Like the INFJ, the INTJ personality type is among the rarest of the sixteen types, thought to comprise only 2-3% of the population. More often than not, INTJs carry a Y-chromosome, outnumbering INTJ females at a clip of four to one.
With Introverted Intuition (Ni) as their dominant function, INTJs’ signature strength is deep perception. This of course cannot be divorced from their inferior function, Extraverted Sensing (Se), which subconsciously amasses sensory information from the environment. This stream of sensory data provides the raw material for their Ni to form its “impressions” and theories. Much of this process occurs rather passively and subconsciously, allowing INTJs to know things without a full realization of how they know them. This is one of the inherent challenges of intuitive knowing, being able to translate what can often be an amorphous intuition or image into a more rational, communicable form.
As Ni dominants, INTJs are naturally attuned to “the big picture.” They can’t help but see how everything is interconnected. They are born theorists, concerned with explicating the underlying connections and cause-effect relationships of the physical world (Se/Te). This is why the world’s greatest mathematicians and physicists (e.g., Stephen Hawking) are often INTJs.
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Since their dominant function is a Perceiving function, INTJs often present as passive, even somewhat phlegmatic. More proactive types, such as ENTJs, might even deem them somewhat lazy or apathetic. But calling INTJs (or INFJs) lazy is to miss the point of what it means to be a Perceiver. Since INTJs’ first and foremost job is to Perceive rather than Judge or act, functioning in a passive mode of perception is actually their most authentic form of “work,” work that can ultimately be of great benefit to society. After all, the reason that INTJs’ theories are often superior is because, as Perceivers, they do not force things. They patiently allow their Intuition to do its work until it is finally time to translate it a la their auxiliary Te. This is one way they differ significantly from NP types (including INTPs), who can seem more impulsive, random, and arbitrary in their theorizing.
As Te types, INTJs generally display little as far as variability of emotion or expression. Exuding an air of learnedness and erudition, they may sometimes be perceived as intellectual snobs or elitists (similar to how INFJs can seem like cultural or artistic snobs). Perceptions of arrogance or aloofness notwithstanding, their status as intellectuals is typically well-founded. Not only do INTJs sport the highest collective IQ of all types, but they are almost always well-informed, displaying broad-ranging knowledge and incredible memories. As Te types, they are undeterred from directly and firmly (or some would say, “bluntly”) expressing their viewpoints. Similar to ENTJs, onlookers can be taken aback by their directness, viewing them as opinionated, dogmatic, or closed-minded.
INTJs can also be surprisingly talkative, especially once their Ni gets rolling. Like INFJs, they can talk at great length (and depth) on topics that interest them. This is one reason INTJs often like lecturing and college teaching. And while not the most dynamic or energetic of orators, INTJs enjoy wit and relaying stories or illustrations from pop culture. This can help to “humanize” them in the eyes of their listeners, even if their delivery remains a bit dry and monotonal. Since INTJs express themselves a la Te, it can be easy for others to miss this “lighter side” of the INTJ. Many would be surprised that INTJs are characteristically light, even playful, far less serious inwardly than might be inferred from their outward presentation. (This Personality Junkie type profile is continued on the next page.)