Believable Characters, Part 16

We only have four more personality type to look at before we move on to the second step in creating believable characters. As before, I found most of this information in Jeff Gerke’s Plot vs. Character and David Keirsey’s Please Understand Me II

Today’s personality type is the INTP, or introverted, intuitive, thinking, perceptive. Keirsey calls him THE ARCHITECT. This guy is logical, theoretical, quiet, analytical, and critical. He not only designs buildings, he’s the architect of corporations and theoretical systems. He’s the master organizer of organizations. In his mind, the world exists to be analyzed, understood, and explained. He may venture so deeply into thought that he seems detached, and is often oblivious to the world around him.

INTP’s are extremely rare, making up one percent of the total population. They won’t be found in ordinary places, and they are rarely recognized, but they are easy-going and amenable. They prefer to stay in the background and not make a scene, but if someone violates their principles, they will become outspoken and inflexible. They tend to be shy, and are often seen as difficult to get to know. They do make loyal mates, although preoccupied much of the time and somewhat forgetful of appointments and important dates (like anniversaries). They won’t want to entertain at home, but will follow their spouse to a planned social event. They’d prefer retreating to the world of books, emerging only when physical needs become imperative. They keep their desires and emotions to themselves, and may seen insensitive to the desires and emotions of others.

The Architect loves mathematics, languages, computers, and any other complex system. They thrive on logic and logical correctness, and can become obsessed with analysis. Word games (Scrabble) and strategy games (Risk, Chess) also attract their attention. They don’t put up with nonsense, and can spot an inconsistency easily. They’ll always point out these types of errors, making conversation with an INTP a little uncomfortable. 

If you put an INTP in your fiction, put him in a room full of comedians and Elvis impersonators and watch the tension escalate!

INTP’s make excellent professors, mathematicians, linguists, or economists. They’d be horrible at clerical jobs, as Architects are impatient with routine details. They prefer to work quietly, without interruption, and alone. Famous INTP’s include Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Socrates, Carl Jung, and Abraham Lincoln. Fictional INTP’s include Data and Seven of Nine from Star Trek.


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