How to tell if you are INTJ or INTP

Update 2014: We now have an:

INTP or INTJ Test

Many INTPs test as INTJ, whereas the opposite phenomenon is less common. There are several reasons for this difference.

For one thing, school, work and family tend to structure behavior even for individuals whose preference is for more freedom, and under such discipline a P may not identify with test item options like: “My goals are open-ended and subject to change as new information becomes available.” Conversely, Js can simply impose structure on themselves when there is none in their environment.

Nietzsche – INTJ poster boy

Also, there is an asymmetry in how the take-charge Js and the laissez-faire Ps deal with each other: Ps don’t tend to interfere with the Js planning and organizing their lives if that’s what floats their boat. (Even if Ps sometimes do feel like Steve Jobs (ISTP) does about Bill Gates (ENTJ): “He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram.”) Js, however, frequently find cause to chastise the Ps for not being Js! In particular when authority figures such as parents exert influence on a P, the P may internalize J values causing them to test as J.

As mentioned, it is comparatively rare for INTJs to test as INTP, although it does happen, particularly when the INTJ lacks structure in their environment. For instance, the INTJ writing this post is accountable to neither a boss nor family and strongly identifies with ‘open-ended goals being subject to change.’ (As an up-to-the-minute case in point, my ENTP co-admin thinks I am writing something else that we agreed on, but then inspiration for this post struck!)

Also, INTJs, particularly those with analytical training, may identify more with Thinking (which is the INTP’s dominant function) than with iNtuition (which is the INTJ’s dominant function). For instance, an INTJ physicist may use his iNtuition to determine which lines of inquiry to pursue, but his logic must be airtight.

Enough throat-clearing – now to the meat of this post: How can you tell whether you’re INTJ or INTP?

First, you should of course read descriptions of the two types if you haven’t done so already. Good ones can be found at Personality Page (INTJ, INTP) and Best Fit Type (INTJ, INTP).

Second, you should read up on the cognitive functions over at Cognitive Processes. INTPs have Introverted Thinking (Ti) as their dominant function backed up by Extroverted Intuition (Ne), whereas INTJs have Introverted iNtuition (Ni) as their dominant function backed up by Extroverted Thinking (Te). Once you are clear on the definitions, we are proud to offer up our illustrated guide to the cognitive functions.

Finally, browse our site and see whether you identify more with the famous INTPs or the famous INTJs!

Update 2014: We now have an:

INTP or INTJ Test

32 Comments

  1. This is a question I let myself ponder for quite some time. And after careful observations, I’ve deduced that the perfect way to find out if you an INTP or an INTJ is to gather all the data concerning past behaviors of famous or known historical figurehead INTJ and INTP people. I’ve come to the conclusion that way that, I indeed am a native INTP.

    Furthermore, once you are able to find the answer to this amazingly revealing question in your quest to gain Universal understanding, you will be able to find your way towards capitalizing on your strength and also capitalizing on your weaknesses by displaying or developing your other sides that will help you bring out who you are.

  2. As to why INTJs test more accurately than INTPs: how about the fact that INTJs are more self-aware and objective than INTPs? :P

  3. It’s easy. If you haven’t got any doubt you are an INTJ. If you can’t decide which one are you, definitely INTP.

  4. Actually, it is much simpler than that. Honestly ask yourself “Do you have a problem with laziness?” If you answer yes, then then it is unlikely you are an INTJ.

  5. @Ridita, INTJs constantly gather more and more information, and even though we can be biased in our opinions, a healthy INTJ can simple recognize this aspect in themselves and stay open-minded of new perspectives. Also INTJ’s use a lot of inductive reasoning and thinking in terms of probabilities.

    @GuruOfReason, I don’t think it’s that simple at all, since INTJ’s can procrastinate as well, especially after we created a plan of action but get bored with putting it into practice, we then may indulge in our personal interests as opposed to doing what needs to be done (we’re no ENTJ’s).

  6. Now that I’m older, I’ve learned to mask some of my worst INTJ tendencies – especially as they relate to dealing with others. I like to think of myself as more of a INTP or even an INFJ in terms of presenting myself to the public. But deep down, I know better.

  7. I always look to the inferior function to find out type. I am an INTJ and my eternal Achilles’ heel is inferior sensing: aloofness, sense binges, overwhelmed by moods.

    I think the J/P thing is a red herring because I am intuition dominant and intuition is a perceiving function, while INTP’s are thinking dominant which is a judging function. So really, INTJ’s are perceiving (but don’t show this to the world — it is more internal) while INTP’s are judging (but show their perceiving side to the world).

    Also, I extravert thinking so when I get into a great philosophical discussion with another INTJ, we can talk until 5 AM in a neverending chain of randomness, thinking aloud, working it out as we go. Apparently introverted thinkers need time to ponder. To me, the classic INTJ gesture is that “wrap it up” hand gesture — it annoys people so much so I typically don’t do it, unless I’m talking to another INTJ in which case I know they won’t be offended. Being an INTJ I often feel like I know exactly what the other speaker is going to say halfway through the first sentence, and then they say like 10 more sentences and I’m so bored and impatient. I constantly give the impression of just waiting for my turn to speak, it really bugs people. I think INTJ’s are the least-liked of any type! I know that even as an INTJ I typically don’t get along that well with others of my type, although there is a kind of love-to-hate thing going on…

  8. Er, I realize that when I included being overwhelmed by moods as inferior sensing it might actually sound like it should be inferior feeling. But let me explain: I get overcome by affect, which is the physiological component of emotion or feeling. Introverted intuitives can be absolutely overwhelmed by affect — which is different from inferior feeling. It is a physiological sensing “mood” that overcomes me from time to time, and usually something like jogging will help me shake it off.

  9. I have a theory about the way I switch back and fourth between an INTJ and an INTP; it may only apply to me though. I found that most INTJ (generally speaking), have a tendency towards falling into lapses of depression because by nature they are self-critical and perfectionists. I recently took the test again and was over and over again tested as an INTP when normally I am a INTJ. I don’t normally get depressed but when I do it’s not a pretty sight. Anyways, the general symptoms of depression tend to make me unfocused, lazy, unmotivated and unorganized.

  10. A few months ago I took the test and scored as an INTJ. About a week later I was cleaning out some boxes of old notes and discovered that I had took the test about 10 years ago and scored as an INTP.
    So I compared the old test to the new one. The main difference was that I tried to keep things more organized now. I have been going through several iterations of organizing and re-organizing my external world.
    Is this a maturation of my Jungian Archetype? Don’t know…I am not a psychologist. I am currently age 53 as I write this.

  11. Any test only tests for concrete behavior and then attempts to backtrack to the real type from that.
    No tests are fool proof. So the question becomes rather one of the functions.

  12. so basically your article told us nothing and just gave us some links to vague websites, gee thanks.

  13. I think if you read Nietzsche a bit more, you would not think he is an INTJ. People who read the guy and understand his philosophy will see he is either intp or infp. The guy had no J in his life at all.

  14. Although my love for the works of Nietzsche & Ayn Rand would suggest I’m INTJ, I looked closely at my inferior function. Even though I’m an avid T, I am actually pretty astute at reading others emotions and can express my own, I feel no discomfort kissing my little children. I have a good Fe. However, I noticed that values and sentimental feelings mean nothing to me; I have no center. I enjoy eviscerating my parent’s arguments for their religioon and do not care in the least if I hurt their feelings. In my life I went from conservative Christian to liberal Christian to liberal Atheist to conservative Atheist as I accumulated more knowledge. I have no moral compass, but I don’t think I’m a sociopath. Just like the INTJ has almost no Fe, I have almost no Fi. I also liked Fountainhead (a story about an INTP indepdent detached architect) a little more than Atlas Shrugged (the INTJ Bible).

  15. hello guys. i liked the comments by most of you – Jonah Dempcy most especially. You think this is unusual of INTPs; complimenting others- which I am? please check: spt.skeletus or personalityjunkie
    com for quite accurate test. All the best in ur battle b/n J and P.

  16. A piece of advice. please think through carefully with each question before you tick. a dictionary will be helpful in better understanding certain words and phrases you may not fully understand.

  17. I think INTPs hate INTJs more than INTJs hate INTPs. I’m not sure if it’s due to personal insecurity, but INTPs seem quicker to criticize INTJs and other types more so than the opposite occurs. I’ve noticed that when an INTJ criticizes something or someone, it tends to be for a specific reason. They have a goal. They try to be polite about it and sometimes resent when people don’t return the favor. They can at times be passive aggressive or overly subtle, but expect information from the outside to be clear, yet kind. INTPs tend to be more comfortable with ambiguity from the outside but are often blunt themselves, and sometimes criticize for the sake of it or for self-indulgence. I see narcissism as actually being more common in INTP personalities than in INTJs. The INTJs I’ve known have been “fake cocky”, but internally modest, with it being the opposite for INTPs. The latter, in my experience, are more likely to use false modesty but bait others into validating their intellect or point of view. The INTJ is no longer passive aggressive in this case. For a change, they are clear and straightforward because even if their attempts are receiving outside validation fail, they have more inner validation than the INTP.

  18. INTPs tend to be more critical of most Te types because they see Te as boxing them in. I suspect that maybe INTJs–at least with the INTPs you know, are just in closer proximity than ISTJs or ESTJs. My INTP wife has no respect for any TJs that she has had the misfortune to meet in real life. And it is because they tend to be heavy-handed in their passing down judgment when, in fact, they are obviously lacking vital information to her.

  19. This was accurate and helped quite a bit. I am an INTJ, but I do have many INTP characteristics. This test has helped me see that I have indeed been placed accurately by the MBTI tests I have taken. However, the 41% INTP in me explains a lot…

  20. I tested 60% J in the type test. In the “INTJ or INTP” test the result was 60% INTP. Does that mean anything?

  21. What I find strange about being an INTJ is that people I socialize with will enjoy my company – until they find the parts of my quirks, moods, words, ideas, philosophies, or strategies that are usefully applicable in their own lives. Then they avoid me, to suddenly have become an “originator” of a trend with their own inner group. I’ve stopped giving advice for free because of those occurrences.

  22. I have taken the tests on multiple sites and always come up as an INTJ, even when I think I won’t. I can elaborate on myself, hopefully this helps.

    I tend to think everything can be analyzed and everything needs to make sense to me. If I am arguing with someone else and they don’t make sense, I will quickly lose interest in what they have to say. I rarely find myself agreeing with others just because I “like them”. I will either argue until I can no more, or give up and walk away (normally until I can no more).

    One thing that I may have a little bit different than the other INTJs is that I tend to get held up on details when making decisions. I see so many different approaches, that I tend to take a while to make a final decision. But when I do make a decision, it is normally the best and the right one.

    Another thing is that if I am asked to get something done, I will figure out a way of getting it done – even if it takes me months. Although I will try to engage colleagues in helping, I won’t push them if they don’t come accross as wanting to help. I feel like 99% of the time, people don’t want to help me and so I stop reaching out to them. I don’t care whether you are at the bottom of the totem pole or the owner of the company, all are the same to me. So don’t expect me to bow down to you because you are my manager, or my manager’s manager’s manager or whatever. Titles and status don’t mean anything to me.

    I come accross as cold and distant. I often catch myself day dreaming, my relatives will many times snap me out of them. I tend to be extremely quiet, reserved and private. Few people get to know me completely. I tend to have someone figured out the first time I meet them. I rarely get excited about things and could care less for the newest car, the newest iPad or iPod, etc…

    The traits I would like to change the most given the phase of my career is in being more extraverted and considering the impact of social norms, like small talk, etc…

  23. To me you sound a lot more like an INTP than a INTJ.

    “everything can be analyzed” is pretty much Ti in a nutshell, as an INTJ I’d say “almost everything is obvious” (Ni).

    And the bit about decision making process sounds very Si/Ne. “I see so many different approaches” is very Ne and taking the time to make a final decision is a lot more Si than Ni. Ni would be “I clearly see the best approach” and Se would be “lets get it done already”

    “Although I will try to engage colleagues” and the rest of paragraph 4 sounds like textbook inferior Fe to me. Most INTJs wouldn’t even consider getting any help unless they were certain they couldn’t handle it alone. And as leaders only as much as delegating away boring detail stuff.

    The rest are all stuff that is probably true for Both INTPs and INTJs and probably a few other types as well.

    I’d say you’re INTP or perhaps ISTJ, but with so little evidence…

    As allways the inferior function is the most telling. What do you find absolutely magical at times and has a maddening hold over your will and makes you do stupid things. Physical beauty, sensory stimuli and acting on them (Se) or relationships with other people and social matrixes, rules, etc that bind people together (I’m assuming inferior Fe would be something like this)

  24. @Scratch I really see myself in your INTJ explaination. I’m a young 17 year old (german) INTJ. I was very confident that my type is INTJ from the beginning but after I read that INTJ and INTP can often mistype each other I just wanted to check things. But after I read a lot between the INTJ and INTP differences I’m even more confident that I’m an INTJ.

  25. I think I am Ni, Ti, Fi, Se. I intuitively understand everything (to the point of intuiting while I’m thinking, intuiting about multiple things at once, and intuitively understanding concepts so specifically it translates into exact words), I break things down into pieces and understand logical consistency, but I follow my intuition more. Some things feel right to me. I am also impulsive and act on my gut impulses.

  26. @Rusked

    Nerp sorry, I can tie my shoes up really well, and even brush my hair regularly. So eat that, sucker! :D

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