The Clever Personality Type?

The Cleverest Personality Type. The time has come to unveil who wins this coveted award. After much scientific analysis, insight, discussion and bribery.

But there are no absolutes in the world of Personality Type.  ‘Clever’ or ‘smart’ can have lots of meanings… academic, streetwise, manoeuvring skill, relationships. And Type is all about preference rather than competence, after all.

But here’s a look at some very smart Types who could win the crown for Type Thinker or Philosopher…

NTs are logical, analytical, big picture thinkers, and the credit for being the “smartest” is often given to the INTJ.  But it’s down to what you mean.  If you’re working with society’s standard definition, that is, who can get the highest exam scores, the highest IQ, then INTJs may often edge it.  This is because of their Judging function over their rival INTP, which allows them to make quick assessments without having to actually think much about anything.  In this sense, it’s of course possible for an ESTJ, ESFJ, or ISTJ (or another Type) to intellectually outdo the INTP as well, even though that INTP may be mental miles ahead of that *S*J.  But from a more philosophical idea of knowledge and intelligence, then INTPs take the cake.  Their Perception function often allows them to combine experiences, compare, and divulge in a deeper manner than the INTJ can.  INTPs aren’t as concerned with physical limitations as INTJs.  A good way to imagine this difference is the INTJ as a scientist and the INTP as a philosopher.  Once the scientist runs out of funding, and can’t afford his/her expensive microscopic instruments anymore, it is difficult for him/her to continue on in their field.  But philosophy requires very little if any material at all to conduct, and the INTP’s never-ending inquisitive nature allows him/her to be thinking nonstop in nearly every situation.

This is where there are similarities with the INTP’s Feeling counterpart, the INFP, as both types tend to be constantly thinking (or, perhaps, feeling… perhaps call it considering) something.  Going to a party, or any large social gathering… say, a graduation, a wedding… is a very different experience for IN*Ps than other types.  Although any IN** will engage in the activity intellectually, IN*Ps are doing crazy mental gymnastics, questioning everything around them, the rituals, the social nuances, etc.  IN*Js are going to be less speculative, drawing conclusions and deriving answers, making immediate and solid connections.  IN*P’s are going to be asking more questions and receiving fewer answers, at least, in the short-term.

The vast majority of philosophers throughout history have been either INFP or INTP, though mostly INTP.   This facet in itself says many of the things concerning the similarities that the two types share.  INTPs and INFPs, more than any other type can claim to be, are idealistic and conceptual.  They see the world beyond its superficial manifestations, and seek more than any other type to create or criticize a certain meaning within it.

INFP’s tend to be quite gradual with the build up of their ideas. They collect everything around them and relate it to their ethics, and then they use their Ne and Si functions to transfer and store these impressions into a kid of metaphoric kid that they carry within them their entire lives. They do indeed sometimes have sudden insights, but when it comes to creating work, be it art or literature, they out-produce the INTP in terms of quantity.  It is quite likely that the developed INFP will manifest their ideas through constant journaling, relating their emotions to their ideas, often to where they become a single and inseparable entity.

INTP’s, on the other hand, are a lot more disconnected from their emotions.  The dominant function of the stereotypical INFP (Fi) is the least developed function of the stereotypical INTP (whose dominant is Ti) and vice-versa. Therefore, the most blatant difference between how the two types pursue their ideas is passion. The INTP is constantly thinking about their ideas, like the INFP, but they do not make this idea an intrinsic part of themselves.  They may allow it to become their character, but not their dogma, so to speak.  While the INFP rarely doubts themselves or the words they use, INTP’s are very vigilant with the ideas they believe, and are often fearful to say anything with too much certainty in fear that they may one day contradict themselves and be ‘wrong’, a high risk for an INTP but not INFP who is much more tolerant of mistakes.  NTs rarely admit fault.  Or apologise. But they also don’t like others to admit fault. Because it represents an intellectual error… a mistake that is weak in their eyes, and so not worthy of respect. In their view it’s better to argue, fight or divert your way out than to admit being wrong.

When it comes to actually changing society, INFP’s tend to out-perform INTP’s by a long way, although an INTP’s more concentrated ideas may end up doing more for society in the long run.