ENTP (extroversion, intuition, thinking, perception) is an abbreviation used in the publications of the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to refer to one of sixteen personality types. The MBTI assessment was developed from the work of prominent psychiatrist Carl Jung in his book Psychological Types. Jung proposed a psychological typology based on the theories of cognitive functions that he developed through his clinical observations.
From Jung's work, others developed psychological typologies. Jungian personality assessments include the MBTI assessment, developed by Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs, and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, developed by David Keirsey. Keirsey referred to ENTPs as Inventors, one of the four types belonging to the temperament he called the Rationals. ENTPs account for about 2–5% of the population.
- 1 The MBTI instrument
- 2 ENTP characteristics
- 3 Cognitive functions
- 4 References
- 5 External links
The MBTI instrument
- How they focus their attention or get their energy (extraversion or introversion)
- How they perceive or take in information (sensing or intuition)
- How they prefer to make decisions (thinking or feeling)
- How they orient themselves to the external world (judgment or perception)
By using their preference in each of these areas, people develop what Jung and Myers called psychological type. This underlying personality pattern results from the dynamic interaction of their four preferences, in conjunction with environmental influences and their own individual tendencies. People are likely to develop behaviors, skills, and attitudes based on their particular type. Each personality type has its own potential strengths as well as areas that offer opportunities for growth.
The MBTI tool consists of multiple choice questions that sort respondents on the basis of the four "dichotomies" (pairs of psychological opposites). Sixteen different outcomes are possible, each identified by its own four-letter code, referred to by initial letters. (N is used for iNtuition, since I is used for Introversion). The MBTI is approximately 75% accurate according to its own manual.
- E – Extroversion preferred to introversion: ENTPs gain energy through interactions with people or objects in the outside world.
- N – Intuition preferred to sensing: ENTPs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus their attention on the big picture rather than the details first, and on future possibilities rather than immediate realities.
- T – Thinking preferred to feeling: ENTPs tend to value objective criteria above personal preference. When making decisions, they generally give more weight to logic than to social considerations.
- P – Perception preferred to judgment: ENTPs tend to withhold judgment and delay important decisions, preferring to "keep their options open" should circumstances change.
The ENTP has been described variously as the Innovator, the Originator, the Lawyer, the Debater, the Inventor, the Explorer, and the Visionary. ENTPs also fall into the general categories of thinkers, rationals, and engineers.
Using their primary function-attitude of extraverted intuition (Ne), ENTPs are quick to see complex interrelationships between people, things, and ideas. These interrelationships are analyzed in profound detail through the ENTPs auxiliary function, introverted thinking (Ti). The result is an in-depth understanding of the way things and relationships work, and how they can be improved. To the ENTP, competence and intelligence are particularly prized, both in themselves and in other people.
ENTPs are frequently described as clever, cerebrally and verbally quick, enthusiastic, outgoing, innovative, flexible, loyal, and resourceful. ENTPs are motivated by a desire to understand and improve the world they live in. They are usually accurate in sizing up a situation. They may have a perverse sense of humor and sometimes play devil's advocate, which can create misunderstandings with friends, coworkers, and family. ENTPs are ingenious and adept at directing relationships between means and ends. ENTPs devise fresh, unexpected solutions to difficult problems. However, they are less interested in generating and following through with detailed plans than in generating ideas and possibilities. In a team environment, ENTPs are most effective in a role where they can draw on their abilities to offer deep understanding, a high degree of flexibility, and innovative solutions to problems. The ENTP regards a comment like "it can't be done" as a personal challenge, and, if properly motivated, will spare no effort to discover a solution.
Inventors are introspective, pragmatic, informative, and expressive. They can become highly skilled in functional engineering and invention. Of all the role variants, Inventors are the most resistant to doing things a certain way just because it was done that way in the past. Intensely curious, Inventors are always looking for new projects to work on, and they have an entrepreneurial character. Designing and improving mechanisms and products is a constant goal of Inventors.
Though full of ideas, Inventors are primarily interested in those that can be put into action or used to make products. For example, they see product design as a means to an end, the goal being a marketable prototype. When beginning a project, they rarely start with a blueprint. Rather they are confident in their ability to find effective and pragmatic solutions during the design process.
Inventors tend to be laid back, nonjudgmental, and good conversationalists. They are often nonconformists who attract a circle of friends interested in their ideas or activities. Generally informative rather than directive in their social exchanges, Inventors are often able to explain their own complicated ideas well, and to comprehend the complex ideas of others. In arguments they may use debating skills, often to the significant disadvantage of their opponent. This strategy can backfire, however, by alienating those seeking a cooperative relationship rather than a combative one.
Inventors are usually ingenious individuals who are capable of rising to meet the demands of challenging situations. In work, they tend to be good leaders of pilot products that test their abilities. Constantly looking for new ways to do things, Inventors usually have the drive and the social skills to implement their ideas.
Drawing upon Jungian theory, Isabel Myers proposed that for each personality type, the cognitive functions (sensing, intuition, thinking, and feeling) form a hierarchy. This hierarchy represents the person's default pattern of behavior.
The Dominant function is the personality type's preferred role, the one they feel most comfortable with. The secondary Auxiliary function serves to support and expand on the Dominant function. If the Dominant is an information gathering function (sensing or intuition), the Auxiliary is a decision making function (thinking or feeling), and vice versa. The Tertiary function is less developed than the Dominant and Auxiliary, but it matures over time, rounding out the person's abilities. The Inferior function is the personality type's fatal weakness. This is the function they are least comfortable with. Like the Tertiary, the Inferior function strengthens with maturity.
Jung and Myers considered the attitude of the Auxiliary, Tertiary, and Inferior functions to be the opposite of the Dominant. In this interpretation, if the Dominant function is extraverted, then the other three are introverted, and vice versa. However, many modern practitioners hold that the attitude of the Tertiary function is the same as the Dominant. Using the more modern interpretation, the cognitive functions of the ENTP are as follows:
Dominant: Extraverted intuition (Ne)
Ne finds and interprets hidden meanings, using "what if" questions to explore alternatives, allowing multiple possibilities to coexist. This imaginative play weaves together insights and experiences from various sources to form a new whole, which can then become a catalyst to action. Ne allows the ENTP effortlessly to identify complex interrelationships between ideas, people, and things that are often invisible to most other personality types. Extraverted Intuitives also have a very entrepreneurial mindset. Ne users see possibilities of what could be all around them. They have a desire to make things happen and “put a dent in the world.” Extraverted Intuitives can get very excited about these possibilities, making them naturally charismatic. Ne users can be inspiring leaders that are catalysts for change.
Auxiliary: Introverted thinking (Ti)
Ti seeks to understand different ideas or experiences. It notices the minute distinctions that define the essence of things, then analyzes and classifies them in frameworks. Ti examines all sides of an issue, looking to solve problems while minimizing effort and risk. It uses models to root out logical inconsistency. In the ENTP, Ti analyzes the constant stream of information that Ne provides. Ti develops structure and reconciles any inconsistencies in the ENTP's belief system. However, Ti cannot match the activity of Ne, which leads the ENTP to juggle multiple projects and theoretical enterprises at any given time, in various stages of completion. Someone with Introverted Thinking may take a while to fully understand a concept. This is because they want to know all the components and how everything works together. A Ti user would not be satisfied with someone saying, “this is the gas pedal, you press it to go.” A Ti user would want to know: what happens when you push it, what is the pedal connected to, how does it interact with the engine, etc.
Tertiary: Extraverted feeling (Fe)
Fe is about social structure and the opinions of others. Fe responds to the explicit (and implicit) wants and opinions of others, and will put those before its own. When Fe is well developed, the ENTP can foster goodwill in others, and can be seen as quite charming and loyal. When it is not well developed, the ENTP can be seen as aloof and unconcerned with other people's feelings. In most ENTPs, weakness of the tertiary function can be observed in its inconsistency or lack of endurance.
Inferior: Introverted sensing (Si)
Si collects data in the present moment and compares it with past experiences, a process that sometimes evokes the feelings associated with memory, as if the subject were reliving it. Seeking to protect what is familiar, Si draws upon history to form goals and expectations about what will happen in the future. Si offsets the ENTP's natural tendency toward anarchy and non-conformity. It acts as a sort of gravitational pull that keeps the ENTP in orbit around reality. Without this function, the ENTP can be seen as unpredictable and random, but when it is well developed, the ENTP is seen as orderly and understandable.
Later personality researchers  added four additional functions to the descending hierarchy, the so-called "shadow" functions to which the individual is not naturally inclined but which can emerge when the person is under stress. The shadow processes "operate more on the boundaries of our awareness…We usually experience these processes in a negative way, yet when we are open to them, they can be quite positive." For the ENTP these shadow functions are (in order):
- Introverted intuition (Ni): Attracted to symbolic actions or devices, Ni synthesizes seeming paradoxes to create the previously unimagined. These realizations come with a certainty that demands action to fulfill a new vision of the future, solutions that may include complex systems or universal truths.
- Extraverted thinking (Te): Te organizes and schedules ideas and the environment to ensure the efficient, productive pursuit of objectives. Te seeks logical explanations for actions, events, and conclusions, looking for faulty reasoning and lapses in sequence.
- Introverted feeling (Fi): Fi filters information based on interpretations of worth, forming judgments according to criteria that are often intangible. Fi constantly balances an internal set of values such as harmony and authenticity. Attuned to subtle distinctions, Fi innately senses what is true and what is false in a situation.
- Extraverted sensing (Se): Extraverted sensing focuses on the experiences and sensations of the immediate, physical world. With an acute awareness of the present surroundings, it brings relevant facts and details to the forefront and may lead to spontaneous action.
- "The Portrait of the Inventor (ENTP)," Keirsey Temperament Website, Accessed January 1, 2008.
- "CAPT". Retrieved 2008-10-13.
- Myers, Isabel Briggs (1998). Introduction to Type: A Guide to Understanding your Results on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Mountain View, CA: CPP, Inc.
- Myers, Isabel Briggs; Mary H. McCaulley (1985). Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (2nd ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologist Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-89106-027-8.
- "Changing Minds: Extraversion vs. Introversion". Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- "Changing Minds: Sensing vs. Intuiting". Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- "Changing Minds: Thinking vs. Feeling". Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- "Changing Minds: Judging vs. Perceiving". Retrieved 2009-01-10.
- "ENTP - The Innovator," Life Explore, Accessed January 1, 2008.
- ENTP - The 'Originator'," My Personality, Accessed January 1, 2008.
- "Portrait of an ENTP," Personality Page, Accessed January 1, 2008.
- "ENTP Personality ('The Debater')," 16Personalities, Accessed July 7, 2015.
- "The 16 Personality Types," 16 Types, Accessed January 1, 2008.
- "About the 4 Temperaments," Keirsey Temperament Website, Accessed January 1, 2008.
- M Heiss and J Butts, "Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving," Type Logic, Accessed January 1, 2008.
- Barron-Tieger, Barbara; Tieger, Paul D. (1995). Do what you are: discover the perfect career for you through the secrets of personality type. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-84522-1.
- Myers, Isabel Briggs; Mary H. McCaulley (1985). Manual: A Guide to the Development and Use of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (2nd ed.). Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press. ISBN 0-89106-027-8.
- "Cognitive Processes: Extraverted intuition". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- "TypeLogic ENTP". Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- "Extraverted intuition (Ne)". Retrieved 2014-09-29.
- "Cognitive Processes: Introverted thinking". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- "Introverted Thinking (Ti)". Retrieved 2014-09-29.
- "Cognitive Processes: Extraverted Feeling". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- "Cognitive Processes: Introverted sensing". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- (notably Linda V.21)
- "CognitiveProcesses.com The 16 Type Patterns". Retrieved 2009-07-11.
- "Cognitive Processes: Introverted intuition". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- "Cognitive Processes: Extraverted thinking". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- "Cognitive Processes: Introverted feeling". Retrieved 2009-05-12.
- "Cognitive Processes: Extraverted Sensing". Retrieved 2009-05-12.