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The INTP Type Description, 1.0, based on Jung's Model


New member
Jun 28, 2021
Instinctual Variant
Special Note: I am not a follower of any group or any particular branch of typology theories. What I’m doing, at this point, is exploring the existing theories and coming up with my own analyses. I like to “think out aloud” and exchange ideas with people.

Although some previous discussions have been done in the formulation of Jung's model, it seems that none of them have come up with general type descriptions. Therefore, my attempt is to fill this gap by providing an objective and abstract description of each type, based on their cognitive function arrangement.

Unless otherwise cited/noted, all represent the author’s original thinking.
Feel free to disagree. Take everything with grains of salt.

I am not a native speaker of English. Sometimes I struggle to find the most accurate way to express my ideas. I aim at minimizing confusion, however.
“The truth will set you free” is probably what the INTP will firmly believe, till the end of time.

Imagine that we all live in a bubble with everything preconfigured. No one knows that except for you. You are the only one who knows. How does that feel? You might say, “Everyone is hibernating but me.” Your awakening makes you so different from others that you feel like an alien. This, is a very INTP experience in the real world.

The Jungian model is different from the Grant functions model (TiNeSiFe) and the MBTI model (TiNeSeFe), and its validity largely comes from its loyalty to Jung’s theory. I’m not going to elaborate on how those models differ because that will be a separate topic. The focus here is to provide a general type description of the INTP.

INTP = introverted (I) intuitive (N), thinker (T), and perceiver (P). Under the Jungian model, the function arrangement goes – NiTiFeSe. As an intuitive perceiver, the INTP leads with introverted intuition, Ni.


The ultimate meaning of life, to the INTP, is to understand, pursue, and reveal what is true, right, and fundamental (Ni), through the use of subjective logical reasoning (Ti). The INTPs can be seen as perfectionists and idealists when it comes to the internal world.

The INTP is generally an original, independent thinker and true intellectual who prioritizes truth, authenticity, and universality above anything else. They are also explorers and discoverers. Guided by the internal Ni vision, the INTP dedicates themselves to discovering the truth and principles in the universe as well as uncovering the nature and essence of everything. They tend to be passionate, committed, and perseverant in such pursuits. Fulfillment lies in living in accordance with the truth.

Because the world finds them hard to understand, the INTP can often be rejected, ridiculed, betrayed, or even persecuted, but they are less likely going to give up or surrender. With the magnificent internal world with them, the INTP truth seeker will fight to defend it at all costs. When this happens, the INTP can turn from taciturn and mysterious thinkers into courageous warriors.

While not all independent and critical thinkers are INTPs, the INTP type tends to be known for these traits due to their conscious NiTi combination.

The INTP type general model, simulation, 1.0

As Ni dom, the INTP is driven by internal visions or more accurately, what their Ni reveals to them (aka, Ni revelations). Their Ni messages/revelations/awakenings, etc. are of primary importance and their top priority is to gather such messages (and then process them). They perceive first and then judge. Because of Ni’s inward focus, the INTP is aimed at perfecting the internal world and their life mission is to pursue truth and principles, follow what Ni tells them, and live their lives accordingly. The external world is made up of things and people - as manifestations of Ni's messages. Not only does the INTP know what is happening but they are also good at predicting the future. (Note: Ni is like a messenger, a carrier of information, not information itself.)

Due to Ni’s irrational nature, the INTP may find themselves hardly understandable by others. Knowing something seems much easier than explaining it to others. If they can bring the tertiary Fe to consciousness, the INTP might be willing to spend more time verbalizing their Ni messages and even calling for public attention to something or initiating a social change. Otherwise, they would probably keep those ideas to themselves.

Jung’s explanation of Ni as a cognitive function suggests that Ni perception is highly independent and impersonal. If you have read Jung, you will find that Ni does not seem to translate an idea but merely passes it on to the subjective mind, causing the Ni dom to know but with some difficulty presenting the idea (in various forms). Due to these characteristics of Ni, the INTP’s mindscape, full of Ni messages, also tends to be the same way - independent and impersonal but can be profound, interesting, diverse, and full of abstractions. If the INTP does something, their deeds tend to be driven by Ni revelations rather than personal needs or preferences. What they do can be symbolic and reflect some universal truth they have realized.

Because the INTP’s attention is mostly paid to the internal world, worldly successes are often of little appeal to them. They might not be particularly concerned about e.g., stability and security, social status, rules, popularity, etc. Being loners might worry most people today, but probably not the INTP. They enjoy loneliness and love to keep a distance from distractions. Just like the “prophets of Israel”, the INTP, seen from the outside, tend to be detached and calm observers.

Does the INTP want to change the external world according to Ni vision? Some may do. They might call for public attention to some manifestations of the corrupt side of human nature, the absurdities of society, the dilemmas of civilizations, the ignorance of the majority, etc.. their messages to the world may exhibit an unusual degree of dissonance with their times.

The judging function, Ti, tends to add more to introversion. Ti can often be perfectionistic since it seeks to develop the best concepts and systems (to the self). Similar to Ni, Ti does not seem to be much concerned about the popularity of an idea or its practical applications. It highly values consistency and independence. As the auxiliary function, Ti is not completely autonomous. The INTP’s Ti serves Ni and depends on it. Their Ti reasoning is constructed to reveal and support the Ni messages. Ti organizes Ni messages in a logical and systematic way.

As perceivers, if the INTP is asked to choose between reason and truth, they will go for the latter. They might not hesitate to tear down an already-built theoretical framework and rebuild it if it is no longer consistent with Ni messages. In contrast, to the INTJ (TiNi), Ni is subordinate to Ti. Thus, based on the Ti judgment, the Ni messages might be selectively adopted. The INTJ's Ni is not merely to perceive but the primary purpose is to provide information for Ti in the logical construction of ideas.

Who cares the most about universal principles, meanings, implications, symbols, and truth? It is the INTP - the perceiver with independent and dominant Ni. While the INTJ does so as well, their Ni's activity is restricted by dominant Ti (reason > truth).

Conclusion: The typical INTP

Based on the explanation above, under Jung’s model, what the INTP constantly does is pursue what is true to them. Ni is a subjective function, so it does not necessarily mean truth in the scientific sense (empirical, replicable, falsifiable, etc.). While Ni messages contain truth, as a subjective function, they often mean what is true to the subjective mind. Therefore, it would be a misunderstanding to say that the INTP is always and absolutely right about everything. Ni can convey inaccurate or even wrong messages (typical case here – conspiracy theorists).

The NiTi combination can sometimes lead to the single-minded pursuit of an ideal. Unless their Ni tells them otherwise, they tend to take something as true and unquestionable. Others may find them hard to persuade. Driven by unique perceptions, they are less likely going to follow or obey.

The hypothesis here is that the INTP population might exhibit a degree of polarization globally. It depends on what information they gather with Ni. Some can become talented scientists, thinkers, theorists, and philosophers. The insights and original ideas they contribute can lead to enlightenment and progress in human civilization. Others, however, might harbor an intense interest in the spiritual realm and become cult leaders, conspiracy theorists, practitioners of the occult, etc. When they do so, it is not out of material interests but rather mostly due to genuine faith.

Mistyping the INTP

It is not surprising that perhaps many people have been mistyped into the INTP type. As you can see, given their unique personality, they are likely a tiny minority of the world population.

The INTPs are probably not the social justice warriors and leaders of social movements you often see on media.
The INTPs are unlikely the m/billionaire progressive elites that hold elected public offices.
You can even find that most prominent scholars in contemporary academia are of other types and the real INTP will likely be excluded.
Also, just because someone is unique, unconventional, and rebellious, does not mean they are INTP.

The INTP is most unlikely to conform, making them constantly 'swimming against the currents'.

Among many other things,
  1. if you are ambitious and want to achieve a lot of measurable achievements,
  2. if you are driven by an ideal to save the world and/or to influence others,
  3. if you constantly care about how others might think of/treat you,
  4. if you tend to be easy-going and accommodating and worry about fitting in,
  5. if you display somewhat instinctual respect for authority and establishment, or,
  6. if you selectively treat information and tend to believe in something while rejecting anything else because doing so would fit into your personal needs,
You are less likely to be a typical INTP, according to the Jungian model.

Last note, if I’m not mistaken, Friedrich Nietzsche was typed as a Ni-dom thinker (INTP) by Jung. Maybe you will get a better idea of what a true Ni dom is like by reading his works.

I hope you find this article helpful. Thanks for reading. Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment.