotions but then for me to have a quick break down, where, embarrassingly, crying does happen for no apparent reason… any idea on how to change that? Could it just be something that happens when i am no longer studying my emotional self because i’m focused on other things or am i actually an INTP?

        • Zach INTP

          Logically, I would have to say that you should look at what exactly is making you sad. If you find that you aren’t sure what exactly is making you sad, then try to find what makes you happy. For me, I’ll listen to music or play videogames to feel better and distract myself from my emotions.

        • Zimm

          If you are aware of your emotions and acknowledge them than you are probably an INTJ regardless of any breakdown. An INTP will be aware of his emotions, but being a completly illogical concept, will attempt to ignore or deny said emotions, hence the eventual breakdown due to an inability to process them in a healthy manner. At least thays how I understand it, but then again i’m a INTP, so i might be missing something there.

      • Avie

        Hi Antonia,
        I love all your articles. they are incredibly insightful while equally accessible! I really enjoyed reading this one and the one comparing INFJs and INFPs. I have tested as both an INFP but more often as an ENFP. That said, I always feel there is something missing with in the ENFP profiles despite my extroverted disposition. The INFP breakdown in the INFJ/INFP article really resonated with me. I was wondering if you could do a comparison of ENFP and INFP so that I can better understand where I fit.

      • lala

        Hey, I’m a 17 year old INTP and have a younger sister who is an INTJ and litrally I’m so upset about everything after reading this…I’ve been so horrible and arrogant towards my INTJ sister my whole life…I’ve always called her stupid and now her walls are soo thick…but ever since she was small I had this relentlessness that would bring me back to understanding her but she again would shut me off and I’d call her stupid in frustration…she’s so intelligent and I go really really angry when others call her stupid like in school…It sort of makes me cry…We share the same room and it doesn’t help that we see things diffrently…I even ended up thinking it was my fault and decided to seek popularity like she does…I was like so depressed for 2 years because I world work counter to how I operated…I live in such a noisy house I contemplated being nocturnal/seminoctornal…but I couldn’t maintain it…I had like a crazy long endless per suit in happiness…being 78% introverted didn’t help because I didn’t know that…so I became hostile…mad…but strangely I became really…really eccentric and nihilistic…and so unhygenic it got as bad as people in school saying i stunk…that didnt help because i become more paranoid and perfectanisic… (i paid for the full reprt of myself second closest personality is INTJ after INTP) I also cried myself to sleep when I found out how illogical my religion islam was. I didn’t pursue in case the outcomes would scare me to death (deeply religious family) when people told me I was intelligent till now I would refuse…its weird but I don’t feel conftable talking about it in some way…I hated it teachers would tell me I was not confident and there would go my endless cycle again to become popular (sisters popular an happy) but it would never happen…It wasn’t fair because 2 of my sisters would do better than me one ESFP and even the other INTJ…its sad really because I never had alone time at the age of 15 and when I did I used my phone as confidence in what I was doing wrong…at my lowest depression I did an IQ test and paid for it and got 115 (15 yrs old) which was classed as superior bordering genius but I obviously thought there was a huge mistake and paranoid and became even more depressed and materialistic…I contemplated suicide but I would immediately counter it with fierce logic and the idea that those who did that were so stupid and deserved to die if they were going to give up so easily…I don’t know what I’m saying really…but I think im getting healthier slowly now and by understanding me and my little sister (INTJ) I want break down the barriers I built…I feel so horrible and evil…but I have fix that before my actions define the course my sisters life in genral…I’m so evil and incredibly stupid I even did drugs once to remedy my stupidity…strange because my grades were average and not in any way below average even in my most mentally depressed state and manged to stay in set 1 for everthing apart from P.E (obviously)…oh well didn’t change how stupid I viewed myself…my teachers set my A* targets I believed I could but I was stupid and still am I guess…It was so hard to beleive others and especially myself when I had noting to show for it…I actually planned to kill myself but I always stopped because my religion doest allow that and because I didn’t…One of my teachers believed in me and told me why he didn’t send me down to the lowest set…I had hope and tried and ended up getting 75/80 with minimal effort…but I still didn’t beleive because I convinced myself out of it…It didn’t help on results day…I jus was to depressed anyway…6th form came…It became popular finally didn’t help did worser…now I know who I am who everyone is I feel I guess self confirmation in the study of humans especially myself and feel sort of like childish inner glow of hope in myself. I’m going to fix all the paradoxes around me and like I always do find a way…but this time my ability will help me change mine and my family life…The world maybe but that sounds scary so I say no way…good thing my best friends are INTP and INFP…It helps. Yeh I sound insecure…but it’s sort of true I have to be…After every crap I’ve been through…I have prove I’m intelligent but I won’t act after hoarding so much info…such a paradox…I need a lot of alone time since I’m 78% introverted thinking so I can reassess my life and we’re I stand and we’re I should stand and how I play a role in society. I guess thanks for hearing a stupid kid out.

        • Zach INTP

          We INTPs love to believe we can solve any problem, even paradoxes, just by thinking about it. Be very careful, though and try to look at the situation maturely. Because if you try to help your sister regain your trust, you might have to step out of your safe place. And try not to think of her or other people as idiots because I’ve learned that you can learn a lot by listening to what the idiots say. And if I believe they are wrong, I try to help them understand my thinking. If that fails, I usually just chalk it up as them not having an open mind.

          • Brian Sky

            Religion? LoL. I was stumped in grade school being given multiple choice. Next..

      • lala

        Ok you lot might think im infp from my earlier comment but I’m not I guess I over glossed the specifics…I evolved all the time but avoided the serious reasons why I did such things…now I understand my natural reason why because I value knowledge and truth but also flexibility when others didn’t compromise to some extent…but you see low knowledge equals weak judgement and also my school at 15 I moved to were sooo superficial and extraverted about it to so it didn’t help my ambition…I litrally died in that school and still passed with really high average grades…I don’t care for my IQ peak and am not getting retested because I really don’t see that as self confirmation so offense to society and there dumb rules. I found I attracted to many people at that age as strange as it sounds I was really intj in my behaviour although I was deeply depressed no wonder jung sad in disintegration they 5 become scattered at 7 just like my sister (7w8) I’m (5w6 – the investigator, researcher, analyst, contentrarian–) and yeh obviously I took a break of education to educate myself independently and im getting to the root of ny issues very easily 🙂 also I need to mention my intuition Is very high it goes of the scale and so does everything else for some reason but especially my introversion and intuition…its so fascinating (it’s can’t admit I’m intelligent it’s like hollow in here lol). I couldn’t appreciate others but I always tried to knew why…so much you can see in my limited knowledge and lens of society at that age.

      • Huma Everdeen

        I am cannot begin to tell you what this read has done for me, if I had any doubt it is now totally obliterated I know now without a doubt that I AM AN INTJ, reading this all I could YES!! EXACTLY!!! OH MY GOD YES YES YES. Thank YOU!

      • Gord Thor

        Benjamin,I am an INTJ that falls somewhere in between an INTP and I have tested INTP once or twice. Most people won’t realize how deep we contemplate things. When you contemplate things this deeply you know that people can’t be divided neatly into 16 boxes. It seems obvious to me that the dominance of cognitive functions are due to the strength of wiring(white matter) between the different parts of the brain. I test 50/50 for right/left brain dominance and I am willing to bet that you do as well.

    • Harry Slattery

      As an INTP I recognize your speaking style with the INTJ undertone, I was wondering what enneagram you are as you don’t seem vulgar and though socionics is more functional enneagram is fairly behaviorist

    • Jason

      You are a Type 5 enneagram, INTP. Your inability to express emotions comes from compartmentalizing your connections to the world around you. Think of it as living in a pitch black apartment and only being able to see with a lantern that lights only the rooms you need to be in at that point in time. I’m guessing you’re naturally very inquisitive and accumulate knowledge/research for days before making a decision about something.

    • Xavier

      That sounded so familiar to me. Done that exact thing countless times with bills, groceries (taxes included within pennies to dollars up to several hundred)

    • robert

      I so totally just read myself in you Benjamin. My usual “over-observation” absolutely amuses my wife. I study all things in such data flow ways, but when it comes to traffic patterns on the road, my wife is stunned when I go into revelations about how the vehicle 3 ahead of us is giving signs of changing lanes, the one behind them is a mini van and thus it’s 20% more likely to be turning, due to the location of a school at the next intersection, and if that happens, then the right lane will be empty of traffic, thus allowing me a more efficient trip to my destination, though in 6 blocks there is a junction with a high likelihood of vehicles turning left and clogging the passing lane, thus I will remain in the right, despite the perceived faster momentum in that lane….. blah blah blah. To say we overthink things that most people don’t even notice is…. well “they’re all just idiots, anyways, right?” lol

    • Jesse

      Why, because you have an online account and can login to get your bill before the mail comes? Hahahaha! Or write down the KW usage from the meter every month.

    • Ashmita

      I’m an INTP and that Estimation Game point absolutely clicked with me.

      However, it doesn’t always have to be bills for me. I can literally guess the price or value of anything just by the tone of the person asking it (and subconsciously evaluating the person, their experience with numbers, what price could they possibly find amusing etc).

      Within seconds the answer flashes in my mind. Other people guessing are generally very far off 😛
      When asked how I got it, I begin to explain but then realize it’s useless explaining and they’re not REALLY interested in knowing the calculation, so I just finish off with a vague – Ya I just do

      Love the game! 😀
      Great analysis

    • Yu Lu

      INTX here. Mixes between the two. The general perception among INTPs that emotion and reason are separate is not accurate. You can’t reason without emotion otherwise there would be no motivation to reason in the first place. The primary driving emotional force for both types is contempt. As a result they suck (relatively compared to other types) at personal relationships but are excellent at analysis. Contempt is good for the latter, but not for the former.

      The problem is that most INT’s have trouble recognizing the underlying physiological processes behind their emotions, which is why they think they’re not feeling them. The belief that emotion and reasoning processes are separate is being increasingly discredited from the evidence coming from neuroscience. Read Antonio Damasio.

    • Haiden

      I tested several years ago as an infp, but recently retook the the test and got intp as a result. My brother in law is an intj, so i checked out this article. I struggle a lot with being wrong, but hopefully that will change!

    • Amaya

      I’m an INTJ (assertive, female) in a relationship with an INTP (turbulent, male).

      I’m reaching my thirties in the next year or so, and have been consciously work on developing my 10 year old (introverted feeling) and 3 year old (extroverted sensing) functions for the last 4 years. In this way, I’ve come to be a little less defensive in my life so I don’t feel a constant need to protect my very sensitive internal self from at least the people close to me. Though I will say, I’ve crafted a life that literally shuts out anyone or anything that I don’t actually want distracting or creating emotional distraught in my life. More on that below.

      With that introduction…

      I saw in the comment threads that many people wondered if an INTJ has emotional outbursts or something to that effect.

      I can tell you that I have rarely spontaneously had an emotional outburst. Usually, I must be pushed in a corner and prodded and prodded (by someone or something out of my control), until my anger builds to a peak. Then it is like a torrent.

      99% of the time, that torrential outburst will not happen.

      First, because I really have to care deeply about the person or situation to ever even get to that point of anger. Since the majority of people and situations in my life are not that deeply important to me, I generally just become irritated. When I reach that state of irritation, typically the “death mask” facial expression that INTJs are known to wear, will shield whatever is going on inside of me. I only ever vent to people I am super close to, and even then it is in extreme moderation. They would all confirm that it’s more likely to hear about my frustration, irritation, hurt, or anger after I’ve dealt with it myself and mostly worked it out.

      This is because I feel emotions are private, they are typically temporary, I don’t want to ever burden someone who is a stranger with that kind of expression, and nothing good can usually come from expressing my hurt/anger/irritation. So, as you can see, outbursts aren’t likely to happen because I can (usually) squirrel the emotion away and work it out. And I mean literally work it out. That may be in my career work, it may be in meditation, or it may be in some sort of physical sport. In fact I’d say that I’ve found my greatest relief in non-expressed emotions, by physically working my body.

      (Also worth noting, I think that most INTJs function from a general low-level irritation most of the time. We’re really fast thinkers, and it’s frustrating to live in a world where other people don’t tend to think at that same speed or depth. After almost 30 years of living like this, you can pretty much master shielding that irritation, or you can be known as a serious asshole. And assholes tend to live very difficult lives. So.)

      Second, the torrential outburst is rarely going to happen because I’ll isolate myself away from other people and stimuli (the stimuli is a BIG ONE for me). If it’s really bad, I’ll need an hour or two to think it out, work it out, and calm down. But I know better than to try to “express” myself when I’m that emotionally volatile. It’s only going to lead to me saying something awful (because INTJs can be really ruthlessly cutting, and I definitely fit that stereotype), and then I’ll have even more conflict.

      I think something that helps when you’re dating or have some sort of relationship with an INTJ, is to realize that the majority of us will find emotionally volatile situations to be a drain of energy and a waste of time. We could be doing so much more with our minds than stewing in anger. And I’d say we typically become very aware of how much of an energy and time suck the whole “emotional outburst” thing can be… Because it only leads down a road of more emotional stuff.

      Now, if you corner me… It’s likely there will be an outburst. Forcing me to have a conversation when I really just want to be left alone, is a surefire way for that signature INTJ “don’t know what to do with these emotions” thing to come up. Now I’m mad. I don’t like being incompetent. I don’t like being embroiled in emotional stuff with a witness there to see how incompetent I am. And I don’t like being forced to do things against my will.

      In that instance, you have a perfect storm for the anger to build and build and build… Until I pop. Then there’s yelling, saying nasty things, and in extreme cases I can even hit full-on tantrum mode. And you know what? I know it’s coming. I’ll warn you. I’ll tell you to please leave me alone. I will demand my privacy. Because I don’t want to embarrass myself or hurt someone that I care about (or have to work with).

      When it comes to dating an INTP, this can sometimes be an issue. His 3 year old cognitive function is harmony (extroverted feeling). When he feels like we aren’t in a state of harmony, he is distracted by the thoughts of us not being in agreement, and me being upset. His first instinct is to then sit down and hash out what happened, and find a resolution. He wants harmony, and he wants it to be outwardly expressed so he can go back to focusing on what he wants to focus on. When he doesn’t have that harmony, he tends to build to an emotional outburst because it’s like nervous energy in his brain and body.

      This is obviously in conflict with my wanting Authenticity, and finding that my emotions are private things that I need to figure out on my own first. I need space, so that I can calm down and work the emotions out. When I feel cornered, I can only take it for so long and then I lash out.

      We’ve reached a paradox!

      Thankfully, both of us are system people. We love systems, creating them, studying them, perfecting them. And we’ve found the best system is that he allows me a set amount of time (20-60 minutes) to calm down. When I’m ready, I’ll reach out to him so we can have a conversation. I’m mindful that if I go over the maximum 60 minute window, he’s going to be a little freaked out. Ultimately, I don’t want that for someone I care about. So we both work hard so that we can give each other what we need. He focuses on resilience so that he can give me that space. I focus on effectiveness and vulnerability so that I can have that conversation as quickly as possible.

      In the end, this system works for us about 85% of the time (unfortunately, not all conflict can be calmed down or discussed in such a short window). And I think we’re both the better for having actively developed our less-effective functions.

      I hope this helps anyone else who deals with an INTJ in their life, and especially those INTPs who struggle to give space to their INTJ partners.

    • Ryan

      The story you told about the heating bill was excellent, because I do the same thing all the time with everything and I always receive similar reactions. I fall somewhere between INTP and INTJ skewed toward INTP.

  • joren

    bravo! How about infj vs intp next? The tertiary ti process can easily confuse the infj into believing themselves to be a thinking type.

    • Antonia Dodge

      Good article idea! Thanks. 🙂


    • G.M.

      Yes! I completely agree.

    • Arabello

      Yes Please! That will be very helpful if it is as great as this one. Thank you for a lovely and insightful article.

  • Jenna

    I think growth patterns can be very subjective. I think being healthy is about balance, so the direction of growth that is needed depends on what extremes are being practiced. I am an INTP and I grew up with a great deal of social pressure and enforced strictness about my appearance. It’s been a growth step for me to learn to balance that pressure with the weight of what is good for me, subjectively. Perhaps my circumstances stunted my growth in this area, and I’m still working my way back around, though.

    This is the best differentiation explanation I’ve read for these two types. I think it’s difficult, because there can so much overlap. My strongest motives and views when left to my own, do seem to align well with what is described in the article, though. 🙂 I think preferences are really key in this kind of differentiation.

    • Antonia Dodge

      That’s very true, and when I wrote the stuff on personal hygiene I knew there were going to be a thousands variations on a theme / ‘exceptions to the rule’. But it was the only way I knew how to point to a more common ‘tie breaker’ and it not be a clean office. I know way too many INTJs surrounded by chaos in their work space. 😛


      • Jenna DeNardo

        A good point. I can definitely corroborate that. 😛

        Well, you’re very good at letting go of the exceptions enough to get across an accurate theme. I think it’s really helpful. 🙂

      • Terrie

        It’s not chaos. It’s a open filing system. 😉

  • Artio J. Bear

    As a maturing INTJ female, married to a mature INTP, I approve this article. You clarified well something we already knew about MBTI and ourselves, but couldn’t put into words, so thank you.

  • ryan

    Good lawd. I’ve tested as all 4 of the INxx types, ENTP, and even ISTP. For a while INTP seemed a logical fit and the form of the inferior in that type’s function stack really fit many of my most cringeworthy experiences in this life–those times when I have been “in the grip”.

    I almost always disregarded test results which suggested INTJ (including the test found on this site) because, even after spending a great deal of time researching the functions, I think that I was being unconsciously swayed by stereotypes surrounding that type (it’s almost as bad as the plethora of bullshit stereotypes which surround the INFJ type).

    Reading this article has, in the very least, led me to re-evaluate and take a long hard look at myself. When I am in the grip, do I turn into the HULK (INTP) or do I turn into Walter White (INTJ)? I’d have to say I more resemble INTJ when my inferior and tertiary get the better of me. I’m all to aware of the pesky emotions which can be so debilitating, yet ill-equipped to process and handle said emotions in a healthy manner. When particularly stressed, I often chase physical pleasures for immediate gratification.

    I can still see similarities to ITP types, but INTJ is beginning to feel more like home.

    A somewhat unrelated question, but I’m curious how INTJs defend their Ni-fueled observations and assumptions in a society which tends to value the cold, hard, tried-and-true facts yielded by Se and Si observations. I’ve noticed in myself a tendency to fake Si to defend arguments I otherwise have no hard data or experience to back up. It sucks to know when I am right but that I am unable to back it up and I often will lie or bend the truth to make it sound as though I possess experiential data just to make an argument seem more valid. I hate doing this and it seems completely “phony” yet it seems to make people more likely to take my points or arguments under consideration.

    • Jenna DeNardo

      I hear you. I’ve had kind of a rough time figuring out my type. I have always gotten erratic results on type tests (INFP, INTJ, INFJ, ISFP, etc.) After quite a thorough knowledge of personality type and the cognitive functions, I thought I had figured it out. Turns out not.

      I relate quite a bit to your confusion and questions. I always related the most to the descriptions of grip experiences as well. In my case it turned out that some of what I thought were grip experiences were actually just the way my feelings would build up and freak out, because I am a feeler who was greatly repressing and ignoring my emotional side. I always thought I was a thinker and I’ve always felt that I am very cerebral and logically oriented. However, I would have a lot of issues with my emotions building up or overwhelming me and I basically was really frustrated with myself and thought there was something wrong with me.

      That’s an interesting thing about type; it’s not necessarily always how you act, and your real type is set inside and will not go away, even if you aren’t expressing it very clearly. I had a huge mental block about my feelings being of genuine importance, but they did not let up.

      Another issue I had was distinguishing my main process as Fi rather than Ti, because it often doesn’t seem like “feelings” to me, the way that they are conventionally thought of. Also, I am often calm, analytical, and controlled.

      I’m not saying this is definitely what’s going on with you, but I want to share my experience for you to consider. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted, since I realized I wasn’t being my authentic self (Greatly thanks to Antonia’s help. She realized I had the wrong type, did a verification with me, and found my real one).

      I will say, from what I’ve learned, Ni’s tend to be very certain about their intuition, and don’t tend to see themselves as the problem if people don’t see their observations as valid. What you’re describing in the last paragraph sounds like an INFP. They use Ne, which sees many options as to how to present something. They also have Te as an inferior function, which could explain your concern over not being taken seriously. Also, it may be good to note that in those situations your *desire* for your arguments to be taken seriously is out-weighing (or out-ranking) your sense of intellectual honesty, which could point to F as a preference.

      I wish you much luck on your quest! 😉

  • ryan


  • Heather Blackwell

    I’m am INFJ/INTP/INFP. Figure that one out ; )

    • Antonia Dodge

      Have you read the INFP vs INFJ article? It explains that INFJs use the cognitive function of Accuracy, technically called “Introverted Thinking,” as their 10 Yr Old, a place where a lot INFJs go when they’re trying to shut off the mechanism that unconsciously absorbs other people’s emotions.

      Accuracy is the Driver process of INTPs, so it’s not uncommon for some INFJs to have confusion around being INFP and/or INTP.

      That said, my first guess would be that you’re an INFP.

      INFPs don’t emote like most people assume “Feelers” do, since they lead with Introverted Feeling, or what we call Authenticity. Introverted Feeling is inwardly turned, and so not as expressive as, say, Extraverted Feeling (or what we call Harmony). If you’re an INFP you may resonate with descriptions of INFJs, and you may also not ‘feel’ as strong a “Feeler” because of misconceptions of what that means.

      Also, INFPs (and ISFPs) resonate with multiple types because the Authenticity process can see so many different components to themselves.

      It would be very rare for you to be an INTP and mistake yourself for either INFP or INFJ types.

      Ultimately, you are not three types, but one. It’s just a matter of finding the best fit. You may want to use these articles for reference:

      INFP vs INFJ:

      Between two types:

      Good luck. 🙂


  • amanda

    Interesting! I’m a very J-leaning INTJ, I related to a lot of the INTP. My brother is INTP and our differences have always seemed pretty textbook.

    This INTJ’s 2 cents:

    1. For me, pattern recognition *always always always* revolves around what’s wrong. The thing that sticks up, doesn’t fit, does not compute. What’s “right” almost counts as a given and gets (needs) very little attention.

    2. Sensitive without the benefit of emotional intelligence? Ouch! Sooooo true.

    3. Yup.

    4. Status is icky! It registers as superficial and false. So do things like make up, jewelry (I’m a female 🙂 and anything trendy.

    5. This seems backwards:

    “I’ve found INTJs to exhibit amazing intellectual integrity. I’ve found INTPs to exhibit extraordinary radical honesty.”

    That’s all I got 🙂

  • Victor

    Thanks for this article! It helped clarify some things for me about INTP vs INTJ. I have tested both, with low scores on the P or J side, but a bit more often INTP. Somehow the scores for J vs P don’t seem that applicable to this character type I think. I recognise parts of both profiles in my behaviour and thought patterns, which makes it rather complicated, but this article made me believe I am probably an INTJ rather than an INTP, but maybe you can clarify a bit as well?

    1) Primary Intuition vs Primary Thinking
    If I understand this correctly, INTPs would start at data, where INTJs start at ideas. I tend to start at ideas, and then see if there is data that matches those ideas. As I am growing older, I notice I am not that interested in actually finding the data, and prefer that others would do this and come back to me to see if it supports my ideas. As a child, I also had a massive and vivid imagination, and was able to understand abstract concepts and translate them to reality quickly. For example, when I was 5, my father gave me a small booklet on how an internal combustion engine worked. I read it, and said I now knew how it worked. Baffled, him and my brother challenged me, took me outside and showed me a real engine, and I was able to point it all out.

    At the same time however, I can sift through data looking for patterns and find inconsistencies. I know data doesn’t speak the truth, as it depends on where it was registered and for what purpose (which is also what I do professionally). Yet, I am not sure if this is an INTP trait or INTJ.

    2) Insecurities
    I both hate being wrong and being vulnerable, but probably hate the second more. Few people “know” me and understand what drives me. Yet if I am wrong, I do not mind being pointed at that, as it is an opportunity to learn, but at the same time I have been told more often than once that I can also be very closed off to new ideas and perspectives.

    3) Emotions
    Oohhh boy. Emotions are my weak spot, and I have trouble handling them. I know they’re they’re, but I hardly show them. Negative emotions hit home and I can regonise them, but positive emotions I tend to notice due to their ‘side-effects’. For example, I notice love by the fact that I miss someone, or joy by the fact that I am relaxed.

    I do not recognise the temper tantrums described, but when I am hurt or feel insecure emotionally, I tend to flee rather than fight. I recognise the feeling of anger, but it boils inside me rather than erupt. It will express itself in sneering comments, or in a passive attitude.

    4) Hygiene, personal status and organization
    Personal hygiene is very high on my list. I won’t go out the door without being properly bathed, and I learned it is ok to not shave for a day (and hardly have any facial hair anyway). I do like status and what car I drive or what impression I make on someone, but that also feels a bit like learned behaviour. The remark “I’ve known INTJs that wished someone would just come along and organize their space for them, but until that happened they were merely going to shut off sensory awareness and not acknowledge the disaster around them.” really hit home though. I thoroughly appreciate a clean and orderly environment, yet I loathe creating it. I bring order when there is no other alternative, but prefer that someone else creates that order. Same professionally – I like a project planning and prefer to have one, but refuse to create one myself as I know I can improvise and do it on the fly anyway. I have uttered the remarks “I’ll take care that someone takes care of me” as a child, which seems telling here as well.

    5) Intellectual integrity vs brutal honesty
    This one I really don’t know, but again lean towards the INTJ part. I am not always honest, and think I prefer intellectual integrity. If I think I am wrong, I will search out what is needed to regain my confidence in being right. That can be data however, but it can also be ideas. I prefer ideas, and then search for data, rather than the other way around.

    I guess I am answering my own question, and should look more into the INTJ profiles than INTP, but it is so weird that I test INTP more often than INTJ. I also have had feedback both ways – that I can be stubborn, judgmental and somewhat rigid in my ideas, but that is usually when I have made up my mind. At the same time I have heard that I am open to new ideas, flexible and eager to learn.

    Either way, INTPs and INTJs don’t seem like the easiest persons to be around 🙂

    Again, thanks for the article Antonia. I also really like how you renamed the cognitive functions to something more intuitively understandable.

    • Nick

      Victor, great comment. I find myself in a similar quandary, having tested as both INTP and INTJ (my guess is due to the differing semantics of the questions and my interpretations thereof.) I’ve been disappointed with the various explanations of what an INTJ or an INTP ‘is,’ so I decided to explore the roots of Jungian typology (which MBTI evolved from.) Both Jung and Isabel Briggs Myers place importance on the more fluid nature of typology (type as an orientation, not a destination,) which seems to make things a bit clearer. What I mean by that is this: perhaps you are an INTJ who has learned certain Perceiving habits through environmental (social, familial, cultural) influences, or like myself, perhaps you are an INTP with learned Judging behaviors (but not innate, an important distinction.) It might be interesting to figure out how you answer the type indicator questions (this is what I should/usually do, this is what I want to do, etc…) Added to this concept of learned behavior, Jung talks about the Shadow Self, those hidden qualities that must balance out our extraverted tendencies. How do our shadow selves reveal their personalities in daily or high stress situations? Hope you’ve found some sense of fulfillment and comfort in your quest to understand yourself, cheers! (I’d love to hear if you’ve had any more thoughts in recent months about your type and its significance to you!)

  • Jason

    A very insightful article and one that personally vetted many of my personal observations with telling INTJ’s and INTP’s apart. For the record, I am an INTJ. Some observations on the points you have raised Antonia…

    1. As a perspectives user, I love watching my mind sift through probabilities. And yet, when I try to explain this concept, it produces confusion in the ears that listen while at the same time inspiring thoughts that I’m a weirdo. Hence, I tend to hide/camouflage this ability for fear of drawing unwanted attention or expending energy on futile endeavors. Yet, when an INTP explains accuracy as a driving process, its seen as more ‘socially acceptable’ process? The point being that INTJ’s hide/camouflage there perspectives driving process whereas INTP’s are more open about there accuracy process. Hence, when I am in a room with the 2 types, I tend to distinguish them based on this observation.

    2. Definitely put off by being vulnerable :). In fact, a sizable part of my being is devoted to understanding and combatting this vulnerability. You mentioned that many INTJ’s had impeccable personal grooming? This for many is also seen as armor – a means to address vulnerability. I suspect for many INTJ’s, its also seen as a means to blend in…to not be seen as different because many INTJ’s self actualize at an early age and know that they are intrinsically different from most people.

    3. Alot of people just don’t understand how emotionally sensitive and receptive we are. There have been to many incidences in my life where I have assumed the emotional mantle of another and then started crying uncontrollable all the while my brain is taking notes and doing analysis. The sad thing is, most of the world will never get to see this vulnerability. Hence, its easy to spot an INTP because they are more open and honest about there emotions whereas for the INTJ, its a secret.

    4. Dead give away between an INTJ and INTP :P. I have however noticed that more mature INTJ’s start to replace effectiveness with originality and authenticity in later life. Instead of trying to blend in with the rest of society on clothing requirements, we tend to emulate our INTP brethren in adopting a style that is original…something that speaks towards our individuality.

    5. Your last point had me confused. Radical honest vs Intellectual integrity? I think both groups practice these concepts. They are not mutually exclusive to one another.

  • Daphne

    Hello!!! I loved your article! And laughed a lot by some of the thing I read because they were so true! I am a INTP-a and I really found this interesting because my younger sister (still a teenager) is an INTJ and this sometimes brings some head-bumping with each other… Although I think she is growing as a person and that makes her mor tolerable for me and I would like to think that I’m growing too cause like you said “I don’t mind being proven wrong anymore” I actually prefer when someone tells me that I’m wrong and shows me why; then of course I spend tons of hours researching everything. Some things I thought were confusing for me… Because I actually am extremely introspective and not because I say so, I actually did some tests that my high school psychologist asked me to (about type of intelligence and stuff) and one of my highest was Intra-personal Intelligence although the highest one was Spatial Intelligence and the existential one…ok I’m getting out of subject! Anyway my confusion was about that if that was the same thing as that type of intelligence and funny enough I suck at math…I just don’t care enough but I’m excellent debating and just finished my major in Philosophy so, I suppose that being good at math it’s not an strict rule 😀 lol… Anyway I would like some advice to know how to treat my little sis and help her become the best version of herself, because she is so intelligent but she has some trouble in controlling herself (gets irritated very easily when she hears something that makes no sense) and criticises a lot when that happens and well I tell her that is she just accepts that some people or events are stupid and that she can’t do anything about that and makes no sense to feel angry about it then she will be happy… 😀 because well That’s what I do..

    • Daphne

      By the way
      What is your conception on these two Types and their view on religion… Because I would like to explain to my mum the reason behind me being an atheist but without hurting her feelings with my honesty… :/

      • Patricia

        I’ll have to say, I’m also interested. As an INTJ (26yo), I’ve found great personal development through religion (I kid you not). Although it is mostly an intellectual sort of faith, my Religion of choice is, thankfully, completely coherent in its teachings. With a load of intellectual reading material, from theological studies to academic articles, it is not merely “God said so, and you’ll have to trust me on this”, but more “God said so, and here is the proof”.

        In the aspect of INTJ ‘arrogance’, for example, it helped me ‘open up’ a little. As silly as it may sound, but all the “love your neighbor” teachings, when truly studied and explained and applied in real life (there is a lot of theology and action in there), helped me to reign in my 10 Yr Old in the social aspect. Empathy, understanding that the wrongdoings* of others is not a complete representation of them, is usually great when trying to NOT be so stuck-up and emotional**. Also, having a moral code ‘set in stone’ (ha!) is great to curb any doubts when ethics come into play (and, as a nurse, they come into play a lot).

        My 3Yo old (Sensation) is also happily asleep in the back seat. Adding ‘eternal damnation’ to the list of cons really helps one to stop over-eating; more so than the mere knowledge that it is unhealthy (both physical and mentally). But now I jest…

        I think the hardest parts of being an INTJ has always been relating to others and being useful. Most of the action happens in my head, and that is… depressing. I overthink problems that do not exist (yet), imagine my response to situations to which I am not exposed, and even possible conversations happen mostly in my head. Finding religion and deciding on being a Nurse (which focuses on the random variables that are human beings) fixed both of those problems, and gave me something to use my brain AND my heart on. And, although a math-and-physics-loving geek, I am glad that I was put on this way (by God or chance; but I’m betting on the first one) rather than my first choice in life (engineering).

        * Wrongdoings, for me, are when “others don’t make sense”. In answer to Daphne’s sister problems, I’d suggest showing her that, when people do or defend an idea we are opposed to, to think of them as people with less information than us. Not that they are stupid, as that is not charitable, but that they do not have the data necessary to reach OUR understanding of stuff. And we ARE usually right-er 😛
        ** The emotion was always anger, and a need to hit someone on the head. Discussing polemic issues (hello, nurse! We have so much polemic in this area) was enough for me to consider humanity as a whole doomed.

        • steve

          Bunk. I suggest more logical thinking on your part to strip away any silly inclinations you may harbor about the existence of “god”. You’ve a tremendous mind there, use it to it’s max potential. Stop kidding yourself and wasting resources on nonsense. You’re a physics geek? you should know better!

          • Emily

            hahahahaha. That’s me laughing at you for being such a stereotypical internet atheist.

        • Cam

          Patricia, are you one of JW? You smack of it. It would be a good thing. 🙂

        • Gail Gardner INTP

          It is quite possible to come to believe via an intellectual process. See

          Make your own decisions.

          • Ac

            Objectively speaking, you can not prove that inclinations about the existence of God are silly, a waste of mental potential, or nonsense any more than anyone else can prove that it is absolute truth, and therefore sensible. The “silly” comment just strikes me as a jab more than anything, and really doesn’t do your argument or position of intellectual high-ground any favors.
            Anyway, it seems to me that the greater waste of mental potential would be to dismiss possibilities without defensible cause. If it cannot be proven either way, it seems irresponsible to then simply dismiss it out of hand and decide on one conclusion.
            Faith taken separately, this position at least seems to stand to logic.

        • Brian

          Tell yer mom that if she was born on the other side of the world her religion would be different. Case closed IMO

          • Brian

            My case seems unusual of sorts. I have always been a truth seeker guided by inner knowing, is the best way to explain it. A moral compass and highly sensitive. I have an extremely strict filtering process for what I accept as truth and am always challenging or willing to challenge my own conclusions and accept a higher truth if there is one. I had a spiritual awaking, or whatever you want to call it, at 30 yrs old that I did not ask for nor was I seeking. I was seeking answers, I guess you could say, but for me to believe (or know) in what I know now, it would need to be proven to me. And it was… Through rigorous tests of my own coupled with unique and extremely beneficial life experiences, intuition, and dare I say… guidance. I hated my feelings when I was younger, even blocked them out and pushed them down. Certain events transpired and I was forced (willingly through realization) to forgive and reincorporate my emotions with my logical analytical self. I now refer to myself as one that utilizes both equally. My mom is 99% intuition 1% logic, maybe thanks to her? lol. Anyhow, what is the diagnosis for being both? I still claim both.

          • Brian

            Btw there is no God, we all all Gods. We are all energy, we are all one. There are creator Gods (ET’s) and there is Prime Creator, Source. I don’t expect you to be able to believe or incorporate what I was saying as I would not have been able to do unless it was proves to me and put through my own rigorous, continuous, unforgiving tests for Truth. None the less – facts are facts 😉 Sometimes I wish it didn’t happen to me but it doesn’t last long. Ignorance is not bliss for me, even when I want it to be, I am still always seeking Raw Truth. I will never settle for less.

    • Shae Cloud

      Searching Google for “INTP” “interpersonal” and “visual spatial” intelligence led me to your comment. Good to know I’m not the only INTP with highest scores being visual spatial and intrapersonal intelligence. Identification achieved next level of understanding thyself unlocked!

      • Shae Cloud

        Searching Google for “INTP” “intrapersonal” and “visual spatial” intelligence led me to your comment. Good to know I’m not the only INTP with highest scores being visual spatial and intrapersonal intelligence. Identification achieved next level of understanding thyself unlocked!

  • Asma

    Dear Antonia,
    Thanks for the time and effort you put into this. It’s very refreshing and insightful.
    The time I spent reading your articles was effective 😉

    An INTJ fan here, wish you a meaningful day.

  • Sandra

    Thank you for the article! I’ve just realized, after listening to your podcast about developed and undeveloped decision-making, that my husband is actually an INTP instead of an INTJ as he always tests. When I compared the decision-making and driver processes between the two types, I couldn’t get past the idea that he was an accuracy driver. Accuracy/exploration just made so much sense to me for him. But, I was certain that he was a “J” because of his extreme need for order in his environment. This article did a great job of helping me understand the apparent inconsistency. However, he has expressed to me many times that he needs an orderly environment to have an orderly mind, which is definitely “J”. Do INTPs ever express a need for order in those terms?

    • Eeshan

      Yes. I wish I had someone to organize all my mess. Too lazy and egoistic to do it on my own. But the day its too messy for my standards when I enter my workstation I pick up all the tools (see it was important to mention this picking up part to show how painful it feels when I actually have to take care of all the details of the task on my own) and start cleaning the place in a way that would make my family proud. Even if its the first thing in the morning.

  • D

    This was a great read! I’ve always tested as an INTP, but I also always worried that I might not be entirely honest with myself and answer test questions in a way that felt novel, or that allowed me to identify with some image I wanted to represent. I am thinking this is my Fe poking and tormenting me, maybe. It’s been in my mind a while, but recently a person I recently had as a lab partner in a course I took spurred some research – what type are they? Interacting with them felt a bit like me, yet they were incredibly good at retaining information from very little lecturing, while I sat there wondering why it worked the way it did, and what it could do? He sometimes looked at me like he thought I was dumb, heh. I didn’t care much TOO much.

    But, anyways, then it came back to me and this research had me second guessing myself… am I an INTP? Maybe INTJ? Maybe ISTP? I analyze myself a lot, and am very aware of my feelings, I do learn hands on, try to improve myself when I see the need, I can be a perfectionist, but I am very open and love the idea of anything being possible. I also don’t care about appearances.

    Because of that, I’ve been bouncing around trying to determine which I am. Although, I decided that I am not an ISTP, and that my Ne might resemble Se on occasion, so I was left with INTP vs INTJ, which you just clarified. TADA! I am an INTP…I think! I mean, after reading this I am pretty sure.

    Just that when I read about other types, I think back and wonder about my personality, and how it’s changed. It seemed to have been more of an ISTP personality when I was pre-teen, more of INTP as a teen, and into my twenties when I began to take life more seriously I felt more like an INTJ! But, I imagine this has something to do with learning to fit into professional and academic environments? I’ve noticed that, to fit in and make anything of myself I’m gonna need to adapt and fit in. It doesn’t feel permanent, though. At times I just feel like I could understand or be just about any type, or at least imitate any of the cognitive functions.

    Anyways, I wanted to say thank you! I think you did a great job identifying pertinent info and creating some correlations that really resonated with me! Some stuff I haven’t read anywhere else before. Good job!

    It might be a huge undertaking, and I’m not sure what I am exactly suggesting you do here, but, I would love to see an article with this level of discernment pinpointing how each type could go about identifying each other type. I always see people wanting to identify types. Maybe that would be too broad? The cognitive functions could be more specific!?… hmmmm. Gah, I’m still typing? /novel

    • D

      Aaaand you have a program dedicated teaching people how to speed read others, already. Awesome, that was quick!

    • Antonia Dodge

      Glad it was helpful! If you are an INTP it’s not surprising you’d feel like a Sensor at times. Your tertiary mental process (what we call the 10 Yr Old in the car model) is Introverted Sensing, a process for which you’re going to feel a strong connection.


  • cyr3n

    These articles are always amusing .. it seems like the INTP’s and INTJ’s are the ones taking all these temperament tests while the rest of humanity traipses through their daily routine of 9-5, gym, sportsball, nightcap, nookie, then bedtime.

    Unequivocally, it sucks to be a female INTP because everything a female is “supposed” to be is the anti-thesis of this temperament type. So basically, you’re foraged for ideas by others who take credit for your work and then you’re quarantined off so you can still be used but expected to take all the social bullying because you’re not part of the in-crowd. Male INTPs are held in high status, their emotional failings brushed aside due to their vast manliness and obvious analytical advantage. When they get difficult to deal with, they’re appeased. When a female INTP gets difficult to deal with, they’re avoided, character assassinated, or killed (who’d miss them?).

    Here’s the problem though. The only people who’d actually see the logical reason why the femme-INTP feels wronged is a male INTP or INTJ. But these guys are too busy drinking their own ideological koolaid to really see what’s going on in the fox-hole. And the truth is inconvenient..

    Don’t worry, those male INTPs and INTJ’s.. have a bitch of a time finding girlfriends. Because women are all crazy and illogical. Yet when presented with a female INTP or INTJ.. they’re uncomfortable because she doesn’t fit neatly into one of their templates.

    The matrix is cruelest to those that it sees as a threat. Be good to each other INTP/INTJ.

    • Julia Hawkes

      Thanks for the virtual hug (: I made sure to
      give it to myself… Also, I really appreciate the depth of thought that is showcased in this article. I was getting tired of reading articles and blog posts from people who were basing their perceptions of different personality types off of stereotypes…so, thanks for the accurate originality.

    • INTPondering

      Truer words were never spoken. We INTP women are at an unparalleled social disadvantage. It gets easier in midlife as Fe develops, but it’s still hard. Ultimately, I’ve found it easier to make my own way in the world and live a peaceful, solitary life of the mind than to twist myself inside out trying to live up to social expectations that I wasn’t designed to meet.

      • Gail Gardner INTP

        We are the kind of woman a man wants as a mistress rather than a wife – someone exciting and intellectually stimulating – but more than he wants to deal with on a regular basis. Someday, maybe we will find a man who is man enough.

    • Elistra

      No, it’s because they want a girl who is inferior to themselves, so they can have the more powerful position in the relationship. They get greater security and more ego boost that way, see?

      Don’t worry. Sooner or later, most INTx males get sick of being cheated on, lied to, and jerked around by xSFJs who, stupid as they are, are STILL smarter than the “little head” the immature INTx male was thinking with, when he asked them out. 😛

      It is at this point when the INTx male becomes uncommonly receptive to his natural partner, the female NT.

      Patience, my sisters. 😉

      — Middle-aged ENTJ female

      • Ac

        It seems even we supposed “thinker” types aren’t immune to biased or emotionally colored conclusions. Perspective, expectations, and feelings, whether they’re hurt or pleased are always waiting in the wings to throw reasoning for a loop. The moment you stop looking, there this problem is, rearing its head again and “muddying the waters”.

        -INTP (Female, in case this point is at all relavent.)

        • Ac

          P.S. Doesn’t this argument seem to go against the logical analysis of systems and general disregard for our ‘place’ in society that are supposed to be markers of our types (at least for the INTPs)?
          P.P.S. Anyway, personally, I’ve always thought of social surroundings as a machine, operating in a particular way that I can take actions to cause particular results in. The way I’ve always seen it, any system can be gamed. Used or worked with to achieve an end. It’s just a matter of understanding and ability. In a system, particular actions achieve particular, often predictable results. It seems like its just a matter of deciding if you care about the system, if so, what result you want, then, what actions would illicit that result in the system in question.

      • Alex

        Please note that just because one is an xxFx type does not mean he/she is unintelligent. I am an INFJ woman with an INTP man, and we help balance each other out. He brings me back to earth with logic when my imaginative intuition and emotions are running rampant. I remind him that he is living on earth with other people (whether he likes it or not) and that sometimes compassion and thinking of others’ perspectives can improve his happiness and make certain situations less taxing. In other words, I elevate his F and he elevates my T.

        We are all individuals, and at the end of the day the person who fits best with you may be different than you’d expect.

        And, on another note, my INTP certainly does not find me inferior. I doubt a mature INTP would waste his/her time on someone who doesn’t challenge them, interest them, and can’t keep up with, or at least appreciate, that fantastic mind.

      • Eric

        Ugh. Idk where these kinds of men are, but just reading this makes me roll my eyes. I get a lot of women are frustrated, but I think your assumptions about men are hurting you just as much as anything really happening. I can see men that are xSTJs, ESTPs, ENTJs, and INTJs wanting an “inferior” woman. These types love dominating.

        But INTPs? No way. Constant dominance games, in which the INTP plays either role, are going to get tiring as hell. They want equals. Speaking for myself, dominance games as a form of adult play are damned fun, but outside that context being in the company of “inferiors” is boring and “superiors” is stifling and eye-rolly.

        I’ll take NT females any day. Except for the insecure, emotionally unintelligent, ie immature NT female, they’re otherwise my desired equal.

    • Eric

      I think you have some misconceptions and have over generalized about male INTPs (and INTJs, but I’m here to defend my type specifically).

      Put simply: I’m a Hell No to any woman that doesn’t both give me intellectual food and prove that they have more clarity on certain subjects than I do. I’m most attracted to women that have a combination of wit, intelligence, clarity, and physical attractiveness. Given all of this, the only women I seem to sustain interest in anymore are ENTPs, INTPs and ENTJs, in that order. I’ve stopped dating INFJs and all sensors – not by choice but that just seems to be the pattern.

      Perhaps female INTPs have it even rougher (I get it – analytical female is going to feel misunderstood), but society does not give a break to male INTPs in the slightest. We’re generally seen as effeminate, or at least socially awkward, nerds rather than anything resembling manly. ESxx types dominate our social paradigms, with ISxJ types being acceptable as well, and if you fall outside that group, regardless of gender or type, you’re going to have it rough. Do you think the general population really prefers us compared to, say, ESTJs or ESTPs?

      Additionally, keep shining your unique light. There’s guys out there looking for NT females. Sensory females are boring to a lot of us and NF females are often too difficult to bridge the communication gap with.

  • Re

    As one just learning about my INTJ, each article has been enlightening and such a relief to begin to understand who I am and what makes me tick.

    A couple things:
    “wished someone would just come along and organize their space for them, but until that happened they were merely going to shut off sensory awareness and not acknowledge the disaster around them.” Yup except I won’t let anyone do it!!! Big big no no. I am very visual and I remember through visualization where the last place something was put. I often end up having to keep it there forever regardless if it’s a rational place or not. I use to save every little paper that someone gave me with contact info. Even if I already put it in my phone. Pegged them all to a corkboard. I visually remembered the piece of paper and handwriting plus where it was on my board. I could quickly grab it when needed. I can’t remember names for the life of me. I call my mess disorganized organization. Family laughs because I can tell you in a stack of papers exactly how far down the one needed is even if not touched in months.

    The “wall” hit home beyond belief. When I was 17 a friend said to me, “You have this huge impenetrable wall around you.” I looked at him like he grew 3 heads, yet that was all to mask the fear of being found out!!! Yep, I don’t get angry nor cry. When I have it shocked my sister and mother and they were like, “it’s about damn time.”

    Concerning outward appearances I completely agree. All i did was because it was necessary. Now, it’s my own personality, how I fewl, what I want. Yeah as a female INJ, love fashion as an art, but wear what looks good and fits who I am as a person.

    “there is no such thing as data separate from the person holding that data. That is to say, our perceptions will always color the information we carry and so data is never ‘clean’. This is why an INTJ will frequently counter an inquiry for a piece of data with the question, “Why do you want to know?”

  • Re

    Shoot darn submit button. Ugh…
    that last quote had me laughing so hard!!
    “The context changes the content, and so if they don’t know why you want to know they can’t produce the data.” HOME RUN! ! Out of the ballpark! You clarified something not only could I not put into words, but no one seems to get whether you explain or not!!

    Keep writing, the insight you have is so beyond helpful. I value each post more that the other.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback! I’m glad so much of the information is resonating with you. 🙂

  • Re

    Btw…I left my 3 yr. old somewhere. Lol…seems that maybe I never had one. I never went excessive in anything like, alcohol, drugs, food, shopping etc. I always saw what the repercussions or played out all the scenarios that could take place and just couldn’t no matter what justify the outcome being worthwhile for a bit of excess. I’ve always dealt fantastic with stress even though I do get anxiety I can work my way through it mentally.

    • Charis Branson

      The 3 yr old can show up in different ways. I’m an INFJ so I have the same driver and 3 yr old as you do. I find if I’m filling my extraverted sensing need in other ways it doesn’t get so destructive (as in overeating, overdrinking, etc.). So, if you engage in regular exercise, yoga – or anything that gets you out of your mind and into your body – you are feeding your toddler and keeping it from acting out in unhealthy ways.

      • Re

        Thanks. That makes sense. Yes I love hiking and running trails. I think it is an area I need to find a consistent healthy outlet for as most still keep me in “mind” though music while running helps. I tend to get obsessive with hobbies my one weakness I think. When I love doing something, I do it sometimes to the extreme. Hmmm…guess that’s the 3 year old in me after all.

  • Mars

    I am an INTJ, bug also I am an INTP too.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for your comments, Mars! If you are an INTP and INTJ you would be the first person in history to be two types. More than likely you are one type.

      Check out this PHQ podcast on the various reasons we identify with personality types that aren’t authentic to us: (and don’t get hung up on the word “trauma.”)

      • Francis

        Hi! This is not the only case in history … I am also INTJ and I recognize myself there but depending on the type of test questions 2 answers seem possible, join together according what situation? and consistent with our personality, everything depends on the adaptability of each in its environment. Having already done the test several times, I’m INTJ often, but it happens that the test identifies me as an INTP …

        • Charis Branson

          I wasn’t saying that no one has ever been typed differently by tests. That happens all the time. I was saying no one can be two distinct personalities. Personality tests are not consistent across the board and people answer questions differently depending on how they feel at the time they take the test. So, of course people are going to be typed differently. I have taken different tests that have typed me as an INTP, INFJ, and ISTP. Does that mean I am all those personalities? No. I have only ONE personality type. Just like everybody else.

          This article explains why we do not believe it is possible for someone to be two separate personalities.

      • Brian

        “Some of the most wonderful people are the ones who don’t fit into boxes”

    • Brian

      Make that the 2nd person in history. 😛

      -Willing to be proven wrong

  • Mars

    But my testing results of “Your Genius Test” is INTP, but I know I am also an INTJ undoutedly, I am the big mixed of them.

  • Lenviev LR

    I had always believed I was INTP. I consistently tested as INTP through 5 years. But ever since I turned to cognitive functions test, INTJ has just completely dominated my profile.

    I’d like to think I don’t care about facts, routines or plans and I’m only interested in ideas, future possibilities and unknown adventures. But when I’m working, I make plans for everyone in my team and monitor their progress and can get very annoyed when someone fail to meet deadlines or work quality expectation. I am obsessed with Efficiency to the point of offending people. My Fe is terrible but Fi is very high.

    Now I’m starting to think could I have been a lazy and procrastinating INTJ all along, and not a true INTP? But apart from work matters, I’m purely just interested in ideas and like to ponder on and research abstract ideas/-isms for a long time. I have different approach to all the matters my circle is discussing and I just want to be an observer.

    Now I’m not so sure of myself anymore. Could you help me make a case of it?

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment Lenviev! Sometimes it helps to ask yourself what you do when you are not feeling at your best. This can clue us in to what inferior functions you may be using.

      For instance, when stressed do you have a tendency to become emotionally manipulative of others. Even bullying other people to garner sympathy and get your needs met? (Harmony 10 year old pointing to INTP.)

      Or, do you have a tendency to become obsessed with your own convictions regardless of evidence to the contrary? Do you lean towards self-indulgence and want everything to feel good as opposed to right? (Authenticity 10 year old pointing to INTJ.)

      INTJs can be remarkably lazy if they haven’t found anything to inspire them, and are spending most of their time in the back seat of their car. (Trust me on this, I’m married to an INTJ.:))

      When you are leading your team, streamlining processes, and talent scouting do you feel the most gratification and excitement? Your use of the word “Efficient” leads me to believe you might be an INTJ, but you need to adopt what feels most authentic to you. Have you read this article?

  • CS

    I’ve always tested and identified as an INTJ but I’m realizing that I may be “degrading to an INTP” as your article puts it. A series of chronic illnesses has isolated me and I spend a lot more time in my own head may be one cause of this. Anyway, I’m trying to dig out of several holes right now, and I think a good way to start would be by exercising my “co-pilot.” Since I’m not sure whether that would be “Effectiveness” or “Exploration,” what ways specifically could I exercise both to yield the best potential results? Thank you in advance for your help in this!

  • Nathanael

    Nice article. I think just cant seem to find enough information to determine who I am between the INTP and INTJ because test can’t seem to help, my results are always randomly INTP or INTJ. Though the more I search to find out where I really belong the more I feel anxious and afraid that if I found out I was one I would lose the characters of the other I posses. If you can help:

    Personal behaviours are, Private and secretive, I do not feel comftable to talk, eat or drink in the presence of people I have just met, for talking at least until I am convinced I know them better. Kind of feel better if I did my work alone, not much of a fan of group work. I feel uncomfortable if people know or try to know more about me than I know about them. I do to people what I would want them to do to me. I am untidy than tidy in most cases

    I am have a thing for parttens, I would go to the library and look at books on the shelf and get uncomfortable with the arangement of books of different heights and sizes in one row, or my favourite, tiles on the floor, I can’t seem to let go of issues like some square pieces of tules are halved. I think it comes from the fact that I would always want to calculate the area or volume or dimensions of every shape I see, and swing irregular shapes just annoys me. The other thing is information accuracy. I always doubt myself too much, always have a thing of going through information thoroughly every once in a while as if am not sure of its validity or reliability. I would present well researched information with ‘I think’ as if to provide room for correction or improvement. I am only sure of a few information, that’s why when I work on personal something I would rather keep it a secret until its done as if I would not want to tell people about something which I might not succeed at. Further more, when I work on something I plan it very carefully taking risks and possible negative outcome into account. I do not like it when things I have planned very carefully don’t work out, I get frustrated and can’t seem to focus. I somehow have an ability or knowing what amount of effort I should applly on what I do to achieve the outcomes I want, I seem to automatically know how to manage my efforts and resources, for instance if I read less for my exams, it turns out to hace the exact of what I read and does not have what I did not read. I prefer the truth over comfort, better the bitter truth than a sweet like, I prefer understanding a subject than being a master of a subject by title. I am good at estimating and predicting, I would find an answer to a mathematic question first before I can work out a way to reach that answer. When I meet a new person I first keep quiet and shy, I would just know a bit of who they are then and it turns out to be right most of the time.

    Lastly my learning process, if I am to learn a new thing or new information I have to eliminate all possible doubts by asking a lot of questions to understand the new thing, I would want to paint a specific vivid picture of a thing by asking you how does the new thing differ from the existing things which are similor or almost related to it charactaristicaly or and physically.

    I would be happy if someone defined me. If needs be, email me to ask me questions on who I am.

    • Charis Branson

      Hi Nathanael! First a disclaimer: Typing people thru email can be difficult. That said, most of what you said above screams INTJ to me. Start exploring that type (plug it into the search bar on our site and you will find plenty of content).

      Here is a Youtube video we did on INTJs:

  • Ela

    I really enjoyed reading your article, but Tesla’s name was not Nikolai, it was Nikola. Please could you correct it?

  • Jacob

    Thanks really good article
    I am an INTJ – I have 2 questions about these type
    1-is these types tend to have lower EQ than others?
    2-is N type person more Right Brained than S type and T type is more left-brained than F type ?

    • Jacob

      I Apologize if some mistype or mistake is in my sentences I’m not a native English.

    • Charis Branson

      Have you listened to this podcast re: Emotional Intelligence:

      There are different schools of thought in regards to right/left brain. Dario Nardi did a study that seemed to reveal all personality types use all parts of their brains at different times. So, we hold to the belief that anyone can be right or left brain.

      For instance, I’m a Feeler but I have never been very creative. Whereas my sister-in-law is a Thinker and she is crazy creative. I also know some incredibly creative Sensors.

      Hope that helps answer your question!

      • Jacob

        Thanks Ms Branson please check this link

        I think perhaps you are an extroverted feeler(left-brained) and your sister is an introverted thinker(right-brained).

        I find out that many different personality of one type exist for example different INTJs.
        although I believe every one just have one Dominant Personality but I always think and find out every one has a second personality that help to the Dominant for example INTJ with second INTP few person have two the same, INTJ with second INTJ .
        and I believe two personality is in the same group for example both are in group of NTs. otherwise that person have some psychological issue in some degree.
        I read a lot of books and article and its my Idea and not just a guess
        could you please think and argue about it with your team perhaps it can solve this ambiguous in many people that believe in two types for one person.
        and thanks for your time and good advices
        -Best regard

        • Brian

          Depends on your perception and understanding of creative does it not? I would say you are immensely creative by being here. Man I hate the English language. Devils tongue I say! Too open-ended. Whoever made this language up had bad intent. Hebrew and Latin was fine. If it’s not broke don’t fix it. And definitely don’t improve it whilst secretly having bad intent. Ugh.. heh

  • Anon

    I’ve never been sure which of these types I am. I always test INTJ but the J is always much lower than the rest(I am usually about 10% J compared to upwards of 60% on the othe three) and I can relate to both of the descriptions. Having read this article I would type myself as INTJ. Looking back I’ve noticed that most of the experiences I’ve used to relate to the INTJ description have been from day to day life whereas most of the experiences I’ve used to relate to the INTP description have been from my studies(I’m a Maths student). Perhaps this is because as mathematicians we are taught to think the way an INTP does but the INTJ processes still feel more natural and are what I fall back to when taken out of that setting. I also read your article on the INTJ personality type and really like the exoskeleton description: I went through the “experience gluttony” last semester. In general though the article hit home even more so than most INTJ articles and really helped me to confirm my personality type.

    • Anon

      Another tiebreaker that I have found useful is how they decide what to do INTJ’s tend to have an objective and every possible action is judged based on how it helps to achieve that objective. There’s a quote from one of the Bourne movies where Nicky is describing Bourne and the other treadstone agents but could just as easily be a non-INTJ describing INTJ’s: “It’s not a mistake. They don’t make mistakes. They don’t do random. There’s always an objective. Always a target.” (Of course we do make mistakes, we’re only human after all, but we tend to be very good at hiding them from view: I frequently have people accuse me of being too smart to make mistakes which is obviously untrue.) INTP’s find this kind of thinking restrictive however and would much rather be in a sandbox environment, completely free to investigate anything that they notice interesting. They are quite happy to drop one idea at an unfinished state in order to explore another idea that appears more interesting.

      • Jacob

        This is very useful thanks Anon.

      • Laurie

        I think the concept of INTJ’s not doing random and that INTP’s are quite happy to drop one idea at an unfinished state in order to explore another idea that appears more interesting as a great litmus test. It really helped solidify that I am actually an INTP.

      • Cormunchma

        Learning perhaps. Decision-making, no. Nicki is referring to the operatives’ decision-making capacity, not their learning capacity. You’re gravely mistaken if you think INTPs approach decision-making that way.

        • INTPondering

          True. As an INTP, my decision-making process involves rigorously thorough evaluation of every possibility and then elimination of all but the best (least flawed) choice. It’s a serious, methodical process. I think Anon @4:05 got INTP decision-making confused with INTP work habits, which can indeed be scattered as we become bored by the subject at hand and distracted by newer, unexplored ideas.

      • Terrie

        I test out as not strongly either P or J.

        At work, the J comes to the front. “Give me a goal, and I’ll figure out how to get us there.”

        In my personal life, well, my brain is like a Wikiwalk. Pick a thread and see where it leads you.

        I’m actually pretty happy not to be strongly one or the other. Best (or worst) of both worlds, I suppose.

        • Brian

          Touche! 3rd person in history. Revolution Time lol

  • Charis Branson

    Thanks for your comments, Anon! I’m sure many readers will appreciate the distinctions you make regarding INTJs.

  • Johnny

    Great piece. With regard to your statement: “Which is why INTJs unconsciously vet people for their usefulness, not the data they hold (unless that’s how the person is ‘useful’).”…

    As an INTJ I love engaging new people in conversation when appropriate contexts arise. I do this by asking questions with genuine enthusiasm and interest. But my interest *is* “the data they hold” – what unusual or interesting (to me and them) topics or pursuits in which they engage.

    How people are “useful” to me – my unconscious motivation in engaging them – is ALWAYS “the data they hold”. Once I uncover that I can either share my limited knowledge on the subject, or learn more about it from them (and usually both, with the latter being far more mentally stimulating).

  • Johnny

    Oh one more thing about physical appearance and maturity. My goal with dress/appearance as an INTJ has always been to blend in with whatever cultural norms I am moving within. “Am I going to stand out in some way?” is the question I ask myself. I want to be unremarkable and basically invisible with regard to dress or accouterments.

    This motivation is frequently in conflict with my penchant for function, which always takes a backseat to fashion/form in my preference. “This hat stands out and makes me look like a weirdo” vs “this hat provides 50% more sun-blockage”. When I was younger I’d skip the hat but now I’ll wear the hat and struggle slightly with feeling that others perceive me as a weirdo.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks Johnny! I love vetting people for their useful information too. I have actually offended some people with my use of too many probing questions as I try to get to the bottom of something.

      As for dress, I would call that a personal trigger of yours. Maybe, for whatever reason, you were made to feel weird as a child and now have the superfluous need to blend. Whereas you shouldn’t feel that need anymore.

      Next time you are feeling uncomfortable for standing out, try to trace that feeling back to its earliest imprint. This will get you on the path to realizing your need to blend is no longer serving you and can be rejected now that you are a fully self-actualized adult. Maybe even give yourself a talking to. Assure that inner child that they are loved and accepted for who they are and being different is a cause for celebration, not avoidance. 🙂

      • Johnny

        Haha thanks Charis, I appreciate it. I’m pretty sure people DO think I’m a weirdo when they see me hiking in a pith helmet and Vibram toe shoes, because objectively and culturally the appearance is very unusual. Being okay with others’ negative assessments is a process and I do hope to master it someday.

        I haven’t discussed the topic with enough other INTJ’s to see if they share similar feelings on seeking to blend in culturally speaking. But I would be surprised if it weren’t somewhat common in the type.

        • Charis Branson

          I had to look up Pith Helmet on Google to see what you were referring to. It is very African Safari, isn’t it? If I stared at you for wearing that it would be because I didn’t know the hats existed outside of mid-twentieth century African films. 😉

          After reading your comment above, I asked my INTJ husband if he has an aversion to standing out and he said he did. I never realized it was a conscious choice on his part. He doesn’t stand out. Jeans/shorts and t-shirt are his common dress of choice. I thought it was based on comfort. But he admitted he would refuse to wear anything that attracted attention.

          On the other hand, I have a female INTJ friend who has worked on creating a specific image for herself that draws attention because it is the effective thing to do for the lifestyle she has chosen.

        • Smugorchid

          I’ve identified as an INTJ since I first took the MBTI 4 years ago. I’ll admit that at the time I took it I was shocked that I registered as a J and not a P – what with the ever present stack of papers (trinkets, books, etc.). Which my ESTJhusband has neatly gathered from my usual landing spots and piled somewhere to await my sorting. But ultimately I’ve felt pretty good about it being an INTJ.

          That is until recently when the INTP came into my radar. The description speaks to me in a lot of ways. For instance I get very obsessed with a subject. I learn quite a bit about it. Google the crap out of it. Read somewhere between 4 and 6 books on it. Then drop it like it’s hot for the next obsession.

          So I’m conflicted. And of course the answer to the conflict is to compare and contrast and hope someone has something to say that I didn’t think about yet. Which lead me here. To ideas about clothing specifically.

          Clothing for INTJ v. INTP how does it work? Not sure. But I do have a system for dressing. Before I share – let me backtrack.

          For years I’ve been obsessed with being appropriately dressed for a specific occasion. I could spend hours trying to find “the right” outfit. I don’t want to stand out. I want to be comfortable when I get there by wearing the comfortable pants but also by wearing an outfit that is an appropriate level of fashionable.

          One day I’d had it and made fashion the obsession. I looked at, poured over, and collected thousands of pictures. I read books and blogs and studied systems. Finally, I developed a system for me.

          I have a 4 season capsule wardrobe. Before the season changes I update the capsule with wardrobe staples. Which I determine based similarities in popular outfits for the season. I study their usage in photos to understand how they can be applied. Then when I feel that something will be the most comfortable thing (of the day) I go with it. But dress the item to match the setting based on my knowledge about how to use wardrobe staples. For example I may really feel comfortable in a spaghetti strap tank today but I’m headed to work. No problem add the black blazer.

          Since I started using this system I get a lot more compliments on my outfit. This makes me immensely uncomfortable. They’ve noticed (eek!) and I’m worried I’ve set some sort of unrealistic expectation for them.

          So I’m not sure if this is an INTJ or INTP or simply neurotic thing bUT I’d love to hear what people have to say.

  • Fabi

    This is an interesting read. I stumbled on it because I check my results every few years and try to gain a little personal insight.

    At the end of high school where I came across the Myers-Brigg test, I tested out at INTJ weak J. This remained consistent through college, until I had what I describe to be my “mid-college crisis,” where I had what I personally felt was a radical personality change because I was no longer regularly sheltered or monitored by my overly controlling mother. Since, I’ve been coming up with INTP weak P. This feels like the change in my world-view clicks with your descriptions of INTJ and INTP eerily well. You have literally described me in great detail as an INTJ teenager and an INTP adult. I used to be relatively in tune with myself and capable of doing the monkey dance, but I would rather use my lateral thought processes to jar people out of this boring lull that I read in their eyes.

    I used to want to be a doctor because it could afford my life many options and comfort. Now, I’d rather teach in the admittedly vain attempt to reach out to another brilliant mind.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Fabi! I hope you have finally found your authentic self. 🙂

    • Brian Sky Pelc

      You create your own reality, and have the power to augment it, regardless of personality type

  • Laurie

    Is it possibly that a person evolves into an different personality type as they get older? I am pretty certain that I am an INTP at this point because when I read about the different functions and type attributes (particularly the more in depth ones of INTP week), I find that I am pretty much the poster child for the INTP descriptions. I am certainly without a doubt an N, but the T and P are closer to the middle. When I was younger (like elementary and early high school) I feel I fit more of the descriptions of an INTJ. It is possible that I tried to fit in more then (with dress, ambition, etc to please others) so that I seemed to be more J but now that I am freer to be myself, I resonate with the P part of m personality.

    • Charis Branson

      Based on our observation no one actually becomes a different type over time. The type we have been since birth may refine itself, however, as we grow and mature. If you showed up as an INTJ at some point, it may have been environmentally influenced. You may have been raised by a Judger who instilled those ideals in you. As you spent time away from that environment, your authentic self would have surfaced.

  • Robert

    I understand most of this has subtlety differences. I am an INTJ to the core… and I could give two shits what people think about me. I’ve grown my hair out and my clothes are dingy… however I will put in a little more extra effort when going to a job interview or going out to speak for a formal event. But I refuse to shave -or- cut my hair.

    I’ve also had skin cancer and undergone a couple years of lost hair, which may be the reason for this as well as losing my hair (excessive receding hairline). I was also in the Marines for ten years so if you got your haircut every week (mandatory), would you ever get a haircut again?

    These are my life-experiences and I tend to follow your analysis concerning the authentic — and blind spots of effectiveness. Moreover, I am wondering what the differences is are in effectiveness vs. accuracy. Are these not very similar? What’s the nuances?

    Anyhow, I really appreciate what you’ve done here. This work is amazing and very well written, mapped out. I wish you the best.

    • Robert

      I wish I could edit this… I’m a perfectionist. Can you please change ‘subtlety’ to ‘subtle’ and take out the comma and replace it with and, in the second to last sentence? Yes I have OCD. It’s just a pet-peeve. If not oh-well… I guess I’ll have to live with it.. Even though I admit it bothers the shit outta me.

  • Heather

    Wow, 15 years of MBTI research and this is the first genuinely accurate description of the differences between the two types that i have found. As someone who at times fits both type descriptions, yet tests INTJ 90% of the time, this really helped clarify it for me. Hit the nail right on the head for me. Thanks!

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the honest assessment, Heather! I’m glad the information resonated with you so strongly. 🙂

  • Sesario

    Hi Antonie, i like your article, though i rarely agree with a random article about cognitive functions and MBTI. You sure are a good writer. I am seeing people are always debating about how cognitive functions work. I guess it is because the definition of each cognitive function itself has no clear enough cut lines between functions, and people tend to have different perspectives about it. So, recently i offered a framework to how each cognitive function works. You may want to take a look at it, so here is it:

    Please don’t judge my grammar, i am not a native speaker though. If you are interested, you can re-blog the framework into your blog and give it a source. I am just tired of how people won’t see any personality type with even a nearly perspective and questions like “how do you know you are X or Y?” are always be questioned. But, i can not judge them since the current definition of cognitive functions is not so firm enough that they see it in so many different ways.

  • Tiffanei

    I apologize ahead of time, but I found this link today after assuming I fit the intj model. I took my first test as a teen and scored infj. I assumed it was unchanging but then a few years back I took it again and scored INTP and then last year INTJ. Now, after reading your post I thought I found a bit of clarity. I enjoyed your article, but I must confess that even though I am an English teacher, some of the terminology is hard to understand. I have always looked at myself as intuitive but it seems to come from what I perceive and feel, not so much what I think, if that makes sense. I am 41 and while I would say I was sort of shy and geeky (which I loved) as a young girl, I always felt like I was different, viewing life through a different lens. I began to learn early on that certain things are acceptable and some, not so much so I adapted and begin to adopt the ways of my peers, almost like a mimic of what I saw and observed as “okay”. But as I got older, I began to question who I really was. I have been called cold, bitchy, snarky, certainly sarcastic, rude, etc. and it actually hurts because it’s like I don’t know how to be anything but me. I’m certainly introverted and can hyperfocus to the point that brushing teeth and bathing is an afterthought. I love all things sci-fi, taboo subjects, and paranormal or supernatural. Curious and interested in so many things, find researching to be a hobby, and find that most of my character traits are the extreme opposite of what women are supposed to be, by society’s standard, from another planet. I, too, feel like similarity between the two types makes it hard to truly tell where I fall. I love to watch, observe, and then store in my brain. I am a life long learner and love mental stimulation, perhaps to a fault, because I get stuck in my inner world. Emotionally, it is tricky because I was once told that I act bipolar, but I replied that I am passionate about things, hate girly chit chat, talking without a purpose, and “don’t suffer fools”. Even questioned aspergerish traits because while I get that woman should look the part, aside from my profession, I am content in jeans and teeshirts. But I also have a quirky eccentric sense of style that some appreciate and others loath. It took a student, two years ago suggesting I try nail polish and a bit of makeup and I was lost because it was never my thing nor did I know how to do some of the most basic stuff, related to make up. Perhaps if it were not for a neat freak, domineering mom, I might be messy but it’s almost engrained in me, now, that it too is a “no no”. Aside from , anger and fear, it is sometimes hard to truly tell what emotion I am feeling, aside from a tingling in my belly which I assume means I am happy or excited. I do overindulge when upset, with smoking, sex, and yummy foods, and I often wonder if I missed a calling to a job based in science, math, or medicine because my mind gravitates toward it although I have no background in any of the three. I realize at 41 that high school English teacher is not it as I believe my mind might surely turn to “mush” from the monotony which I hate!!! Can you offer any insight or suggestions on a distinction?

    • INTPondering

      Most of this reminds me of myself, and I am an INTP female. By the way, if you’re an INTP, the “bipolar” comments could be a reaction to the difference between your first two functions, Ti and Ne. Ti is our default state–calm, quiet, serious, ready to observe and introspect–but we don’t naturally present it to others. When socializing, we tend to present our Ne–engaging, quirky, witty, enthusiastic. However, since Ne is only our second function, we inevitably have to return to our Ti, and when we do, people can be really thrown for a loop. Where did that fun, talkative, curious person go, and who is this somber, critical, misanthropic killjoy? It can indeed be very confusing to others, and sadly, it can make them think we’re either mentally ill or faking some aspect of our personality…Nope, we’re just being who we are.

    • Alexandra

      Sorceress! You have stolen my essence! I strongly relate to each and every thing you said. Reading that was kind of eerie. I am an INTP, by the way. (Cue eye roll from INTJ’s) Dare I say that you have an edge to you? As an INTP I feel like Spock in Star Trek IV, he’s loosened up a bit, explores colorful language, dresses eccentrically, but still logical at the core.

  • Zac White

    Thanks for the Post. I enjoy reading about different personality types. I consider myself INTP but I’m very close to being INTJ as well. Anyone who knows me can say that I can clean up nice and dress well to look good. Other times my hair is unruly and they might say I look like a mad scientist. It all depends. I like to look good and sometimes I don’t think its that important and I don’t even think about how I look. I believe there is always a time where balance is a good thing. If I were too dress up and do my hair everyday It wouldn’t mean anything anymore and I would be used to it. If I never got ready and put in effort into my physical appearance than I would always look like a bum and I don’t believe it is good to never try to look nice. Anyways, I think INTP and INTJ are equal. Both have their pros and cons, but the best version would be a hybrid between the two. Although I can’t say I’m not a little biased.

  • Harris

    Thanks to this article.I’m always caught in between INTJ and INTP.But I already confirmed I am INTP,due to Ti vs Ni big difference.Before;I can’t tell the difference between Ni and Ti.This article is helpful.

  • INTPondering

    This is an insightful article with a lot of very accurate observations! Here are some basic, surface differences I’ve noticed between INTPs and INTJs:

    1. INTPs are more emotionally expressive than INTJs in conversation due to their inferior Fe. While both types are calm and reserved by default, INTPs who are actively engaged in a conversation that interests them can become quite animated. There may be lots of variation in tone of voice, rapidly changing facial expressions, and gesturing. INTJs, on the other hand, tend to speak in a relatively flat, unvarying tone and give away little of what they feel (Te-Fi). They can have an immobile, mask-like facial appearance that makes them hard to read.

    2. INTPs are generally sillier than INTJs because of their auxiliary Ne. While both types can be very humorous, INTPs who are in an environment where they feel comfortable may display a wackier, zanier sense of humor than INTJs do. INTJs usually have a dryer, subtler humor (Ni-Te) and may see INTPs as too silly at times.

    3. INTJs are less concerned with offending people than INTPs are. They often take the attitude that everyone should speak freely and authentically, and if others have a problem with that, then they need to grow a thicker skin (Te-Fi). INTPs, on the other hand, may believe this in theory but are more likely to avoid confrontation in practice because they can’t think straight in emotionally charged environments due to their inferior Fe.

    4. INTPs tend to ramble more than INTJs do. It’s not uncommon for an INTP to lose their train of thought several times while recounting a story or to insert seemingly random tangents (Ne). They err on the side of too much detail, and their posts and comments on the Web can look like a wall of text (Ti). In contrast, INTJs will be briefer, even terse, and will usually get right to the point. Their verbal descriptions often have better flow and continuity, moving easily from beginning to middle to end, without constantly doubling back and inserting vaguely related asides (Ni-Te).

    5. INTJs may gravitate toward physical activity and thrill-seeking behavior more than INTPs do. Because of their inferior Se, INTJs may have a penchant for skydiving, mountain climbing, or some other hobby that gets the adrenaline pumping. Some of them enjoy individual or even team sports. The INTPs I’ve known have been less interested in athletics or high-risk, physically demanding activities, even dismissing such pursuits as foolish or a waste of time.

    These observations are, of course, only based on personal experience, but I’ve found them to be consistent over time, and I think they offer a reasonable way of differentiating between INTx types pretty quickly. Know an INTx who’s expressive, silly, tangential, conflict-avoidant, and physically inactive? That’s probably an INTP. Nonexpressive, dry, terse, confrontational, and somewhat active or thrill-oriented? More likely an INTJ. Not the most flattering descriptions, I know, but I’m an INTP, so it’s not as if I’m sparing myself. 🙂

  • Trina

    This was so enlightening. I always get INTP but felt for awhile I fit better with INTJ. Even as I read the first comparison that started with INTJ I was feeling I fit better there. I am always talking about perspectives and aiming to choose mine. In any case, by the time I read the INTP I knew I was wrong. I am definitely INTP. Thanks for putting this together.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Trina! I’m glad this article helped you find your best fit type!

  • Tani

    I’m an INTJ, and my older sister is an INTP. I just wanted to say that I think this is the most accurate comparison I’ve seen. What I found interesting is that my sister has more recently been thinking that she might be an INFP because she didn’t know how to explain her emotional outbursts. But this explains her behavior perfectly. I think that 3yr old position will come out more often when someone is a “damaged” version of their personality. Since both come from a more than stressful household, and I have always found my Se to be more prominent than the average INTJ. My sister’s Fe seems more visible, more often, compared to other INTPs that I know.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Tani! It is true that you and your sister will find the most growth and happiness if you stay with your Driver and Copilot in the front seat. This comes from practice and experience. It’s okay to play with your 10 year old and 3 year old. Just don’t let them make major decisions.

      That said, Antonia has called the 3 year old our Aspiration. It influences us and gives us purpose. For an INTJ, this will show up as wanting to be present and enjoy the here and now. You may have a desire to bring your visions into the real world. For an INTP, this can show up as a need to honor the needs of others in some way far grander than the average person. Like Tony Hsieh of Zappos. He’s an INTP who has created an amazing work environment for his employees.

  • Amanda

    Im not sure if Ill ever know my type again. Over the past year off n on of taking tests of MBTI, I get INFP the most often, but I also recently get a mix of a LOT of the others. Over the past few years Ive primarily tested- INFP/INFJ/ENFP/INTP in that order most of the time but recently past few months Ive been getting even more of a range. On top of those, I now get ISFP/ISTP/INTJ/ISFJ and even have been typed in ESFJ a few times but not enough for me to totally take note of the ESFJ one- though I do find relation of myself in it. Each time Ive come out as a diff type Ive always done the research and I resonate with almost every description Ive read. Even when I was typed INFP the MOST – I would still almost always resonate with the other 3 types i was getting the most at the time. Now Im just as confused as ever about what I am. How am I to figure it out if I resonate and can even name specific incidents to which each type has had a part in my life? Isnt there such a case of how people change their temperaments depending on the environment or situation theyre presently subjected to at the time or overtime? I know everytime I have gotten INTP/J in the past its when Im mostly overstressed for long periods of time. Other times I naturally resonate with it is when Im at work. When working I feel like I match INTP/J without even trying but still it all is very hard for me to differentiate my type.

    I have heard that mental disorders/conditions may make typing someone difficult- I have female Aspergers as well as manic depression/adhd/severe anxiety+stress disorder/ epilepsy- so maybe that might play a key in why Im not easily able to be typed? How valid is that statement about the disorders/conditions?

    Is there a recommendation you give to figuring this out or maybe you might have some insight into what type I may be? I have read many of your articles but .. even with the explanations of each I can still see myself being a mix of each. I’d appreciate any feedback you may have regarding this!

    • Charis Branson

      Your best fit type transcends tests. Online tests aren’t known for their accuracy, they’re more of a guide or starting point. I have talked to a few people who just keep taking tests and wondering why they are so confused. It’s time to move past the tests and start educating yourself on the types you resonate the most with.

      We all have modifiers in our lives that make us unique. There are more introverted Extraverts and vice-versa. I’d recommend watching for your 3 yr old (in our car model, or what’s technically called the inferior process). Sometimes where we go when we’re overwhelmed can tell us more about our type than anything.

      Also – have you listened to our podcasts on the types? If not, those may be a good place to start as well. They’re long form deep dives into the types, so they may shed some light.

      I’m not sure if you have read this article.

      Good Luck!

  • Lala

    For a hardcore Thinker, it’s incredibly disconcerting for the INTJ to realize they are wired to be sensitive without the benefit of commensurate (natural) emotional intelligence.”
    I’m an INTJ and this is not disconcerting to me. I would just say shit happens.
    It’s true and partly due to the intellectual integrity in my opinion. I’m trying to accept being vulnerable. This could help me with the emotional intelligence i guess.
    My son is an INTP. Daydreamer, forgetful, messy, few but strong friendships, high on Ti, corrects me all the time, elegant creativity, makes accuracy jokes, hates feeling bad, feels ashamed when feeling bad, cannot put words on his emotions, just” i dont know”, …9 years old.
    i have many xxxp in my family. my father is an ENTP for example. and i sort of did not appreciate that trait. the lack of consequences bothers me. I became more accepting of it thanks to the understanding i gained from the mbti.
    thank you for the article.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Lala! Exploring vulnerability is definitely a path to growth for IJs in general. 🙂

  • Alan

    I have taken the personality test in several versions and in 2 languages (yes, english isn’t my first tongue), and I always get INTJ. I’m not surprised; the description for INTJ pretty much matches my own personality. But even if I was hesitating about the result, your article leaves no room for doubt. Your explanation is really enlightening.

    I still feel a little skeptical though. I’m 9 points away from the required minimum to be accepted by Mensa. Or only INTP are the Mensa guys?

    • Charis Branson

      Antonia has said in the past that INTPs are usually the ones writing IQ tests. In my experience, Perceivers are better at thinking on their toes than Judgers. Because Mensa is a timed test, it may be harder for a Judger to score well because they feel the pressure of the clock.

      If INTJ fits go with it. If you’re dying to be part of Mensa, keep trying. I’m sure you’ll get it sooner or later. I just took the test and when I went back and reviewed my answers I realized it was a lot of common sense and pattern recognition. It’s just a matter of training your brain to look for the patterns. At least that is my observation. I had never heard of Mensa until you mentioned it.

  • Molly

    Interesting article. I am still unsure of my type as although I know I’m definitely IN, and often test INT, I am very close to the feeling borderline and despite having trouble processing and expressing emotions, I do have them, sometimes strongly, and can be empathetic – so do all INTJ’s have to be emotionally robotic, or dislike all emotions? I know I am intensely private and a perfectionist, with a thirst for knowledge. Also, I like to plan before events and want things to go to plan, but my environment is generally messy and the idea of total order isn’t appealing to me – flexibility is important. Along with this, I have low self-esteem, social anxiety (with possible depression due to this) and am highly turbulent/neurotic, which sounds more like INTP. I have a very strong dislike of societal traditions and small talk/gossiping but I feel the pressure to conform. I have a genuine like of fashion and do take care of my appearance but my hygiene can deteriorate if I’m continually alone. With regards to INTJ, one thing that particularly rings true, taken from 16Personalities, is that they are able to be simultaneously the most starry-eyed idealists and the bitterest of cynics, and that they crave truth, depth and freedom above all else. If it matters at all I almost always test Chaotic Good/Neutral borderline on the Alignment Test, and am 18. With this said, any help answering my questions and clearing things up would be greatly appreciated.

    • Molly

      * I actually didn’t mean neurotic, so scratch that.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Molly! You said INTJs are the “starry-eyed idealists and the bitterest of cynics, and that they crave truth, depth and freedom above all else.” That description could apply to INTPs as well.

      We all have modifiers in our lives that make us unique. There are more introverted Extraverts and vice-versa. I’d recommend watching for your 3 yr old (in our car model, or what’s technically called the inferior process). Sometimes where we go when we’re overwhelmed can tell us more about our type than anything.

      Also – have you listened to our podcasts on the types? If not, those may be a good place to start as well. They’re long form deep dives into the types, so they may shed some light.

      Here’s an article that may help:

      Good Luck!

  • Anon

    Thanks 🙂 i’m an intj with occasional intps. liked the post.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the feedback, Anon!

  • Gask

    I subjectively display traits of both these types. It’s why I dont have faith in psychological definitions, as they seem to just be about shoe horning people into stereotype definitions in order to deal with them.

    • Charis Branson

      We don’t shoe horn people into types to deal with them. We help people find their best fit types so they can have an action plan to personal growth and happiness. If personal growth is not your thing, that is fine. But rejecting typology systems en masse just because you don’t personally resonate with them is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

      Thousands of people have benefited from psychological maps and models, myself included. If you would take the time to actually find your best fit type and explore its cognitive functions and how it effects your way of interacting with the world you would know the power of typology. If you spend your life choosing dismissal over knowledge you will never grow.

  • Po

    Intriguing article. I’ve tested multiple times at nearly even P/J. Would love some outsider perspective or insight:
    – Certainly introverted, communication and interaction around others requires significant energy and downtime
    – I come off as arrogant, but friends know me as humble, I grew up very shy, emotional with guarded sensitive, attending 8 schools by 7th grade didn’t help haha.
    – Hygiene wise, I’m quite messy and unorganized personal life, but I maintain an above average outward appearance
    – I’m very organized and strategic with work
    – A cynic yet a dreamer
    – My own biggest critic, but I just love the process of failure and learning, teaching and coaching others
    28 Y/O M

    • Charis Branson

      Hi Po! Thanks for your comment! There are a lot of nuances to accurately profiling someone, and doing so without actively talking with you is not a guarantee of success. That said, much of what you said above makes me lean toward INTJ (except for the last two bullet points).

      What I would encourage you to do is start self-identifying as an INTJ. Go down that rabbit hole and explore it thoroughly. Rest into it for awhile. Try exercising the copilot and see how it makes you feel. Become familiar with the back seat functions and how they manifest.

      Stay away from tests. People who keep taking tests are like people who always choose baby food over solid food. Cognitive functions are the meat of typology. Dig in and become your own personality hacker.

      After a few weeks, if you haven’t completely identified with what you have learned about INTJs, then you have your answer.

      We also have this product if you would like a professional verification:

  • Natalie

    I’m more surprised by how insightful and accurate the author is than anything else. As a reasonably mature INTP, I have always known my brain works differently from most and didn’t think anyone from outside would be able to pinpoint pieces of it so well. I found every aspect to be spot on. Patterns, Math, awesome. Emotions, ugh. Many years ago, one of my friends told me if she got a haircut and truly wanted to know how it looked, she would come to me. If she just wanted to be told it looks great, she would go to pretty much anyone else. At the time I took it as a major compliment but have also used it as a message to tone things down and try to follow social norms a bit more. It’s a calculated decision, though, and does not come naturally, as brutal honesty and not caring about status are much more inherent traits. In no way is it borne of arrogance, but I do think it can come across that way. In my heart of hearts, I’d rather be alone and right than have to deal with society and all its wrongs, it’s exhausting. People who spout emotional opinions or are followers irritate me because I work long and hard to filter and process data to come up with every opinion I have. Kudos to the author, interesting and astute work.

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks Natalie! Antonia’s been studying this subject since she was a kid. She also mentored under an INTP, so she has a special understanding for your type. I know she appreciates receiving positive feedback. Thanks again!

  • daria

    I believe you’ve switched these types. J stands for judging and P for perceiving. You’ve written it opposite as though INTP is thinking and data driven while INTJ is perceiving.

    • Antonia Dodge

      That’s because INTPs lead with a judging function, Introverted Thinking (which we’ve nicknamed Accuracy). INTJs lead with a perceiving process of Introverted Intuition (our term Perspectives).

      Feel free to check out the articles on INTPs and INTJs to discover each type’s cognitive function stack and how it influences their type.


  • Michelle

    This is a little late, but I just wanted to say thank you for providing some nuanced insight into these types. I always test as an INTJ, but I never really bought into it because so many people misunderstand and explain INTJs as misanthropic jerks who are insufferably objective and abbrasive. I like that you distinguish between mature and immature types. This really helps me understand in more detail the things I went through as a child, and also the transformations Ive undergone as an adult. I love people very much, but sometimes I think they believe dumb things, and while Im committed, as you say, to never bullshit myself (seriously my biggest thing), I usually dont think believing those other things makes people uncredible in all aspects of life. People arent forever, and when youve lost people that you were FINALLY, after many years of friendship trying and willing to open yourself up to, you realize how important love is and how vulnerability is the key to that closeness and happiness. You are awesome for pointing this out. Ive never heard anything like this before from an article about INTJs. Also, Im TOTALLY MESSY AND TOTALLY WISH SOMEONE WOULD CLEAN MY SHIT UP FOR ME AHHHH. I’m pretty dedicated to the things I like thinking about and spending my time cleaning seems like the most awful waste of time ever. To be fair, I reeeeeallllyyy love clean spaces, I just cant do the work. So I guess you would say I’m lacking in Effectiveness.

    Sorry for the scattered response, just wanted to give a magnanimous squee for your care. Very validating and nice to not be called an asshole. 🙂 very interesting in exploring these cognitive function stcks you speak of. Happy day to you ^_^

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for the comment, Michelle! I’m pretty messy as an INFJ too. My husband (INTJ) is cleaner than I, but he only cleans when he gets tired of things looking a certain way.

      I don’t think Effectiveness is necessarily about cleanliness. Effectiveness users like to create systems that can function on their own, with little to no supervision. One thing about cleaning, it always needs to be done – and then done again. I would think most Effectiveness users who have the disposable income likely have someone else do their cleaning for them. That way they don’t have to think about it. (In fact, I recently informed my husband that once our income reaches a certain level I am hiring a maid. 😉 )

  • Hadley George

    I test both INTJ and INTP depending on what I am doing that day and the test questions and whatever book I last read. This article does a good job of explaining why I can get either one. I have had two careers, textile designer and cost accountant. I easily fluctuate between how I approach data. The accountant in me demands clean data and it drives me nuts when I find out I’m working with garbage. As an artist I know all data can be useful somehow, making it work eventually is what’s important.

    Reading about the other passengers in the car was helpful. It highlights how the J is probably the dominant trait for me. It’s like the passengers don’t change out but the driver is a twin and depending on the destination you could have Jessie or Peyton driving.

  • Rick

    Spot on for me (INTP). Now, to absorb the rest of the data at this site…

  • ttony33

    Check out this book, it helps one to understand the selfhood on a whole new level, not by giving you ready answers, but by helping you to find those answers from where they are at. It’s revolutionary, life and world changing, a must read!

  • S

    Hi! I’m a young INTP and I enjoyed reading this a lot, I’ve been curious about the differences for a while, so thanks. I have to agree with a lot about what you said, about INTPs and emotions especially. It’s really hard to provoke an emotional reaction from me, but when it happens, it gets a little intense for everyone involved. I do have to say that when it comes to grooming and hygiene I’m a little weird I guess, even by these standards, I’m very hygienic keeping myself clean as well as my clothes,but at the same time I always make sure that the way I dress and the way my hair is done give off the impression that I don’t give a shit. also is it weird for an INTP to be really ambitious? I’m also very curious about that, because I keep reading that INTPs generally aren’t all that ambitious but I am. Oh before I forget have you read “” I’ve found it very helpful in understanding more about why I’m the way I am. I’m rambling a lot aren’t I? I should probably sleep soon, nah I’ve only been up for 36 six hours I can keep going. I also want to know why others have a hard time understanding how I can do complicated equations in my head, is it really that hard to do? Why am I asking you this question? Oh well, I need to find something to do for the next few hours.. bye for now!!!

  • Melissa

    Maturing INTP here. This gave me a lot of insight, perfect explanation.

  • Alexander

    Great read. I do have a question though. Is it possible to change personality types or possibly have traits from both sides even though they are contradictory? I took the test for it a long time ago and the outcome was intp. But because of recent events in my life Ive changed quite a bit. I retook the test multiple times over a few months and each outcome was intj. After reading this article I’ve come to realize that I have traits on both sides even though they contradict, I think in both ways that describe an intp and intj. I know it sounds weird but i was convinced I thought like both when I got to the tie breaker at the end. I can agree with both sides of the tie breakers 100%
    Is there anything else that goes over what I’m explaining?

  • Jim

    That was a wonderful article….I am an INTP who used to think I was an INTJ. I have been studying all aspects of Carl Jung’s psychology intensely for 2 years now. I think you did a great job and show a remarkable knowledge of these types…Thank-you.

  • Chris

    Great article. As an INTP married to an INTJ I find your article to be spot on and at a depth that simply isn’t found on a lot of these personality sites. Thanks.

  • Honey Halliwell

    Just… thanks for understanding me? Cheers!

  • Ellie

    Love this, especially the part about personal hygiene. My brother is an INTP and I am an INTJ. We always got along really well until high school, when I started analyzing social interactions. I realized that if I ever wanted anyone to take me seriously or listen to what I had to say, I needed to play the game a little. I started dressing nicer, wearing makeup, smiling at people, etc. I think my brother felt like I was being intellectually dishonest and becoming one of the “stupid people” (in his mind) who only care about the way they look. He went the complete opposite direction and decided not to waste his precious mental resources on shaving or cutting his hair all through grad school. One day he came to visit me and expressed that his life was really pretty good, except that he wished he could find a girlfriend. I offered to cut his waist-long hair for him. He was skeptical – I don’t think he believed there was any connection between his appearance and him not having a girlfriend. And perhaps there wasn’t, I guess I can’t prove it, but six months later he met his wife. I dunno, it sure seems like it was effective 😉 Perhaps we could design an experiment to chart the correlation between hair length and romantic relationship length, haha.

    All that to say, I think we both now have a greater appreciation for aesthetics and subjectivity, and the people who think in those terms. I no longer devalue people because they don’t think like me. Instead, I ask myself, “what are they getting about life that I am not, and what can I learn from them?” I think all of us NTs need to be reminded of that from time to time…

  • Stephen

    Thanks for this. I’m an INTJ who often tests as INTP. I think it comes down to seeing some of the traits of the INTP as the ideal, but not behaving that way in practice.

    Things like desk clutter sure do make me look like an INTP, but I just work better with the things I was just using nearby. When it’s slowing me down enough to be worth cleaning, I clean it.

  • bridg

    i have a theory that there are only a few types and that the others are just unhealthy versions of the ‘master types’

  • Maria

    This article has been interesting to read. And it has helped me define where I lie in the personality spectrum. I’m an INTP that only recently started to test as an INTJ. The accuracy of this article is almost startling at places, but I think human nature is far too diverse to be classified as a certain type, really. I’ve characteristics of both types, though leaning towards perceptive by 5-7 %, which is not a clearly defined classification. I’m only 17, though, so there’s a lot of time for my personality to develop.
    The driver processes part has proved most integral to differentiate between both, so INTP it is, in my case. Only after reading this, did I realize that I use people according to the accuracy of the information they provide, not as their usefulness as a whole. So, different people are inquired for different kinds of information. Might sound cold, using people so, but I hardly commit, and the truthfulness of a statement is most important. Also, I love all things binary (though hexa is much easier to understand) If I don’t solve any mathematics question, or even simple calculations each day, it feels like my mind is rotting. Literally. Thats why I occupy my time finding number patterns, or simply memorizing the citizenship numbers and phone numbers of friends and family.
    Although, if talking about hygiene, it’s not necessarily accurate. My room is absolutely organized, not even a speck of dust anywhere. I often make a mess of my room, but organize it back again cause messes are annoying. (Though its partly to do with my thought process too. If I can’t organize my mind, atleast I should do something productive with my room). I reorganize my bookshelf every month (no one gets my filing system). Mostly I organize books by subject matter, but in some cases, I organize them by ascending/descending height, year published ( and even number of pages! Sounds crazy, but thats what happens when I’m bored).
    And I’m very impatient, apparently, cause I cant explain my thought process to people without getting frustrated. I can solve a question without even writing the working through, and can never explain how I got from point A to point B. I just KNOW I got the right answer, and that’s that. Damned if I can ever explain to you.
    In terms of decision making, I suck. Since I’m constantly open to new data that may alter an outcome, I’m unable to take a decision till the last minute.

    Hope this helped. The article surely helped me

  • Zach INTP

    Thank you for the article, Antonia. I’m just beginning to understand my personality as an INTP. Could you please explain the 10 year old process (Memory) and how it fits in the car model? I test as an INTP and I relate to nearly everything, except I have horrible memory. I have to think really hard and try to reinsert myself mentally into a situation in order to remember it in any great detail. I sometimes think it’s just because I’m always processing new data and thinking, but I’m not sure. I feel like I would be able to handle life much better if my memory was better.

  • Josephjoestar

    Every INTP needs to go to “WhatOnEarthIsHappening” and get the solid accuracy you are really looking for. No place better for the brutal honest truth.

    Thanks so much Antonia, loved seeing the different expression of each personality type. As an INTP it is fascinating to know how and why something comes about. And yes, exploration is the situation we must will ourselves towards. The Einstein versus Tesla comparison was a really good way to show that we have to develop true judgment if we want to create effective change in our world. We’ve already got the paradigm down, so let’s prove it and make it both effective and authentic!

  • Erik

    This was very interesting to read. Thank you!

  • Ac

    I have no idea how you know what you know, but thank you for knowing and articulating it. It sounds like you understand at least part of how my mind works, or at least minds of the same type as mine. And it’s unbelievably nice to encounter someone who does. You even described things and reactions that I’ve only even given cursory explanations of to myself, and in ways similar enough to how it feels that it feels like you understand it some, which I’d honestly been wondering was possible for people not living in the head they’re describing. Sure, given the individuality of minds and variations in their set up, nothing will ever be a perfect fit, but you hit lots of points dead-on, and your article was both really cool, and informative.
    As far as the differences between INTPs and INTJs, I knew that I wasn’t decisive enough, and didn’t have the confidence in my own correctness of an INTJ, as well as that I fit more with the typical INTP manner of generally sloppy and unimpressive but personalized dress as opposed to the typical INTJ neater, socially oriented dress. It was really interesting to learn more about each type and its workings and differences than that, and it was really interesting how you tied it all in (or maybe used it to explain? I don’t know.) to the places each type fit in, and the contributions they make to, humanity as a whole.

  • yellodevil

    Antonia, this comparison is excellent – well structured and pertinent (uh… except for that ‘hugs’ thing at the bottom there…) I can’t speak for the INTP’s but your INTJ translations are spot on and I really like the way you’ve assigned purpose to the sets. Also, your attention to spelling and grammar is GREATLY appreciated. Thank you and keep up the good work!

    P.S. – Tone down the touchy-feely outbursts a little bit and I just might add you to my personal list of ‘lovedthings’… Ha!

  • Hannah

    Thank you SO much for this analysis and break down of the two types. I have always tested as an INTP but recently I took one and it gave me INTJ. I know online quizzes shouldn’t really reflect my world view but it gave me a little bit of an identity crisis. The description of INTJ didn’t really sound like me so I did some more digging and found your article! Which helped me A LOT. I’m pretty convinced now that I’m a hardcore INTP and this INTJ result was just one fluke.

  • YO YO

    I am an INTP female married an INTJ male. This article is amazing insightful and accurate.

  • YO YO

    I am an INTP female married an INTJ male. Lol…, my INTJ husband does all the cleaning in the house and can’t stand it if I do the cleaning. This article is amazing insightful and accurate.

  • Naomi Dacosta

    This explains a lot. I’m an INTP and I’m 14 years old. Right now I’m currently trying to raise funds to go to a private school instead of a public school. I’ve even started imagining. Though I am a bit perplexed, I didnt know that this personality existed in Ghana, Africa. My classmates find me very wierd but sometimes we do have a lot of fun. I’ve been fascinated with personality types but when ever I talk about it my classmates look at me like Im crazy. A while ago I was working on a cure for HIV but then I stopped because we had this really important exams and my dad said I wasn’t concentrating on my studies so I ended it. Right now Im trying to raise money to got a private sigh school because our public school is wack. But then no one will donate. I feel so sad because everyone keeps on saying that ill enjoy it but i know i wont. You see im very picky about the people i associate with and i get very fustrated when no one understands me. To top it all off, I went to a school where corporal punishment reigns. I was depressed for like two years. I remember the time i received more than eight lashes on my back and shoulder because I hadnt rewritten my essay on foolscape paper. Im dreading going back to a high school like that. I think living in Ghana actually really brought out my INTP personality. I always had been like that but when I came from Nigeria I was so caught up in my theories because of the kind of association here. Right now Im trying to raise $4000 to pay for my fees. I really dont want to go to a public school where teachers are too busy on their farm to come to class and teach. I feel so out of place here. Maybe if i go to a private school I can get a proper science lab to work on my theories. I am not the suicidal type but I can be quite depressed. Any thoughts? Should I go to a public school where I can forget my dreams of being like Albert Einstein or should I still try?

    • Jeff

      Don’t ever give up on trying to help make the world a better place by using your unique knowledge and perspective. And know that there’s an entire world of people who think like you – even when you feel alone.

      My BIGGEST recommendation to you – since you have access to the Internet, speak/read/write English very well and are an INTP (and likely an autodidact) is to aim for the private school where you will probably receive a better foundational education. BUT, if you can’t make it work, don’t despair. Take whatever money you did save up and research some good online courses you can take to learn stuff. There are TONS of AMAZING educational websites out there where you can access enormous catalogs of exceptional college-level classes for US$500/1 year.

  • INTJ dmg

    I’ve (almost) always tested as an INTJ but one time I snuck over the line to an INTP. Though I didn’t have time to rationalize it months ago, I decided to seek specific distinctions today. Now I am totally confused which, I believe, is maddening uncomfortable for either type.

    • Antonia Dodge

      Is this article your first introduction to each type’s cognitive functions? I’d recommend reading the INTJ and INTP articles on this site to get a deeper insight into how the functions work within the types. One will most likely stand out and ‘fit like a glove’.


  • Kim

    Hi. I’m an INTP and my twin sister is an INTJ. Its funny actually and enlightening to see the differences listed here, thank you. I’ve taken a few MB tests, and once, I was listed as an INTJ which is why I was drawn to read this site. However similar, I test as INTP. I am into “Exploration.” The world outside of myself is intriguing and I love finding new patterns to make sense of information and possibilities – just as this site lists. I am more prone to emotional outbursts, and I can see all these little differences and nuances between the two types based on my close ties and experiences with my sister. I am also more prone to emotional outbursts, and I can see over time she is more beaten down and quiet about her past and being hurt. I am more deflective, and can shrug off these feelings better than her. Overall though, it is not easy to be this “type.” I get confronted with lot of people who draw conversations into personal bias, which can hurt. It’s as if they feel, they are very important, and I see this as “ego.” On the flip side, I have amazing friends I focus on the most, and I have to say, the MB typing is great for understanding myself, or why all of a sudden, I might have an instant connection with someone.

  • Jannetje Zeeman

    A few years ago, i found that I was reliably testing as an intj, but the percentage between judging and perceiving was always small. Recently though, some of my friends got into mbti and i retook the 16 personalities test and found myself placed as an intp.
    I definitely lead my thinking process with accuracy rather than perspectives and i have always hated to be wrong, but that may just be a fault born of my own arrogance.
    However, I was never easily emotionally triggered and always found social games to be rather fun. This wasn’t necessarily because I cared about popularity, but more because I was interested in the workings of the social circles and the relationships within them. Working through social circles was more a test of how well I could play the social chameleon and fit the role needed.
    I never took a massive amount of pride in my appearance, but I wasn’t exactly showing up to lectures with my t-shirt inside out and my hair on its 8th consecutive day without being washed. However, what little pride i did take may well just be due to some rather deeply ingrained gender roles…

  • Dave

    Excellent article. In my prime I tested as right on the border line between INTJ and INTP, as a J with a score of 1. I think I probably went that side of the fence with the realisation that focus on accuracy can be counter-productive if one is looking at the wrong thing, as is undoubtedly the case in economics and politics today.

    I was interested in your reaction on 13 Apr 2015, Antonia: “I know way too many INTJs surrounded by chaos in their work space.”

    That’s how my ESFJ wife sees my study, but though she is distressed by the books I am still referring to lying around, and can see neither rhyme not reason in the double-stacked ordering of my books, nor could she see the joke about: “Dad, would you like a book for Christmas? No thanks, I’ve already got one”. The point being, intuition using the visual rather than aural facilities of the brain, where she has to know where to look to literally see where a book is, I can imagine a book and kinetically feel where it is located. Robert Pirsig tells a nice story in “Zen and the Art of Motorcycling Maintenance” contrasting tidy and untidy workshops, and the guys in the untidy ones being completely thrown if someone moves anything.

  • Dave

    Antonia says: “ultimately [INTJ’s] understand that perception defines reality and you may just be seeing things fundamentally differently”.

    Actually, though I understand there is a sense of the word ‘define’ of which this is true, it is not true that reality is only in your head, as the philosopher David Hume persuaded most of our teachers to believe via his book of 1739: long before we had any idea of how brains work. What I understand, given the evidence from information technology available to us today, is that perception is a process co-dependent on both reality and learned abilities to direct and focus the senses, with automated refocus recalling familiar patterns by remembering the positioning of sensory muscles. Think of out-of-focus photos and today’s automatic focussing of cameras; or more complexly, think of the internet transmitting eveyone’s messages and your computer picking out just yours. The world is bigger than what I see on my screen. Go look at it and keep learning for yourself!

  • cj

    This is an interesting article! I know i should look more into the types before commenting but I’ve already procrastinated the whole day really your articles so w/e.
    I’ve done several tests and i’ve gotten INTP 3 times including the test on this site and INFP once?
    but now that i’ve read this article i’m kind of hovering between these two types as i feel like i relate more to INTJ with the first few things but at the same time I’m like ” Do i really feel this way or am I just guessing myself” also looking at the comments i feel like I’m not really that smart in ways such as data or maths/science?
    Sure I used to love maths and found it easy but as I go up in grades in high school, I’m starting to care less and unmotivated about school work in general and even in uni now and failed maths and didn’t even take up science as one of my subjects.
    I do feel like I’m not so into the emotional part of me though. I don’t think i get angry too much? More of frustration than anything and definitely I’m scared of appearing vulnerable in front of people but i can’t decide if i feel like I would hate being more wrong or vulnerable. Most of the time i don’t even think (or feel?) about my emotions but when something triggers me to think emotionally I’m just thinking “What am i feeling? I don’t know if I’m sad or happy or what”, I’m mostly just feeling empty than anything to be honest.
    About hygiene, I don’t really care about being clean most of the time when i go out? The most I’ll do is to try to look decent enough in what I wear and head out right after. But also true with INTJ where I will ignore the mess around me until someone comes and clean for me but at the same time.. I wouldn’t want someone to touch my stuff and usually it’s me being told to clean my stuff instead of people doing it for me…
    Sorry for the ramble or it didn’t make sense oR didn’t cover everything, I didn’t scroll back up to look at the article while typing this out. Just wondering if I’m INTP or INTJ or some other type. It’ll be funny if I’ve gotten INTP though since I’ve never really thought of myself as intelligent or anything like that. Only hoped for.
    Now I gotta look through all the article tabs that I unintentionally tabbed up while looking at MBTI times //laughs

  • Enrico

    Hello Antonia, this is Enrico from Italy.
    Wow, this is a wonderful post! I enjoyed it so much.

    I had several tests and always got an INTP. I mean, I am an INTP and I know it… You described me very well in your post. But you described me very well when you talked about INTJ type too: I think I am a lovely hybrid.

    It happens to me to be able to read someone’s thoughts and to clearly feel their emotions… and it happens to feel the mood of the people in the nearby. So I start to find patterns to understand why those people feel in that way.
    It’s kinda wearisome! 😀

    Thanks for sharing! <3

  • Eevee

    This is a fantastic article. It’s annoyingly accurate, since I don’t like for anyone to “peg” me so closely. I am an INTJ and never tested for anything else but INTJ. I took the test twice, once 20 years ago and then last year – hardcore INTJ. It’s an interesting life being a woman who is an extreme INTJ. People expect that, based on stereotypes, I should be nurturing, emotional, and into the things that ‘most’ women like: ie shopping, relationships, children, chick-flicks, etc., But I am very much either completely not interested or perhaps vaguely interested in these things almost to the point of disinterested. My day is ordered and structured from the time that I wake up to the time that I wake up… the next day. I know exactly what I want to do and within what time frame. I maintain and endless checklist of necessary items because everything on said list is necessary and purposed. There is an end-game and all things and people must play a part in it in order to be/and stay relevant… to me. Emotions are negligible and subject to the ‘end-game’ purpose. They can be ‘eliminated’ or shelved for future “pontifications.” Children are great yet, subject to a 90 minute tolerance threshold before needing to be returned to their rightful owners. Annoying people (that I have to deal with) are subject to a maximum of 20 minutes before I find an excuse to leave their presence. Too much interaction with others is exhausting… like going to dinner in a noisy restaurant and staying after the food has been consumed for idle chatter. (I have no use for idle chatter.) Cooking takes up way too much time and is one of those annoying necessities that comes along with being human (like sleep, which also takes up too much time yet is necessary). But, when I do cook, it’s on par with fine dining with the appropriate ambiance. I hate shopping. However, when I have to look the part, I have an executive wardrobe arsenal. I have no aspirations to lead nor any to follow. I prefer to work alone, in the shadows, in obscurity, creating “The Awesome” under some sort of pen name because I don’t want to be bothered with awkward recognition. To me, I’m simply doing what I’m supposed to do… my job. However, that being said, my reality is that I’m often called to the forefront, where I have to work with…people… and end up developing or implementing programs that shift the culture of an organization, create a new or standardize a systematic process, invent something altogether different, yada, yada, yada. So I end up scaring THE ESTABLISHMENT because with change comes exposure and my analytical processes highlight gaps in their systems. (Hell, my processes highlight gaps within myself but THEY will never know what those are! LOL and I do laugh at myself frequently.) I find myself in an arena dominated by men and I have their respect because I can hold my own. Women, on the other hand, often see me as a threat. I am correct whether intuitively or through analysis; I am correct. If I am proven to be wrong, I am open to correction and also, I will not attempt to provide an answer for anything that I don’t know. I have no problems admitting ignorance on any topic nor recognizing the superiority of others who are experts in their fields. I stay in my lane. Intimate relationships with the opposite sex are tenuous. I have discovered that there are not too many men who can handle being with an extreme INTJ woman. Quite frankly, I like being alone. It keeps my thoughts from being interrupted (which I don’t mind coming from someone who can contribute something useful). I hate cleaning. So I’ve adopted a life policy that states that if one doesn’t create a mess, then there will be no mess for one to clean. As a result, my home is usually spotless. And for when a mess is created, like when I do cook, there is an immediate, efficient, and systematic process for handling such annoyances. If my office at home or at work becomes cluttered, it’s a sign that I have too much going on and need to clean out the clutter that has infiltrated my mind and violated my space. My (non-work) time is spent reading instructional books, periodicals on the economy & foreign affairs, some sci-fi/fantasy books, learning computer languages or figuring out some high-end software, drawing, composing music, writing, pondering not so random thoughts, exercise, hiking, flying planes, and taking adventure-filled vacations. All in the life of this INTJ woman. Oh and btw, those “non-work” related activities… still serve a purpose towards the end-game. Great article! Though mildly irritating. 😉

  • Aewin

    This was amazingly helpful. I used to test solidly as an INTP but once I hit my mid-20s I’ve consistently tested as an INTJ. I still waffle about which I am (not that knowing your exact type is the be-all end-all as long as you figure out what strategies/behaviors work for you) especially because I have a friend that I was talking about personality types with and he said he was an INTP and I seemed like one too.

    That made me wonder, so I retook the test after years and came out an INTJ again. Then I read that NPs have a habit of mistyping themselves due to a lot of self-doubt, which certainly didn’t help resolve it. But reading this has pointed fairly solidly at me being an INTJ.

    It’s also pointed out a lot of MBTI stereotypes that I do and don’t conform to, and made me think about why. Some of it is related to my upbringing (the self-doubt), and others due to external factors like needing to be concerned about my appearance because I’m transgender and have to conform to societal expectations to be taken seriously. (While knowing that those expectations are useless, which is infuriating.) Debunking those stereotypes seems to be critical when trying to differentiate types.

    I think that of all things it was the bite-sized bit about Tesla vs. Einstein that clicked the difference into place for me. Thank you so much.

    (As a footnote, I know a lot of people are interested in the types and romance. I’m in my upper 20s and have been happily married to a fellow INTJ for 11-12 years now. I got very lucky to find someone I clicked with that early on. It’s a great match because we can commiserate about how illogical people are being. Truly a wonderful bonding activity.)

  • lily

    i am going through my “3 year old state” or tertiary function. its not fun. im extremely shaken by the extroverts im around…. but its giving me new perspective and direction…..

  • Faith A

    Very interesting and informative.

    I am basically an INTP with, based on some tests I took/re-took, 1-3% chances of being an INTJ. And I’ve realized that when I hit that 1-3%, I go all out in the sense that I get pretty anxious until things get done effectively. However, I’ve come to accept that I am an INTx, that I just shift from either of my 3-year old versions.

    With regard to emotions, I remember an elder telling me that I give no reaction despite being scolded. As I recalled a particular moment when I got scolded, I remember thinking back then how to improve things that I just dismissed reacting for getting scolded. I was, as told by this elder, showed no reaction at all. Yes, I had no emotional reaction because my mind was busy trying to figure out how to fix or correct my mistake. For me it was far more important to avoid repetition of the same mistake than looking sorry. Besides, I didn’t want to give this person the satisfaction of me being emotionally sorry though I felt bad that I didn’t make the goal. But of course, other people would see that as arrogance. This elder thought I was being arrogant. But I wasn’t.

    Although I am seen as someone without emotions, which is very impossible, I feel strongly for some events and situations WHICH (emphasis intended) do not include me. The genocide in Sudan got me even years before. I felt terrible for those people who have become victims of the apartheid. In this year’s Olympics, I am very happy for Simone Biles achieving feats unprecedented. When Judoka Yarden Gerbi won Israel’s first Olympic medal since 2008, I was ecstatic. Of course, I was so and very, very happy when my own country Philippines wins its first Olympic medal in 20 years, courtesy of a female weight lifter.

    However, when emotions are pretty exaggerated, I detach and could not appreciate. Such actually annoy me. I find them unnecessary unless they change things and events, for I see a lot of emotional people but are stuck in the status quo. What’s the point of being so expressive when you’re not changing things?

    Sometimes though I go through something that technically speaking calls for a strong emotional reaction. I’ve found myself shedding tears without understanding why, like I tried to grasp what’s going on and could “diagnose” but only if it’s other people going through it. When I tried to put myself in the picture, I still go clueless albeit with my tears still flowing.

    I can say I understand people’s reactions, though I still question their motives for expressing such, but I can’t picture myself giving the same. Of course, I experience anger which is actually the pretty dominant emotion I know. Like it’s the only one I can understand with me in the picture. For who would not get angry with people oppressing helpless people, taking advantage of others?

    When it comes to hygiene, I was not without care at least when it came to the basics. However, I didn’t extend extra effort to be presentable. And yes, partly because of my ‘rebellion’ to society’s particular “standards” or categorization, like you have to show up like this otherwise you’d be out-of-place. Back then, I was very much happy to be out of place. Although I still have no intention to be part of the crowd, technically I could not because I belong to the INTx group, I’ve come to appreciate what it’s like to prepare ahead of time to dress up and put a little make-up, though I do so to hide the dark circles under my eyes and simply polish my look. I still prefer to keep everything au naturel.

    There are INTP traits that used to apply to me but have now become very rare. There are also INTJ traits that do not fully apply, like being lost in “my own world” because I am still aware of everything around but I just don’t respond to them even if people talk to me because most would ask questions I find stupid. At work, I often find myself being the only one responding to our supervisor’s inquiry though I’ve been working on something, like everyone else.

    I am aware that there are people who really get lost in their world, but I it actually makes me wonder why some people would not leave at least a window for their supervisor in case he raises a concern. For me, no one at work is in a position to ‘shut’ the world without at least informing a seatmate of such plan so no one would be expected to just easily interrupt. Unless of course you’re the boss, you don’t need to adjust that way.

    • Michelle


      I keep an “antenna” out for all conversations and questions all the time, even when I’m in my own world. The only thing for me that I don’t catch is the time! So I can be late for appointments but always aware of what’s around me to some level.

      Over-emotionalism as you describe when people could actually do something about it, makes me annoyed, also.

      When I was corrected as a kid, I’m not sure I displayed emotion really. I do remember feeling like correction was a slight against my very being. Like they were taking away my space in the world. Most of the time, I would purposely go out of my way to ensure that whatever I was being corrected about would never happen again…unless I was daydreaming and I lost track of time.

  • Victor

    Hello Antonia,

    Wondering if you’ve met any INTJ/INFJ borderline types? Also wondering if traumatic childhoods or neglict affect or skew personality types?

    Truly believe it is good for everybody to learn and understand their personality types so that they may personally grow and think you guys are doing a wonderful job at this.

    I started this personality studying last year with a Real Estate coach. He said it’s important for one to first understand and assess their personal strengths and weaknesses to start leveraging their strengths. Among the tests (Kolbe A, Clifton Strengths, Entrpreneurial, DiSc, etc) Roger Hamiltons Wealth Dynamics profile has been the greatest and most helpful. All the tests pointed towards natural talent at analyzing, building, developing, and making systems.

    Anyways, recently looked in MBTI again at and your site. Found that I am borderline 45 Feeling / 55 Thinking. Feel that I grew up INFJ but due to the last 15 years pursuing a Health Profession, academic study and discipline has lead me towards INTJ. All the insecurities of INFJ I had growing up, especially trying to be a people pleaser and let others take advantage. But just building up a wall and hiding emotions at a young age has thought me it is easier not to “feel”, and to block off painful emotions. It’s more effective to block out emotions and work towards your goals and plans. Emotions seem to get in the way. But I still can’t help but to feel all the emotions around me from personal friends and family, have no trouble blocking out emotions and not caring about strangers and coworkers however.

    Know that I’m just ranting, but was wondering how common INFJ/INTJ split is and or if traumatic emotional experiences and or environmental conditioning (in my case, academic discipline of going for 12 hours of study a day was a norm, for many years) can affect and change personality types?

    What are you thoughts?


    Please check out my INTJ goal and endeavor at !

  • Jeff

    So I’ve tested INTP all my life. Last year I started making some changes in my life which included meditation/mindfulness, drug experimentation, self-awareness of a particular medical condition affecting my mental health and a deep period of self-reflection. Since all that, I’ve been testing more as an INTJ, which actually makes a lot of sense to me.

    I don’t want this to come off the wrong way or dismissive/belittling, but from the way I see things now, it really does appear as if a self-actualized INTP begins to think and act more like an INTJ. For example, in your article you talk about how introverted feeling manifests in INTJs as more self-awareness of their mental state and patterns. Meditating allows a person’s brain to process information better and more effectively as a result of continued practice and it’s generally recommended that meditation is *particularly* helpful for frazzled INTPs, then it seems to me it would likely be more common for an INTP who meditates regularly to naturally become more self-aware/reflective about their emotional state (which meditation allows us to do easier). A bit of rambling, but I hope it makes sense. 🙂

    Love your stuff, Antonia! Keep it up! I’m glad you’re showing some love to INT*s. It’s hard being an IN** in an ES** world.

  • Jenny

    bless this post

  • George

    Got more knowledge..nice and more interesting to know about intj peoples

  • Morag

    Reading of INTP characteristics and all these stories from other INTP people has been interesting! And makes a lot of sense to me as I look at my own life….. ‘doesn’t give a rats’….. pretty much sums up how I see people generally and the power estimation bloke, yup, totally relate. It just scares people frankly, to let them see how my mind really works 😉 so I tend to just avoid social situations these days. Thanks for the article!

  • Jayas

    Got a best knowledge about INTJ personality. There characters are different and open minded peoples

  • valentinebruce

    No matter what your type and no matter how much of a “Thinker” you are, you have emotions and feelings. Being a Thinker means you use impersonal criteria to evaluate situations, which generally results in putting emotions as a lower priority. But they still exist.

  • Felicia Crabb

    I usually test as INTJ, and occasionally get INTP. My INT are always without a doubt INT, to the extreme.
    I just test as INTP again and went searching for more information. I came across your blog and was sucking up every word. “Yes, Yes, I am an INTJ”, that was until you spoke of grooming and how it was the biggest difference. I couldn’t give a rat’s ass about anyone’s opinion of my appearance I just happen to love dressing up for me, for fun, for fantasy. I also will go out in public in sweats and my unbrushed hair in a hat…

    I still feel confidant Im an INTJ, I just don’t hit what you called “the biggest give-away”.
    Of your final 5
    I am very big on perspectives. I even did a blog entry today on how our experiences paint our world.
    I was and still am a big strategist for avoiding vulnerability
    I am very in control of my emotions usually and very aware of where they come from. Though often frustrated that I know but can’t do anything to stop it. Especially once I faced a major tragedy and the grief that has followed.

    Then I jump to the other side
    I do not play into social games, I make my own rules for how I present myself. I understand dressing the part is an advantage but I am not willing to sell myself to that game.
    I think I am big on intellectual integrity but I often get in trouble for my blunt honesty.

    All of that aside, I really enjoyed this blog. I think I may go look at some of your other entries.

  • Felicia Crabb

    I just realized you posted this blog on my birthday <3 😀
    What an awesome coincidence!

  • Amylynn

    Great article. I started out life as an ENTJ (18) and as I got older tested out as an INTJ (30) and now as I am even older (48) I now test as a INTP. As I reflect on the changes, I think in reality I was probably always an I, but was fooled by my what I wanted to believe about myself at the time. Regarding the swap from the J to the P, I believe this is a softening or breaking down of the rules. As the article stated at the end INTJ’s are more prone to dressing for the Part, which I had always done with great ambition, but now that I am older, I really do not care. Either take me as I am or not. I am also much less rigid about proving out Theory’s. When I was younger and you had asked me the Falling Tree Question I would have said we would have needed to set up test to prove it one way or another. Now I say, how do you know the tree fell? Maybe it was placed there? Maybe it was sucked out by a tornado and landed in such a way that the tornado made the sound. How do we know there is even a tree out there? 😉

  • John

    With respect to emotions and being an “INTJ”. I believe that at some point “emotions” both of the individual and the individual’s peers become a new data set. With time and experience predicting the emotional response or at least understanding it (even in the moment) serves to further inform the perspective of the INTJ.

    Is this off base with your research or could you expound upon it? Seems to me that emotion is not just “emotion”.

  • Mike D.

    Thank you for all your work in this area, Antonia! I must say I’ve become a big fan of personality studies lately, and I appreciate your articles and videos. I tested as INTJ about 1.5 yrs ago and it clicked so strongly that I haven’t really done any additional testing since. I’ve been asking the people I know if they’ve taken this sort of test and, as always, the spreadsheet and tons of internet research were borne. Most recently, I read that for an INTJ to find the MBTI, is the first time to feel understood, and I agree. I feel that I could go on and on and on, but I really just want to say that my boyfriend tested as ENTP, and while he thought the test was a waste of time, I surprised him with the test a month later, and sure enough, he was ENTP again. Some say it’s worthless, some say it’s incomplete, but I say there is truth here. Keep it up =D

    • Angelina Sturgill

      “I read that for an INTJ to find the MBTI, is the first time to feel understood”

      Soooo true Mike! ?

  • Mike D.

    I forgot to ask, why do you say “not every INTJ is at the same level of health or development?” I don’t hear you saying that sort of thing on other videos.

  • RandomINTP

    I just want to say thank you, feels so strange and warm, im almost crying.
    Just discovered that personality type models weeks ago.
    Thanks for these words of understanding-

  • Angelina Sturgill

    Wow! Thank you for such an in depth analysis. I have tested 7 times in the last 10 years, 5 INTJ and 2 INTP. After reading this article, I can truly say with confidence that I am an INTJ. The key verbage was in the differences of how we respond when we are wrong and how vulnerability makes me respond. Wonderful article!

  • INTJ with INTP friend

    I have never read a MBTI related article that so accurately and clearly describes both mine and my friend’s personalities before. This is spot on. I especially appreciated #3 because regardless of what others may think, INTJs do have deep emotions for those they care about. Thank you for a fantastic article.

  • Happy

    This is absolutely me (INTJ) and my husband (INTP). Thank you for articulating our differences so well and so accurately. I just love him even more. He is the perfect man for me.

  • Catherine

    Thank you Antonia for the information and blog! This is all very new to me but I am learning more everyday. I am a female INTJ. After testing and reading and reading more I was shocked and thrilled to see a description of me in almost every sentence I read! It was truly liberating. I wish I had been tested many years ago. Growing-up and feeling that you don’t fit in because of the way you see, process and react to the world around you is difficult. My mother would look at me with a bewildered look on her face unable to understand and I was not able to explain. I learned skills out of my default zone to fit in. Mom is older now and I love her dearly but there was still this “Thing”. After getting the results of my test I showed the discription of the INTJ personality along with some humorous INTJ MEMES to mom. Starting with the first paragraph she keep saying, “This is you! ” over and over again. Then she said the best thing she could ever had said, “I understand now”. Then in pure Mom fashion, “There are less than 2% of people like you in the world you’re very special!” It’s never too late.

  • Gigih Halim

    I’ve always been tested my whole life as an INTJ. But some typical stereotypes spread in the internet makes me think that I am indeed an INTP. Especially regarding laziness. Now, comes to the main question; do I still an INTJ even when I lose a goal/aim/target? Does it make me an INTP because the closer I am to a nihilistic thinking? Although, I still can relate to all distinctive characteristics of an INTJ you described in the article. Anyway, this article and your videos really helps me out. Thank you.

  • Undercutsyou

    After reading this, I decided to take the test and to my horror, yet again, have been named an INTP. A month or so ago, I got the same result from another popular test site. But it drives me nuts because I have been calling myself an INTJ for almost four years. I do love the idea of being mastermind – much more than a silly explorer, but whatever I am really doesn’t matter. Hell, I haven’t ever fitted a mold, why start now?

    Sorry for the rant, perhaps my own blog would be more suited for this, but I would love to see YOUR take on this flip-flop of personality profiles.

    To embellish, I found the test and hit INTJ several times over the course of two years. Never did it slip to another. Then after a long year, I tested again (twice now) as INTP.

    ALSO, I do see myself as a mix-mash of personality from the zodiacs. I am on the cusp (Dec. 22) of Capricorn (my sign) and Sagittarius. As I’m sure you know is a like pairing: Sags are warm & nomads & Caps are cold & rigid.

    In this whole scheme, I can strongly relate to the INTJ and have come to find a magnetic attraction to others of the same personality. Yet, while reading this article in particular, I feel that I use both types of the thinking structures and cannot seem to decide which one fits best.

    As context, my flow state comes during design sessions with CAD. During TIG welding, weight lifting, and video games, I also gain flow. This works for my current profession as a designer using CATIA regularly.

    Though, in your description of flow, “What is something I love to do so much that the only reason I stop is because I’m exhausted?”, I have never come to exhaustion. They kick me out the building at close. I have sat at the computer for 17 hours straight, designing brackets for hydraulic lines on the G550, that was a REALLY SHORT DAY!!

  • Sam

    I think most of these differences are interesting and spot-on. I think the fourth point could be expressed clearer, though. As someone who mostly tests as an INTJ, I would agree that grooming is a resource that yields significant benefits for little cost. There is, however, a flip side to it. I respect competence over almost anything else, including the appearance of competence. Dressing for the occasion (e.g. wearing a suit) can be used as a means to convey competence by people lacking in competence, and other people may be taken in by it. If you observe something like that often enough (I’m talking about my younger self here), then dressing nicely becomes equivalent with being inauthentic and people who care about others dressing nicely become gullible. That’s actually quite close to grooming and dressing as a part of a game that people play. Of course there is a difference here: if the game does not encourage people being inauthentic, then the aforementioned cost-benefit analysis applies. Even so, a younger me would have been unable to formulate this point in terms of autenticity and simply railed against dressing up as superficial game playing, which may be outwardly indistinguishable from INTPs’ rebellions.

  • Rob

    I am an INTP and my best friend is an INTJ. I have noticed three major differences between us. The INTJ perseveres whereas the INTP almost never commits to one course of action. The INTJ is highly organized while the INTP is a mess. And last the INTJ tends to view the world in black and white, but the INTP sees all the possibilities and thus sees it in shades of gray.

  • Christy

    Interesting. I just re-took the MBTI test and I came out 53%J and 47%P. I hadn’t noticed how close I was on that one before. I have always identified with descriptions of the INTJ. According to your descriptions, I am an INTJ. But it is interesting to see how the two play together. Thanks for the informative article!

  • Michelle

    This article a million times over emphasizes that I am an INTJ. Specifically, wearing clothes or deciding on hygiene habits, I start with what I want people to think about me. I see people with the look and corresponding feeling of what they wear and try to imitate that…like a chameleon. Although, when I’m not going anywhere, I don’t care what I wear! If it’s clothes and I have it, I’m wearing it. (I have to tell you, wearing a uniform in the military for 10 years was perfect for me.) My hygiene habits, I try to get down to 20 minutes every morning because it’s so annoying and I don’t know why people spend so much time straightening hair, etc. At times, I belatedly care but the feeling passes pretty quickly. However, on other things, I feel like I am constantly unconsciously and consciously collecting data to result in the freaky-accurate answers given to people, where they have no idea how you got to that (and I don’t either most of the time).
    I have to say, I don’t think of the world in black and white, maybe that is more of the immature stance. Instead, I am more considerate than most of my peers in listening, understanding, and explaining different points of view, no matter how socially-acceptable (or not). Our understanding is not the only one and nothing is as clear cut as people try to make it.
    As an aside, I think there is a range of personality “symptoms” from immaturity to maturity that makes us think we are one type over another. Or that makes us think personality typing is a load of crock because it’s only half right. But when you really get into theoretical level, even just in the function stack, you realize there is not just one type of a type! I really like Personality Hacker podcasts addressing “loops” of unhealth (or at least not living to their true potential) in types.

  • Mewtwopsychic

    From reading both the personality description in detail and completely reading this article I can say this :-
    INTP-T are a unique form of beings who possess certain traits of INTJ’s.
    When an INTP matures completely and changes, they may very well change partially to INTJ personality type while keeping a select few traits of the INTP type.

    INTJ on the other hand are completely innovative and probably on a different level as they are basically the positive versions of INTPs. They may not be super calculative but are really accepting of everything.

    Thus INTPs turn into INTJs when they become mature and strive for perfection.

    In case anyone is wondering, I am an INTP with very less qualities of an INTJ. Hoping to improve even more to become better

    • Mewtwopsychic

      *This comment section really sucks on phone*
      I did not mean INTP-T in specific but INTP in general.

  • Anne

    ser intj é como viver em um mundo a parte, as coisas q pessoas comuns fazem p mim são banais. É como estar na Terra mas mente está no universo. É querer discutir teorias e só ter pessoas que querem falar sobre bobeiras. è como se minha criatividade e inteligência estivesse aprisionados em um mundo com pessoas estranhas, quando você é visto como o estranho.

  • Abby Eagle

    Antonia – that was an incredible article. I am INTJ. Many thanks.

  • Graeme Smith

    It’s funny I agree to all of it, but about the dress and presenting themselves to the world. In my experience, INTJ’s do not care to play any status games with their appearance, more over they seek to dress in a fundamentally practical way, regardless of what others think. Playing a status game for an INTJ is entirely unauthentic, and as such they seek to reject it.

    While the INTP is for more likely to seek to ‘dress the part’ as a way of fitting in, and won’t hesitate to use their appearance to achieve a status they are trying to convey.

    An INTP is far more adaptable in this sense, while an INTJ is far more rigid.

  • liz953

    I have, at age 63, just taken the M-B test, and I am INTP. It explains a lot about how my life and (very successful) career have evolved. More than that, it has cast light on the factors that determined my choices as they were presented throughout my life. I’m not going to go into long “life examples”, as described herein, but I must say that I found the personality description so “spot on” that it took me aback.

    But I will share this: There was a period of my life that I sought professional therapy for depression, and I was prescribed an antidepressant, which I agreed to take. After a year, I found that my ability to find even a modicum of “joy” in my life had been erased. My ability to conjure up a modicum of sympathy or empathy for others was reduced to zero.

    Needless to say, I stopped taking the meds, and have returned to struggling to be a good friend to those those who are hurting, which is not a natural state for me. But at least I am trying.

  • Plau

    Ha! You can really tell an INTP from the way they leave comments. I’m an INTP and I find myself writing an essay, no matter what the topic. Even when I check myself and recognize the need to streamline my posts to just the key points, I still can’t condense my comments or text messages or whatever-responses to fit the norm of most non-INT populated sites

    Whoa, I guess that’s all I wanted to say…

  • Antonia

    Oh! I´m glad of had read this article! It was pretty funny at the end cause my name is Antonia too, so I was like well “I am the intj one” Anyways, your description of the differences between INTJ´s and INTP´s was so clear, I mean everytime that I looked for information about the topic I´ve always found stereotypical information about the MBTI test but I really can relate about the facts that you wrote, so thank you very much 🙂

  • Helel

    Thank you for writing this. Before I was unsure of which I was. Now without a doubt I am an INTP-A. Although I do have some intj qualities.

  • Taiki

    Thank you Antonia I found this article a very insightful and accurate description of mine.I just wanted to point out that I’m usually a INTP(I can literally change my personality to ENTP or INTJ upon demand) and I find that playing along with social status actually helps me as a person to figure out and debate on what ones personality and current feeling are.I was wondering if this is part of my INTJ self to play along with others or my INTP self to take in as much info as I can so in the long run I can manipulate what they do and how they think at certain times.


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