In this article:
- INTP characters are often typecast as scientists or geeks because of the type’s natural affinity for formal logic.
- Many XNTX types are depicted as villains in shows, but strangely enough the INTP doesn’t have this reputation to the extent thaty INTJ, ENTJ, and ENTP do.
- Once you get past letter dichotomies and stereotypes, there’s a lot to appreciate about the INTP and the ways they can be similar to, yet different, from each other and other NT types.
- If you think you’re an INTP, you can get an idea about how the INTP processes the world around them here to see if it resonates with you.
INTP characters are a lot like their INTJ cousins in the sense that they’re always typecast into smart roles. Where INTJ is given the mastermind/tactician stereotype, INTP is given the mad scientist/geek stereotype. The natural affinity of the INTP for fields that require the use of formal logic makes them a common type for academically smart characters to be. If you see an anime character in glasses who likes science, you can bet on them being portrayed as a stereotypical INTP.
But while INTPs are depicted as socially incompetent and incredibly smart, type doesn’t really determine actual intelligence and not all INTPs, especially the healthier, more developed ones, are socially inept.
Here are just a few of the most recognizable INTPs in media and the ways they actually fit their type’s mode of thinking – both the stereotypical and non-stereotypical side.
INTP Characters Based On Their Cognitive Functions
Many XNTX types are depicted as villains in shows, but strangely enough, the INTP doesn’t have this reputation to the extent that INTJ, ENTJ, and ENTP do. Instead, it’s more common for INTPs to be characters who are shy or callous but sensitive to social rejection on some level.
This stereotype taps into the inferior cognitive function of the INTP which is Extraverted Feeling (Fe). While XXFJs are comfortable with navigating social environments and XXTJs can ignore social demands, IXTPs are fish out of water that are sensitive to the fact that they aren’t in their element. This is a common thread among these INTP characters.
1. Amy Farrah Fowler
Amy Farrah Fowler is a character from The Big Bang Theory who becomes Sheldon Cooper’s love interest. Amy has a doctorate in neurobiology, a sign that her intellectual interests are bent toward understanding people. This can be taken as a case of her dominant function, Introverted Thinking, working together with inferior Extraverted Feeling to understand a field that’s alien and variable enough to be fascinating (auxiliary Extraverted Intuition) but not so alien from her experiences that it’s uncomfortable to explore (tertiary Introverted Sensing).
Though Amy tries to understand people, is clearly the more socially competent one between her and Sheldon, and is emotionally open to being friends with other female characters, she used to get in trouble for her lack of mastery over her inferior function. As a high school student, Amy was an outcast who would often get into odd social situations.
2. Jane Foster
Jane Foster is another female scientist INTP from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She doesn’t strike you as the typical INTP right off the bat because she’s a lot more well-rounded compared to other INTPs in fiction.
However, she has a single-minded focus on learning more about the universe even when it puts her life in danger simply because it’s something she wants to learn more about. Knowledge for knowledge’s sake is more of an Introverted Thinker (XXTP) interest versus XXTJs who may be just as academically inclined but only in so far as it’s immediately useful to them.
Her Extraverted Intuition makes her endearing to Thor who finds her penchant for going off on tangents as she gushes over her discoveries adorable.
3. Sherlock Holmes
Onto the more stereotypical INTPs, we have Sherlock Holmes. Okay, there’s actually some speculation out there that says he may be an ISTP because of the way he uses inductive reasoning from clues in his environment can be taken as a feature of the Introverted Intuition and Extraverted Sensing axis.
But back to the point.
Assuming Sherlock Holmes is INTP, it actually fits better than him being an IXTJ. While it seems like he doesn’t care what anyone thinks or feels, there are moments in the BBC show where it’s clear that he gets uncomfortable when he’s made aware of his own social incompetence. His mind palace?
A great visualization of how rigid and effective Introverted Thinking can be.
Even the rare moments where he turns out to be wrong and is completely blindsided by it goes back to the fact that it surprises him because he didn’t think it was possible (Extraverted Intuition) and he struggles to reconcile this with his internal logic.
4. Velma Dinkley
Velma Dinkley is the obvious INTP out of the entire Mystery Gang. like, they didn’t even have to make her wear glasses. Velma is so good at piecing information together with her dominant Introverted Thinking that she often solves the bulk of cases on her own, even if the others discover that information for her first.
Like Jane Foster, Velma isn’t prone to thinking of the world as perhaps mystical on some level or way. Everything to her can be explained by something obvious and physical. Contrast this to Intuitive Intuition types (INXJs and ISXPs) who may be “logical” in their own but fascinated by the mysterious because they’re unknown, in some way. To Velma, mysteries are just puzzles for figuring out.
5. Sangonomiya Kokomi
Unlike Fischl, who is a clear INFP, some Genshin Impact fans can find Kokomi’s personality confusing and think of her as an INFP or an INFJ, likely because she’s shy and sensitive. Honestly though? An Introverted Feeling dominant wouldn’t have compromised with an enemy.
Don’t let her sweet looks and stereotypically feminine aesthetic fool you. Kokomi is an INTP who is struggling with her inferior Extraverted Feeling but makes a clear effort to use it.
Kokomi has a talent for tactics and logistics as she never lets her army run out of supplies or resources during the Inazuma archon quest. Though she’s in a leadership position, she clearly likes the specialist side of it more than the actual leading side, something that XXXJs would feel more comfortable in.
Her Extraverted Intuition lets her account for every possibility on the battlefield while Introverted Intuition organizes it all into easy-to-use mental systems that help her make yes/no decisions. An XXTJ, in contrast, would have been more comfortable making snap decisions on the fly.
Though INFJ has been proposed for her, Sangonomiya Kokomi doesn’t really show any Introverted Intuition as she actively and consciously thinks out every move rather than relying on her unconscious, gut instincts to do the thinking for her.
Even the Extraverted Feeling she has comes at the bottom of her cognitive stack as she is quickly drained by it and uncomfortable with using it all the time. That said, she understands the value of social relations and because of it, she doles out rewards and promotions to keep morale up.
What Makes INTPs Think That Way?
The letter dichotomy approach introduced in tests like the classic MBTI and 16Personalities reduces type to I/E, N/S, T/F, and J/P “either-or” preferences, but here, we favor the Grant-Brownsword model as it’s used in the Sakinorva MBTI test. In this model, the INTP operates according to the following cognitive functions:
- Dominant: Introverted Thinking
- Auxiliary: Extraverted Intuition
- Tertiary: Introverted Sensing
- Inferior: Extraverted feeling
Introverted Thinking is the INTP and ISTP’s default mode. You can think of it as the main lens through which they judge the world around them and make assessments. Introverted Thinking tries to create a consistent internal logic, similar to how Introverted Feeling does the same with its views on morality. The INTP likes to refine this to make it as consistent and comprehensive as possible.
Extraverted Intuition allows INTP to imagine possibilities and is to thank for the XNXP’s reputation for being oddly chatty. Extraverted Intuition finds toying with multiple ideas at the same time and in rapid succession fun and this makes them comfortable with being the brainstormers of ideas and unlikely worst-case scenarios.
Introverted Sensing, like Introverted Intuition, is a pattern seeker except it seeks out patterns using past experiences and previous knowledge. It is also keenly aware of what it has and has not experienced or have knowledge about which is why XNXPs can be open to ideas but reserved about physical experiences.
Extraverted Feeling is the fourth and last function the INTP consciously develops. It makes the INTP sensitive to social situations hence their aversion to it – whether it manifests as shyness, anxiety, aggressiveness, or apathy. When honed, Extraverted Feeling helps INTP understand how to motivate and lead people as well as how to navigate social settings with relative ease.
Are You An INTP?
INTPs are cool but so is every other function stack. While the XNTXs have reputation for being smart, the MBTI is not an IQ test of any kind as it only tries to describe people’s preferred modes of thinking. If you want to know whether you’re an INTP or some other XXXX type, check out our guide to the Sakinorva MBTI test.