ENTP or INTP?
Although ENTPs and INTPs share the same valued functions, the positioning of these functions makes a big difference in how they’re expressed. Catch up on function positions here if you need a refresher.
+Ne as dominant function
The dominant function sets the agenda for the individual, and for ENTPs that agenda is set by Ne, or extraverted iNtuition. Given an idea or event, ENTPs effortlessly see a seemingly infinite number of potential root causes, implications, and applications of that information. However, unlike INTPs, these possibilities are experienced in sequence, one after the other, in a cascading train of thought, rather than being experienced simultaneously.
Even when an answer seems obvious to others, ENTPs can’t help but experience a lingering doubt, wondering whether it’s not possible that this other thing is actually true. They won’t take anything for granted, and they won’t let others, either. They have a childlike playfulness and wonder about the world and always want to see what’s around the next corner.
Although they may seem to others to doubt and waver between different possibilities, they can also seem unusually stubborn and resistant to changing their mind once they’ve made it up. For them, changing their mind is all-or-nothing, and changing their mind about one thing has a domino effect on every other thought and belief in their life.
Because ENTPs have +Ne, they approach the world with a childlike wonder. They feel as though they will never run out of new things to explore. They feel like every new thing is fresh and exciting. They are focused on the accumulation of ideas or potential – specifically, they see the potential of an object, idea, or person to develop into something great as an existing value in itself. They identify a venture or idea, in a sense, as already pointed and moving in a positive direction, and view their role as merely accelerating that forward movement.
-Ti as dominant function
The dominant agenda for an INTP is set by Ti, or introverted Thinking. They instantly notice and pay attention to causal relations, easily determining the chain of events that led to a particular circumstance. They also instinctively understand how adjusting one variable in a system will impact all of the other components of the system.
Unlike ENTPs, they spend little time trying to either prove or disprove their theories. Instead, their theories are developed after they’ve already fully tested and analyzed the situation, and they are unlikely to change unless presented with new and contradictory information. This does not happen often, as they generally have the foresight to predict what information could possibly be used to contradict any theories related to a topic, and will seek out such information before forming one. They are very resistant to verbalizing their opinions or hunches without having done such work. For this reason, it can be said that it’s very difficult for an INTP to change their mind, but only because it’s rare they’ve ever completely made it up in the first place.
Because INTPs have -Ti, their first instinct is to attempt to disprove rather than investigate new ideas. It’s much easier for them to see how something is false than it is for them to construct an argument for how it could be true. They’re not interested in adopting one perspective and building on it; rather, they prefer to start from a blank slate and follow the evidence where it leads. They’re very uncomfortable with constructing a hypothetical system or explanation until they’ve already gathered all of the evidence they could possibly need to disprove it. Only once they are unable to disprove such a theory will they adopt it as valid. Even then it’s very rare for them to dismiss new evidence that contradicts it, regardless of how invested they may have become in it.
+Ti as auxiliary function
The auxiliary function serves – and thus, is constrained (or supervised) by the dominant function. In ENTPs, this means that Ti – introverted Thinking – serves the agenda of Ne. Once possibilities are generated, they choose to further investigate the ones that seem most likely to pay off in the end – the avenues that hold the greatest potential for actually revealing something interesting, novel, and useful. There’s enough wonder in the world to safely ignore personal attachments and biases and instead follow the evidence and information where it leads. That said, they’re very interested in taking far-fetched or unusual hypotheses and trying to figure out if there’s a way they could possibly make them work. They won’t give up on something until they’ve exhausted all possible approaches – or until they get bored, of course. They generally see rules as essentially arbitrary and are happy to bend or break them if they get in the way of enjoyment or discovery.
Because ENTPs have +Ti, they take a “constructive” view toward evaluating an idea. They are focused on making the best case for an idea that they can – accumulating evidence and developing it to its logical conclusion – and are resistant to efforts to shut it down or change focus until they feel that the concept has been fully considered.
-Ne as auxiliary function
In INTPs, Ne serves the agenda of Ti. New ideas are easily generated, but only if they already fit within the framework of the INTP’s understanding. They don’t spend time on any ideas that don’t clearly fall within the realm of plausibility, and in fact can sometimes suffer from indecision or “analysis paralysis” due to the compulsion to check and verify the feasibility of each potential plan before enacting it, for instance. INTPs are not impulsive and almost always know what the results of their choices will be before they make them, due to first having considered all of the possibilities they perceived.
Despite being heavily grounded by feasibility, INTPs are not at all burdened by evidence, and are able to deftly consider hypothetical situations or take an alternative perspective despite having had little to no concrete experience with the matter.
Because INTPs have -Ne, they experience “newness” with a sense of calm amusement, like a grandfather watching a baby discover rain for the first time. They feel as though they’ve already seen (or imagined) it all. For this reason they do not get excited at new possibilities, opportunities, or ideas until it becomes clear that this one is actually different than the rest.
-Fe as tertiary function
ENTPs feel energized and inspired by a positive, comfortable social atmosphere. When someone is interested in listening to them, it feels like they overflow with ideas, sometimes tripping over themselves to get them all out. On the other hand, when people are responding negatively to them, it also amplifies their energy, encouraging them to do more of whatever people are criticizing. They want to be liked, valued, and included – rejection makes them feel terrible and lash out. And yet, they are able to persist in the face of social difficulty or rejection, standing by their convictions, which they almost can’t help but defend.
ENTPs overestimate how well they understand other people. They’re often proud of their insight into human nature, of ascertaining other people’s intentions and character. Once they understand someone, they give excellent advice and counsel, but it is not uncommon for them to misread the situation and put their foot in their mouth as a result.
ENTPs get offended by what they see as rudeness, bad manners, being judgmental, or cliquey-ness in others, and may lash out, leaving both parties feeling injured. They will often deny being upset or place the blame squarely on the other person, justifying their attack as having been ‘provoked’ (regardless of who observers say actually initiated the conflict). They’re prone to holding grudges against those they feel have wronged them or people they care about, although they will rarely accelerate a conflict or cut people out of their lives.
Because ENTPs have -Fe, they often take an opposing or balancing role to that of the others they interact with. For example, if someone is in a somber mood, they try to crack jokes or distract them with positive things, whereas if somebody seems overly cheerful, they may become sarcastic or take the opportunity to talk about any negative emotions they’d been bottling up. They feel uncomfortable when they sense a social pressure to conform to the prevailing mood or act a certain way, as doing so is unnatural and difficult for them.
+Si as tertiary function
More than any other type, INTPs enjoy the act of “playing house” (which is not to say they do it most often – that distinction, of course, remains with xSFJs). This may only become apparent when they have someone to care for, such as a pet or loved one. They feel energized and fulfilled by the opportunity to feed, clean up after, or otherwise tend to a loved one. However, they tire easily with too much pressure in this sphere and are prone to making mistakes like spilling, burning food, or forgetting to do laundry until they have no clean clothes.
INTPs try to be careful and deliberate with their belongings, but feel a sense of shame or disappointment when they damage them through carelessness or clumsiness, which is not an uncommon event. For this and other reasons, they are extremely likely to prefer minimalist surroundings and almost compulsively resist acquiring new material goods until absolutely necessary. They will wear their socks until there are more holes than sock remaining – not through the inability to care for themselves, like an ENTP, but through a stubbornness about the idea of replacing them.
INTPs are very resistant to being rushed by others, and yet chronically procrastinate and put themselves in situations where they have a very short time to complete a mandatory task. The reason for this is that they are always applying a small amount of sustained effort toward whatever tasks are on hand, so they don’t have an immediately accessible pool of energy to apply to large tasks that present themselves unexpectedly (unless such tasks are true emergencies, in which case they’re willing to use the last of their reserves). Instead, they’ll scale down their continuous low-level tasks to the degree necessary in order to complete those big tasks – usually right at the last minute.
Because INTPs have +Si, they can be comfortable almost anywhere and in nearly any situation. They have very ascetic tastes and can sleep comfortably, for example, on a hard surface with a flat pillow and thin blanket. They’re poorly aware of their own health and physical needs and often leave problems to linger for a long time; that said, when they put their mind to maintaining a particular routine for health, such as exercise or taking daily medicine, they’re usually better than other types with weak Si at sticking to it.
-Si as inferior function
ENTPs have a deep sense of nostalgia and a longing for simple, clean, predictable things. They often gravitate toward things that remind them of childhood or another time that they felt safe and happy.
They struggle mightily to avoid making the same mistakes over and over, especially when they’re young, but continuing into their adult years as well. As teenagers, they repeatedly struggle to self-correct small behaviors that continue to get them into trouble – bad habits like forgetting to do homework, tracking mud on the floor, or forgetting people’s names as soon as they meet them. They tend to be quite messy and disorganized, which generally improves as they reach their early-to-mid twenties.
ENTPs are attracted to people who are simple, elegant, and graceful. They value people whom they can depend on, who inquire after (or care for) their health and well-being, who make them feel grounded and secure. They like a good listener who remembers small details about them and shows their affection in tangible, meaningful gestures, such as giving a gift based on an inside joke, preparing them a nice meal, or drawing them a picture. As they age, ENTPs become better and better at providing such gentle, small gestures and a sense of stability and protection for themselves and their loved ones in return.
Because ENTPs have -Si, they’re very sensitive to changes in their environment or physical condition. They poorly care for themselves, but are quite vocal about their physical needs, regularly announcing the fact that they’re hungry, tired, cold, etc. either verbally or through dramatic physical gestures, but only seeking out the remedies to these situations with great difficulty on their own, often forgetting to perform even basic maintenance tasks like eating and sleeping.
+Fe as inferior function
INTPs deeply crave a sense of belonging and need very badly to feel loved and accepted in order to flourish. They are sensitive to perceived rejection, especially feeling like their motivations have been misunderstood or misinterpreted.
INTPs often struggle to explain themselves in a way that connects with other people, often finding that people take things in a way they didn’t mean them. Especially when young, they struggle to connect with their peers, often feeling ostracized, alienated, or – especially – overlooked. They can be relatively blunt and insensitive in communication, which generally improves as they reach their early-to-mid twenties.
INTPs are attracted to people who glow with warmth, passion, and sincerity. They value people who know what they want and ask for it directly, preferably with dramatic, even playfully manipulative, expressions like a coy smile or an exaggerated pout. They like to listen to people talk about things they care about, especially when it relates to other people or society. INTPs are secretly quite fascinated by drama, gossip, aesthetics, and the issues of daily life, which they can feel excluded from. They love to be around people who excite in them strong emotions, whether of joy or tears, and who make them feel heard and seen. As they age, INTPs become better at reading others and expressing themselves in an open, charming way.
Because INTPs have +Fe, they are natural mimics and adopt the mood and mannerisms of the people and environments they find themselves in the midst of. They are excellent at providing empathy by mirroring the sentiments of those they interact with, but they can also fall victim to unwittingly amplifying and escalating negative emotions. For this reason they seek out calm, supportive environments, and may prefer to avoid situations that they fear will lead to unpleasant emotions until they’ve determined that there’s no other viable way to confront the issue.
-Ni as ignoring function
ENTPs seem to miss the implications of their words or actions, even as they are able to advise others in this capacity. They often ignore concerns related to time, and they discuss the feasibility of a plan solely in terms of effort or other resources, such as money. They may not generally be impressed by twist endings or hidden meanings in fiction, or at least, they require them to be truly shocking and unexpected in order to enjoy them. Additionally, they prefer direct communication rather than hinting or subtlety.
In general, ENTPs are able to provide wise advice to others about how their choices or certain events are likely to turn out, but rarely seem to make use of this ability when considering their own lives. If forced to do so openly, for example when asked to come up with a 10-year-plan or show a projection of the results of a strategy, they will feel put out and uncomfortable but will be able to competently do so, likely satisfying the minimum requirements of the task and no more.
Because ENTPs have -Ni, they’re instinctively attuned to the potential pitfalls and negative outcomes of a situation, and also to the way concepts or objects are inherently dissimilar – including an awareness of how reality strays from the ideal. Part of the reason that they resist talking about their predictions of future events is that they’re inherently pessimistic and skeptical that things can really get better or turn out the way they want them to. When pressed, they’ll grudgingly admit to fearing the worst; however, by filing those thoughts away to the recesses of their unconscious minds, they’re able to focus the majority of their attention on ideas and possibilities that excite them and try to figure out how to bring them to fruition, becoming uncommonly energized and enthusiastic when they work out the way they wanted them to. For this reason, they generally seem to be positive and hopeful, if not quite optimistic, people. The exception is during their teenage years or during periods where their physical or psychological health is poorly tended to, which can lead them to becoming much more disaster-prone in their speech and behavior.
+Te as ignoring function
It’s extremely rare for an INTP to reject an idea simply because of the source it stems from. They feel that even the words of a charlatan, a beggar, or a child could prove true. Similarly, even a king, a professor, or an expert can lie or be mistaken. They believe that claims need to be evaluated on their own merits, without consideration of their source. This also means that they can seem to some to be stubbornly unwilling to admit to something that “everybody knows”, even in the face of what many consider to be objective proof. The INTP will still need time to analyze and evaluate it on their own before accepting it.
That said, they are good at judging the merit of a source of information, a research study, or a proclaimed expert. Although they don’t seek to make use of this information themselves, they are willing to advise others in this capacity, and may even criticize others for being duped by sources they see as unreliable.
Because INTPs have +Te, they’re motivated by the practice of optimization. This is another root source of their ‘analysis paralysis’ – nothing ever seems to them to be quite as good as it could be. Generally that thought is suppressed in favor of simply producing something, but if forced to turn a critical eye on their own work, they’re always able to find something they want to improve. Seemingly paradoxically, this often leads to a lapse in more trivial concerns like spelling and formatting, leading many INTPs to riddle their writing with such small errors. This is not an indication of sloppiness in the rest of their work, however; rather, it’s the rejection of form and perfection for their own sake.
-Te as demonstrative function
ENTPs very comfortably and deftly handle matter related to empirical science and following standard practices and procedures. They have no difficulty referring to or interpreting sources of knowledge such as textbooks, manuals, research studies, and the work of experts in a field.
In an attempt at persuasion, ENTPs often rely on such sources and may even seem to take them at face value, projecting over-confidence in a theory simply because it’s backed up by an expert, for instance. However, when presented with a sound logical argument that contradicts a particular claim, or even when presented with a contrasting idea that seems more interesting to them, they have no qualms with abandoning the previous source and open-mindedly considering the new position. They have no loyalty to prestige, renown, or ‘common knowledge’ when it comes to pursuing the truth. Other people – those at a larger psychological distance from the ENTP – will consider them to be much more strict and unbending about data, science, and ‘objective’ fact than the ENTP considers themselves.
Particularly when defending their actions or criticizing others, ENTPs seem to others to have an obsession with rules, standard procedures, and universal expectations. It’s common for their entire argument to rest on the assertion that they didn’t technically break any rules. “It wasn’t cheating – we were on a break” or “Nowhere in the code of conduct does it say anything about fireworks.”
Because ENTPs have -Te, they easily notice when events or objects diverge from their typical or preferred state. For instance, they’ll be quick to notice and correct an inefficiency in a chain of command or a malfunction in a kitchen appliance. However, once something is working satisfactorily, they’re unlikely to continue tinkering or trying to optimize it, preferring to move on to something new.
+Ni as demonstrative function
INTPs have a very developed sense of understanding the implications of things. If they seem to tune out when you’re talking, it’s only because they’ve almost certainly predicted what you’re going to say. They know what will happen in a movie and whether your plan will work out or not before you’ve even fully formulated it.
INTPs are highly resistant to sharing these insights, finding the “guessing game” useless and preferring to wait and see what comes. They would always prefer for something to turn out differently than they expected, which would allow them their few “old man” moments of glee as mentioned in the Ne section. They will often deny knowing what’s going to happen, even as they begin to act to prepare themselves for it. This is not (simply) due to their fear of self-exposure, but rather because they are often not consciously aware of just how strong their intuition is in this matter. INTPs can be arrogant in this predictive ability in the sense that they are enthusiastic to say “I told you so” or “I knew it” after the outcome has been revealed, but reticent to reveal it to others or even, in fact, to themselves beforehand. Often this results in them having three or four likely outcomes in their mind pre-reveal, and only paying attention to the actual outcome post-reveal.
INTPs will respect other people’s dream analysis and gut feelings, but only to the extent that it can help them discover new viable lines of reasoning. Once they’ve established that an idea is logically or practically unsound, it will be discarded, regardless of how emphatically another person feels it is true.
Because INTPs have +Ni, their intuition is cumulative. The more experience they have with something turning out a certain way, the more sure they are that it will continue to be that way. For this reason they can be very dogged in their pursuit of alternatives, trying everything they can to make this time different, as they fear that reverting to the status quo may entrench negative patterns to the extent that no alternative is able to be perceived, at which point they will likely cut their losses. Similarly, when they have found an approach that has consistently produced positive results in the past, they latch onto it, varying their approach only when it becomes clear that they have to.
+Fi as vulnerable function
ENTPs have a weak sense of personal identity. They tend to try very hard to live up (or down) to other people’s expectations of them. It’s very difficult for them to see themselves differently than how others treat them – it would be difficult for an abused ENTP child to grow up to be confident and emotionally balanced, for instance, at least until they’re surrounded with people who love and support them unconditionally (and sometimes not even then, depending on how invested they are in mentally reliving the trauma of the past).
They generally feel unsure of how strong their relationships are. Even with the closest friends and family members, they may doubt whether or not they are valued or loved. Similarly, it’s often very difficult for them to tell when someone dislikes them or doesn’t respect them. Even if someone else’s feelings about them are made explicit, it’s difficult for them to tell whether these feelings are justified or, for example, whether they’re a projection by the other party.
ENTPs avoid discussing personal values as much as possible, but occasionally adopt the language of values in order to talk about things that they consider both illogical/irrational and that give them negative emotions. For example, describing a political opponent or economic policy as “disgusting” or “shameful”.
Because ENTPs have +Fi, their self-conception is cumulative. This is the reason they are so susceptible to changing their worldview due to repeated experiences, whether positive or negative – their Fi is both weak and cumulative, so in a sense they’re at the mercy of their experiences. Although personal preferences are not strongly pronounced, those that do emerge are closely linked with the emotion the ENTP was feeling at the times they encountered a place, person, song, etc., regardless of whether they were related.
-Se as vulnerable function
INTPs seem to intentionally reject any display of force or dominance as silly or irrelevant. They often laugh at or mock such concerns, and may even seem to intentionally create awkwardness or discomfort in situations where there are unspoken rules about hierarchy or respect for authority.
In truth, they are unable to conform to such rules even if they wanted to. They do not perceive this hidden structure, and even if they notice emergent signs (such as a certain person taking a seat at the head of the table), it’s only with difficulty and training that they can interpret what it means in terms of group dynamics.
INTPs are often oblivious to their surroundings and will continue through a daily routine without even noticing dramatic, unusual phenomena in their surroundings. After perhaps INFPs, INTPs are the most likely to go to work normally without immediately noticing that a zombie apocalypse is underway. To types with stronger Se, they seem to move in a very stilted and “unnatural” way, struggling to even “walk on autopilot” without conscious effort. They are also prone to being hit with flying projectiles or accidentally elbowing their date in the ribs while leaning over to kiss her.
Because INTPs have -Se, their application of force is all-or-nothing, like a light switch. When faced with conflict or pressure, they remain cool and even mocking, up until the point where they feel genuinely threatened. At this time, they will explode with maximum force, “taking down” the threat by any means necessary, with little consideration about the future effects of their outburst. This usually has the intended effect of neutralizing the threat, but they may come to regret this later if it turns out that they misread the situation.
+Se as role function
ENTPs understand the need to show strength and force to the world and do not want others to see them as weak or helpless. At the same time, they deeply long to be cared for, and have little interest in competing with or dominating over others, preferring instead a relaxed atmosphere with good vibes and playful verbal sparring.
In unfamiliar situations and when surrounded by strangers, ENTPs may put on a tough exterior, warily paying attention to what’s going on around them and keeping an eye on the power dynamics of the room in case the need for a sudden show of strength appears. When hurt or embarrassed – or if they feel threatened – they may lash out at the perceived threat, generally in the third person. “If anyone tries to test me, I’ll smash them into pieces!” When actually confronted with the threat of violence or harm, however, they are much more likely to run or de-escalate than to engage.
ENTPs are not uncommon in extreme sports, and some of them are drawn to daredevil stunts. This is more for the thrill of exploration – seeing what it feels like, what new avenues it could open up, or what new tricks they could do – rather than a desire to push their physical limits or the rush of emerging unscathed from real danger. They are rarely at the forefront in terms of setting records or actually putting themselves at risk, as physically they generally lack the precision, force, and patience to achieve such high levels of athletic achievement, although there are a few notable exceptions. Other ENTPs may enjoy the discipline of martial arts or team sports like soccer, although again this is much more likely to be a recreational pursuit than a professional one.
Because ENTPs have +Se, their force and effort is cumulative and accelerationist. They respond to pressure with pressure, and they respond to chaos in the environment by becoming more chaotic themselves. That said, they have little energy in this function and will tire and retreat much more quickly than other types.
-Fi as role function
In novel situations or when encountering strangers, INTPs are particularly polite and sensitive to others, almost fading passively into the background to listen and observe. They are extremely shy about revealing details of their personal lives. They could work with someone for years without that person ever knowing that the INTP was married with kids, or that they are renowned in some esoteric field.
This reticence to reveal themselves extends also to elements of preference and personal identity. They are very resistant to sharing information about their favorite books, movies, or even foods when it concerns their own tastes and feelings, although they are perfectly comfortable listening to and engaging with others on their opinions of these topics. In many cases this is simply because they do not have such preferences, and the few that they do have are very closely guarded and may even be unknown to the INTP themselves.
INTPs are very sensitive about being considered ethical and fair. They have a moral/rational justification for all of their actions, and will feel hurt and even victimized by people who disapprove of their moral choices, particularly when they care about these people. They do not take their responsibility toward or effect on other people lightly.
Because INTPs have -Fi, they don’t form personal attachments easily. They are very detached from most people and treat them all with equal consideration and emotional and physical space. However, when they do form a real attachment, it is very intense and quickly becomes a “permanent” fixture in their mind. Once such attachment is formed – whether to a person, an idea, or even a place or object – they would move mountains to protect it, and their interest and dedication will never waver. However, in the absence of such strong attachment, changing circumstances can create a dramatic change in the INTP’s behavior – a marriage of love will last forever, but a marriage of convenience is as fragile as a butterfly’s wing.
Small groups are formed when the 16 types are split into 4 groups of 4. All members of a small group have exactly three dichotomies in common. Although there are 35 total small groups, most of them have not been studied or analyzed enough to be useful in typing people. Of the 11 small groups we have defined enough to be useful, ENTPs and INTPs share 3 of them (Club, Romance Style, and Quadra). The following are the small groups in which they differ, ordered by usefulness in typing.
Temperament can be discerned by looking at the first and last letters of a type’s name. It’s a combination of three dichotomies: extravert/introvert, rational/irrational, and static/dynamic. Both ENTPs and INTPs are static. For more information about these dichotomies, please look in the relevant section later in the article.
ExxPs are extraverted, irrational, and static.
- Hate being told what to do and will rebel against orders and forceful requests. Prefer to assess the situation and initiate action in whatever way seems right to them, with little direct influence or pressure. Respond better to subtle pressure and indirect suggestions.
- Fluctuate between periods of high energy, where they work and play for hours or even days with little respite, and lulls of very low energy, where they struggle even to complete mandatory tasks. Not uncommon to run later or cancel plans.
- Often find themselves fidgeting or shifting a lot when forced to stay still, especially when they are either very bored and restless, or very excited and engaged in an activity or conversation. May feel the need to stand up and pace around, or go out and do something, when this restlessness gets too strong.
- Not very aware of their own preferences and thought processes. Often tell stories about their experiences or announce their needs, hoping (consciously or subconsciously) that others will help them understand themselves or provide guidance or care.
- Enjoy periods of rest, but also enjoy periods of activation and activity. Struggle with motivation for unpleasant tasks or those that they find irrelevant, but never struggle to be productive in tasks that they want to complete. May have many ideas for things they might like to do someday, but feel little pressure to complete these “someday” tasks if the motivation doesn’t present itself.
- Makes decisions impulsively. Responsive to immediate circumstances – notices a change in the environment and reacts to it very quickly. Doesn’t spend much time wishing things were different than they are; instead, tries to accept their circumstances.
- Very talkative, especially when in a good mood. Mostly prefer to talk about themselves, followed by talking about general topics (especially their own thoughts on these topics). Become impatient when listening to others unless the other person is talking about something they’re interested in. Most ExxPs are not aware of how talkative they are and many report preferring 50/50 conversations, or may even self-report that they are quiet people, but this is rarely the case. Unlike ExxJs, they’re not usually embarrassed about being talkative.
- May have many physical types. Generally they are either “noodle-thin” (thin but with a higher body fat percentage), chubby or obese, or athletic and muscular. Rarely seem either bony/skeletal or imposing and sturdy.
IxxPs are introverted, rational, and static.
- Find it difficult to resist requests from people they find charming or persuasive, and often enjoy successfully catering to their stated needs and desires, using their agency to figure out how to best accomplish the goals they’ve been given.
- Almost always appear calm and relaxed. Need ample time and mental or physical preparation both before and after an activity that requires a lot of concentration or effort. Usually complete all mandatory tasks in time and rarely cancel firm plans.
- Occasionally fidget, but never struggle to stay still – in fact, prefer it, or at least leisurely movement and activity. Don’t like to be rushed. Could easily stay in bed all day if there was nothing they had to do. Sometimes pace when concentrating or excited, but large-scale movements are generally purposeful.
- Very aware of own desires and needs. Can perfectly explain the rationale behind a decision they made. Rarely discuss their own experiences or needs unless they have a specific request or someone has asked them directly.
- Struggle to find motivation and energy to complete long-term tasks. Always wish they could be more productive or successful than they are. Enjoy rest, but lament that it is necessary. Have many long-term goals and projects but never feel like they have enough time to work on all of them. Are sensitive about potentially disappointing others by not sticking to their commitments.
- Knows what they like and what they don’t like about their circumstances. Has a clear sense of what they want to change. Strategic IxxPs (INxP) create a plan of attack well into the future and implement it proactively. Need time to think and regroup during and following a big change.
- Like ExxPs, also report preferring 50/50 conversations, although they are almost always quieter than extraverts. Usually speak fairly softly. Mostly prefer to talk about others’ experiences and thoughts, followed by general topics. Don’t usually spend much time talking about themselves. Become more talkative when interested and excited by a topic. Very patient listeners, but will lose patience quickly when they don’t feel that they’re allowed to speak or express themselves at all in a conversation.
- Almost always “noodle-thin” to average. A small group may become obese, especially with age and/or life dissatisfaction. It’s fairly rare to see a chubby IxxP unless they are transitioning between obesity and thinness. Even IxxPs who work out a lot are unlikely to become very muscular. Rarely seem skeletal, never seem imposing and sturdy.
Cognitive Style is a combination of three dichotomies: static/dynamic, positivist/negativist, and process/result. Both ENTPs and INTPs are static, so this description will mainly be focused on the last two dichotomies. For more information about these dichotomies, please look in the relevant section later in the article.
Causal-Deterministic types are ENTP, ESFP, INFP, and ISTP. They’re static, positivist, and process.
- Cognitive style similar to formal logic
- More deterministic
- Often use language like “because”, “therefore”, and “consequently”
- Mentally construct chains of cause and effect
- “The source of the sculpture is the sculptor who sculpted it.”
- ENTP particularly thinks in terms of scientific determinism – chain reactions, Newtonian physics, etc.
- Deductive reasoning
- If one block in the chain falls apart, so does the whole argument
- May construct flawless logical reasoning that is nonetheless “pointless” – does not approach the meat of the issue
- May fall victim to reductionism – missing the forest for the trees – or circular logic
- Susceptible to indoctrination or even brainwashing
- Strongly dependent on childhood events and formed habits
- Most susceptible to military-style interrogation techniques, such as sleep deprivation, and operant conditioning with rewards or punishments
- Tend to interpret the world in a deterministic manner – seeing some, if not all, events or states as “inevitable” or “obvious” given particular starting conditions
- Metaphorically, this cognitive style is similar to an illustration drawn with perspective, where closer objects are larger and more distant objects are smaller, such that any real physical object can be accurately depicted by following the rules of perspective and space
Holographic-Panoramic types are ENFP, ESTP, INTP, and ISFP. They’re static, negativist, and result.
- Cognitive style like a hologram, light beams crossing to form an image
- More holistic
- Use language like “either…or” and “on one hand…on the other hand”
- Take multiple perspectives to form a mental image of the whole
- “The source of the sculpture is its latent form, which the sculptor reveals by cutting away the marble.”
- INTP in particular grasps a concept from multiple sides and mentally rotates it in three dimensions around its semantic axes
- Streamlined and comprehensive understanding
- Cuts away extraneous information to reveal a penetrating, “x-ray” vision of the idea
- When approaching a new topic, repeatedly creates approximations from different perspectives, which feels like “calibrating focus”
- May overlook or discard important details and become stuck when a process requires them
- Their information-dense explanations and analysis may be difficult for others to “unpack”; often struggle to convey information to other types with different cognitive styles
- Psychologically stable and self-aware, resistant to conditioning due to natural proclivity for reframing
- Mentally places old information in new contexts and situations
- Cognitive content is “fractal”, in that each component contains all the information contained in the whole
More Small Groups
Businesslike vs. Cold-blooded
Communication style can be discerned through the first and third letters of the type name. It’s a combination of three dichotomies: extravert/introvert, thinking/feeling, and yielding/obstinate. Both ENTPs and INTPs are thinking. Businesslike types are ExTx’s and are extraverted and yielding. Because ENTPs are businesslike, they primarily experience emotions and engagement centered around their activities, work, and engagements. Primarily connect and bond with others over shared activities, in the course of living. Cold-blooded types are IxTx’s and are introverted and obstinate. Because INTPs are cold-blooded, they’re restrained in their emotional contact and are the least sociable. Most of their communication follows expected norms and minimal requirements to meet needs, such as providing lacking information. Communication in writing or speaking are not very different.
Energy Generators vs. Information Generators
Benefit ring is a combination of three dichotomies: extravert/introvert, process/result, and asking/declaring. Both ENTPs and INTPs are asking. Energy generators are ENFJ, ENTP, ESFP, and ESTJ and are extraverted and process. Because ENTPs are energy generators, they translate information into energy. They’re more effective and impactful when surrounded by a group of people. They tend to unite small groups into larger groups and start chain reactions. ENTPs in particular are innovators and fight for ideas they believe in. Information generators are INFJ, INTP, ISFP, and ISTJ and are introverted and result. Because INTPs are information generators, they translate energy into information. They function as social stabilizers. Weak impact on the environment. Feel best in small groups of similar people. INTPs in particular focus on small groups centered around novel, interesting information.
Ideation Process vs. General Result
Project Group is a combination of three dichotomies: intuitive/sensing, constructivist/emotivist, and process/result. Both ENTPs and INTPs are intuitive. Ideation process types are ENFJ, ENTP, INFP, and INTJ and are constructivist and process. Because ENTPs are ideation process, they translate specific observations into general theory. They synthesize information and often work on the crossroads of science and humanity, trying to bring together disparate realms such as science and religion or rationalism and humanism. ENTPs in particular gravitate toward theories that have a larger chance of being implemented. General result types are ENFP, ENTJ, INFJ, and INTP and are emotivist and result. Because INTPs are general result types, they’re averse to details and instead assimilate information in large blocks. They mostly engage in training and educational projects, either for themselves or for others. Over time they move from vague impressions to more specific information. INTPs in particular are drawn to complicated, difficult problems that may require foundational changes in understanding.
Frozen by Stress vs. Trained by Stress
Stress resistance is a combination of three dichotomies: rational/irrational, democratic/aristocratic, and process/result. Both ENTPs and INTPs are democratic. Types that are frozen by stress are ENTP, ESFP, INTJ and ISFJ and are irrational and process. Because ENTPs are frozen by stress, they try to avoid stress as much as possible. At first they respond vigorously to stress, but over time they lose resistance and become “stuck” as if by glue. Since resistance often increases the degree to which they feel stuck, they often “freeze” and wait for the stressful period to pass. They benefit from sensory anchors like touch and smell that bring them through the stressful period and out the other side. Types that are trained by stress are ENTJ, ESFJ, INTP, and ISFP and are rational and result. Because INTPs are trained by stress, they easily withstand small amounts of stress. They’re only stopped by significant shocks, and only briefly. Life trains them and, for INTPs in particular, makes them more tolerant. In the same way a diamond, created by extreme pressure, is stronger than the carbon from which it was formed, these types are “crystallized” and become better at managing obstacles in the future after experiencing a large shock.
Vindication vs. Praise
The motivation ring is a very newly-defined small group, so this information should be taken as particularly speculative. It corresponds with undefined small group #22. It’s a combination of three dichotomies: rational/irrational, positivist/negativist, and asking/declaring. Both ENTPs and INTPs are asking. Vindication types are ENTP, ESFP, INFJ, and ISTJ and are irrational and positivist. Because ENTPs are vindication types, they’re most motivated by having their ideas acknowledged as right and sound, although in practice they often seek praise of their character as a proxy, as failing to receive it is less hurtful to them. They are particularly discouraged and hurt by failure and by receiving ridicule from others. This is also how they criticize or punish others – by mocking them or preventing them from achieving their aims. Praise types are ENFJ, ESTJ, INTP, and ISFP and are rational and negativist. Because INTPs are praise types, they’re most motivated by being considered good and valuable, although in practice they often seek confirmation of their ideas as a proxy, as failing to receive it is less hurtful to them. They are particularly discouraged and hurt by being judged harshly or sneered at. This is also how they criticize or punish others – by judging them or expressing disgust toward them.
Catalytic vs. Alchemical
The meme-tabolic group is a very newly-defined small group, so this information should be taken as particularly speculative. It corresponds with undefined small group #23. It’s a combination of three dichotomies: carefree/farsighted, yielding/obstinate, and democratic/aristocratic. Both ENTPs and INTPs are democratic. Catalytic types are ENTJ, ENTP, ISFJ, and ISFP and are carefree and yielding. Because ENTPs are catalytic types, they gravitate toward spontaneous expressions of humor, cultural memes, and ideas. They often “spam” new ideas at every chance they have until others’ interest wanes. They are ‘maximalists’ in humor and other forms of communication, and like to make their point obvious and un-missable. This constant repetition provides inertia for new ideas or memes. This group is often responsible for the creation of new memes, trends, styles, etc. – it can be thought of as a cultural “mutation” source. An example of this is Cyndi Lauper’s (ISFP) “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, which is “quintessentially late ’80s” despite having been recorded in the late ’70s – it was the source of later trends. Alchemical types are ESFJ, ESFP, INTJ, and INTP and are farsighted and obstinate. Because INTPs are alchemical types, they prefer refined and premeditated humor, cultural memes, and ideas. They prefer to state their opinion in an understated way, and their sarcasm is often nearly indistinguishable from a genuine opinion. They are ‘minimalists’ and try to create the most exemplary and fitting instance of, for instance, a meme that the Catalytic group has been spamming. Sometimes their joke or example is so perfect and fitting that it forces a “state change” in the way that idea is perceived – the example I use is that Elvis (ESFP) was far from creating rock ‘n roll, but he had a permanent impact on how it was received in the culture.
Dichotomies are formed when the 16 types are split into 2 groups of 8. Although there are 15 total dichotomies, some of them have been studied and analyzed more and thus are more useful in typing. Like any two types, ENTPs and INTPs share 7 dichotomies (intuitive, thinking, static, democratic, judicious, merry, and asking). The following are the dichotomies in which they differ, ordered by usefulness in typing.
Extraverted vs. Introverted
Extraversion or Introversion can be discerned by looking at the first letter of a type’s name. It refers to whether a type’s dominant function is extraverted or introverted.
Extraverted types are all Exxx. Their dominant function is an extraverted function.
- Think as they are speaking. Often find out what they think by hearing themselves say it.
- React and respond quickly to other people’s speech and actions.
- Their presence (or absence) is more noticeable. People alter their behavior to include or otherwise acknowledge the extravert more.
- Type and write quickly. Very fast typers are almost always extraverts.
- More likely to interrupt.
- Feel better after they’ve left the house. Get depressed or anxious if they spend too much time indoors or inactive.
- Need stimulation. May daydream and spend time thinking in class or in a bath, for example, but generally prefer to be doing or engaging with something or else risk getting bored. May get bored even with plenty of things to do if nothing sounds interesting.
Introverted types are all Ixxx. Their dominant function is an introverted function.
- Have a clear internal ‘voice’ that allows them to prepare their thoughts before communicating them.
- Slower in responding. Often need a beat to process before reacting.
- More able to slip in and out unnoticed. People are less likely to actively solicit their opinion or participation.
- Take their time more when writing. More likely to “hunt and peck” on the keyboard.
- Less likely to interrupt.
- Able to tolerate isolation and calm for much longer.
- Rarely get bored. When there’s nothing else to do, are content to just sit and think, and in fact may intentionally set aside time to do so quite often.
Irrational vs. Rational
Irrational or Rational refers to whether a type’s dominant function is perceiving or judging.
Irrational types are ExxP and IxxJ. Their dominant function is a perceiving function (N or S).
- Don’t commit to a course of action until forced to make a decision
- More likely to see the environment or circumstances as forcing a choice on them
- Feel more comfortable before a final decision is made, when they can still be flexible
- More likely to discuss observations than judgments or opinions
- Enjoy experiencing new or unexpected events (especially from within their comfort zone, like in media)
- More likely to be adaptable in their approach and willing to compromise, especially in areas they feel confident. More stubborn when they feel out of their league.
Rational types are ExxJ and IxxP. Their dominant function is a judging function (F or T).
- Prefer to think about what they’re going to do in advance
- More likely to see their choices as managing or affecting the environment
- Feel more comfortable after a decision has been made and they know what they need to do
- More likely to discuss judgments or opinions than observations
- Enjoy making complex or difficult decisions (especially with low stakes, like in a game)
- More likely to be willful and stubborn in their approach, especially in areas they feel confident. More adaptable when they feel out of their league.
Process vs. Result
Process or Result refers to the sign of the type’s functions (e.g. whether they use +Ne or -Ne). This, in turn, determines the direction that information and energy flow from one function to another.
Process types are ENFJ, ENTP, ESFP, ESTJ, INFP, INTJ, ISFJ, and ISTP. Their positive functions are Ne, Se, Fi, and Ti. Their negative functions are Ni, Si, Fe, and Te.
- Tend to be warmer and more polite with strangers. As they drop their guard and start to feel comfortable around someone, they seem more blunt and cynical, willing to drop some degree of superficial charm.
- Have a particular order in which they like to approach things, from their morning routine to writing a blog post. Prefer to finish thing X before they start thing Y. Usually aware of how far along they are in a process.
- Dislike being interrupted in the middle of something and having to start again – it almost feels like starting over from square one.
- Most focused in the middle of a task
- Read from beginning to end. May skim or go back to check something, but almost never start an essay or academic text in the middle of the passage, for instance.
- More motivated by “To-Do” lists, checklists, or achievements (e.g. in gaming)
- Prefer to monitor progress by checking where they are in a process, e.g. by checking the instructions or calculating how much time or how many steps remain
Result types are ENFP, ENTJ, ESFJ, ESTP, INFJ, INTP, ISFP, and ISTJ. Their positive functions are Ni, Si, Fe, and Te. Their negative functions are Ne, Se, Fi, and Ti.
- Tend to be more cool and distant with strangers. As they drop their guard and start to feel comfortable around someone, they warm up and seem more affectionate and considerate.
- Do many things simultaneously and out of order. Rarely do things the same way each time. Prefer to be working on thing X and thing Y alternately.
- Don’t mind task interruptions too much – may actually enjoy them.
- Most focused at the beginning and end of a task
- Often skip around when reading. May read paragraphs or even sentences out of order. This is unrelated to how thoroughly they read. Force themselves to read fiction in order.
- More motivated by targets, quotas, or rubrics
- Prefer to receive a general breakdown and then ask questions when they run into issues
- Prefer to monitor progress by comparing the current state to the projected final state and evaluating the discrepancy
Tactical vs. Strategic
Tactical or Strategic refers to where in the function stack the perceiving functions fall.
Tactical types are ENxP, ESxJ, INxJ, and ISxP. They have either dominant or tertiary intuition, and auxiliary or inferior sensing.
- Think mostly about the next move
- Willing to adjust long-term goals to cater to the best available tactics
- More willing to abandon a goal if it seems unlikely to succeed
- Likes to keep options open
- A win is a win. The outcome of any war could rest on a single battle – plus, there are things to gain by winning a battle even if the war is lost.
- More often use language like “way”, “means”, and “methods”
Strategic types are ENxJ, ESxP, INxP, and ISxJ. They have either dominant or tertiary sensing, and auxiliary or inferior intuition.
- Think mostly about the end goals
- Willing to adjust strategy in order to accomplish end goal
- More willing to make a suboptimal move now if it gets them closer to end goal
- May have multiple goals that are ordered in a hierarchy
- Willing to lose the battle in order to win the war. You have to keep your sights on the big picture.
- More often use language like “goal”, “aim”, and “purpose”
Carefree vs. Farsighted
Carefree or farsighted can be discerned by looking at the first two letters of a type. It refers to whether the type has Ne-Si or Ni-Se in a 4D and 1D position. Carefree types are ENxx and ISxx. Because ENTPs are carefree, they prefer to dive into challenges and make do with what they have. They like to do general self-improvement and skill building, such as learning a language, out of interest or for its own merit, and they select challenges to embark on based on the skills they already have. Farsighted types are ESxx and INxx. Because INTPs are farsighted, they prefer to plan and prepare in advance for a challenge, anticipating what might occur and what skills or resources they’ll need to accommodate that. They like to build skills or improve themselves in anticipation of an upcoming challenge, or in response to an ongoing challenge, and will usually abandon these efforts when the skills no longer prove useful.
Yielding vs. Obstinate
Yielding or obstinate can be discerned by looking at the first and third letters of a type. It refers whether the type has Te-Fi or Fe-Ti in a 4D and 1D position. Yielding types are ExTx and IxFx. Because ENTPs are yielding, they’re protective about their privacy in terms of physical space (like a bedroom) and their physical bodies (for example, they don’t like being touched by strangers). They’re more likely to form sentimental attachments to objects and other resources that they’re loathe to relinquish. Obstinate types are ExFx and IxTx. Because INTPs are obstinate, they’re protective about their interests and their image in terms of how other people perceive them (which can extend to privacy concerns, but only for that reason). They’re more likely to form emotional or psychological boundaries that they’re loathe to abandon.
Constructivist vs. Emotivist
Constructivist or emotivist refers to the position of the judging functions. Constructivists are ExFJ, ExTP, IxFP, and IxTJ, all of whom have either dominant or tertiary F functions. Because ENTPs are constructivists, they prefer when others offer them concrete advice or support rather than comfort or sympathy. They generally associate certain mental states with certain places, such as “home mode” and “work mode”. Emotivists are ExFP, ExTJ, IxFJ, and IxTP, all of whom have either dominant or tertiary T functions. Because INTPs are emotivists, they prefer to receive emotional support and sympathy over concrete advice. They can enter any “mental state” at any time, but it takes them longer to switch between them and they need longer periods of acclimation and recovery.
Positivist vs. Negativist
Positivist or Negativist refers to whether the dominant function is a positive or negative function. Positivists are ENTx, ESFx, INFx, and ISTx. Because ENTPs are positivist types, they begin by being more open and trusting, and are more likely to develop skepticism and criticism the longer they’re exposed to an idea. They more easily notice and describe what is present in a situation. When giving advice, they focus on pointing out resources and advantages that the other person may not be aware of. Negativists are ENFx, ESTx, INTx, and ISFx. Because INTPs are negativist types, they begin by being more skeptical and critical, and are more likely to develop trust and acceptance the longer they’re exposed to an idea. They more easily notice and describe what’s absent in a situation. When giving advice, they focus on pointing out areas for improvement or pitfalls to be avoided.