What is an INTJ? Personality Traits, Myths & Cognitive Functions

What is an INTJ? An INTJ personality type (aka "The Mastermind") has a set of specific traits. They are considered to be one of the rarest personality types, and they make up about 2% of the general population.

If you're an INTJ yourself, or know someone who is one, this article will give you a better understanding about what it means to be that type!

An Overview of the INTJ Personality Type

INTJ (introverted, intuitive, thinking, and judging) is one of the 16 personality types identified by a personality assessment called the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Sometimes referred to as the "Architect," or the "Strategist," INTJ personalities are analytical, creative and logical.

Approximately one to four percent of the population is an INTJ, which is identified by psychologist David Keirsey as a combination of introverted intuition (Ni), extroverted thinking (Te) and introverted sensing (Si).

According to the 8-Function model by Carl Jung, their opposite type are ENTPs.

introverted intuitive thinking judging

Key INTJ Characteristics

  • INTJs tend to be introverted and prefer working alone.
  • INTJs are interested in the larger picture and abstract information, while having little interest in concrete details.
  • INTJs rely primarily on logic and objective information.
  • INTJs like their world to be structured and orderly so they prefer to take care of as many details beforehand as possible.
  • INTJ Strengths

  • Enjoys theoretical and abstract concepts
  • High expectations
  • Good at listening
  • Takes criticism well
  • INTJs are ambitious and confident.
  • INTJ Weaknesses

  • Can be overly judgmental and analytical
  • Very perfectionistic
  • Dislikes talking about emotions
  • Sometimes seems callous or insensitive
  • INTJ Cognitive Functions

    The MBTI (Myers Briggs Type Indicator) identifies preferences in four key dimensions: Extraversion vs Introversion, Sensing vs Intuition, Thinking vs Feeling, and Judging vs Perceiving.

    As you can tell by the four-letter acronym, INTJ stands for Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging.

    According to psychoanalyst Carl Jung, the MBTI also considers a functional stack to better understand personality. The functions are either introverted or extroverted and they work in different ways depending on each person's type.

    Every personality type possesses a dominant function that sets the tone of the individual. In addition to this, auxiliary, tertiary, and inferior functions take part in assembling an individual's personality characteristics.

    INTJs rely on four key cognitive functions:

    Dominant: Introverted Intuition (Ni)

  • INTJs use introverted intuition to look at patterns, meanings and possibilities. In contrast to simply looking for concrete facts, they think about what these facts might mean.
  • Many INTJs enjoy spending time looking towards the future and considering possibilities.
  • INTJs are typically more apt to remember the feeling or emotion of an event rather than its physical aspects.
  • INTJs are good at "reading between the lines" to figure out what things might really mean.
  • Auxiliary: Extraverted Thinking (Te)

  • As a secondary function, extroverted thinking in the INTJ personality drives people to create order and structure around themselves in the world.
  • INTJs often take a methodical and deliberate approach to solving their problems.
  • People with this personality type are mainly driven by logic. They prioritize organizing their thoughts to find cause-and-effect relationships.
  • Tertiary: Introverted Feeling (Fi)

  • INTJs use introverted feeling but because it is a tertiary function, they are less in tune with it than the dominant and auxiliary functions.
  • Those who develop this aspect of their personalities more fully pay greater attention to values and feelings when making decisions.
  • As a result, they are more likely to be drawn to activities that align with their values.
  • Inferior: Extraverted Sensing (Se)

  • INTJs are often most challenged by this function because it is usually the least developed one.
  • Introverted people are able to process information through their senses.
  • When this function is in play, people often feel that they are living in the moment and driven by their environment.
  • Famous INTJs You Might Know

  • Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President
  • C.S. Lewis, Author
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger, Actor & Politician
  • Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings
  • Lance Armstrong, Cyclist
  • Personal Relationships

    The Architect tends to be good at "intellectualizing"—coming up with ideas, artisans, and inventions on their own—find working in groups of people difficult because they prefer solitary work. INTJs strive to self-actualize so that they can spend time alone building new products or writing novels. Because their relationships are close with select few

    INTJs usually have difficulty building friendships and communicating with others, inhibiting their ability to express themselves.

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    INTJ Career Paths

    INTJs are driven individuals with high standards and expectations for themselves, who excel in what they do.

    The Architect personality type are best at gathering information from the outside world, analyzing it and reaching new insights. They tend to process data logically and be very analytical in their thinking. Scientists, engineers, academics, lawyers, researchers among other professions often excel with this personality type.

    INTJs typically do well in careers that allow them to work autonomously and integrate their strong ability to understand complex information with their ability to put this knowledge into practice.

    Popular INTJ Careers

  • Doctor
  • Teacher
  • Judge
  • Lawyer
  • Scientist
  • Mathematician
  • Engineer
  • Dentist
  • Tips for Interacting With INTJs


    INTJs, who think a lot about the future and can be good at analyzing data too, often are not drawn to friendship. These people may avoid get-togethers with others because they believe forming friendships will end badly.

    The upside is that if an INTJ does make a friend, those relationships usually last for many years because of their loyalty.


    INTJ parents can be thoughtful and attentive, but they will not be highly affectionate. They have high expectations for their kids and are willing to offer their time and knowledge to help their kids meet those expectations.

    If your child is an INTJ, focus on finding ways to encourage their intellectual strengths while balancing this with developing their emotional strength.


    They tend to often be difficult for partners to get close to, with some relationships faltering due to lack of understanding. They expect loyalty and a fulfilling relationship, so it is important that your partner has these qualities.

    It's also critical that INTJs have someone who understands them where they are - not just where you want them to be or how much effort you're willing put into understanding this type of person - but really understand what makes an INTJ tick and how their quad functions work together.

    Try to remind your INTJ partner that you are in this together when it comes to showing your commitment. However, don't be pushy and expect them to spill all of their feelings; communication is key. Be straightforward with what you want or expect from them rather than expecting them to pick up on subtle clues; a verbal cue might work best for an INTJ partner.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is Intj personality?

    INTJs have a strong analytical mind, and they are focused on achieving their goals. With so much focus directed inward, it's easy for the INTJ to appear aloof or distant when dealing with others. When interacting with people in person, an INTJ will often be direct and blunt while simultaneously observing how the interaction is progressing as well.

    Why is Intj so rare?

    They tend to be rare because they are a combination of introvert and thinker which is not the most common personality type.

    Is Intj a good personality?

    There's no such thing as a "good" or "bad" personality. The INTJ's primary mode of living is focused internally, where they deal with things rationally and logically. Their secondary mode is external, where they take in information that other people give them and process it thoroughly.

    What is an Intj woman?

    An INTJ woman is is usually more reserved, preferring to keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves. Intj is an acronym for the word Introvert, iNtuitive (has a broad knowledge of different ideas or subjects), Thinker (organized and analytical) and Judger(makes decisions based on fact).

    Additional Resources

    Who are the INTJs? (YouTube video by CS Joseph)

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