All About the ISTP Personality Type


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a personality test based on the work of Carl Jung.  The indicator uses four factors to outline sixteen personality types.  These four factors measure the focus of one’s attention, how information is processed, how decisions are made, and adjustment to the outside world.  Based on the answers chosen, a “psychological type” is identified.  A psychological type derives from relationships between the four factors and environmental influences.  A specific psychological type will result in certain actions, abilities, and outlooks. 

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a multiple choice assessment tool that measures the four factors in “dichotomies.”  These dichotomies include extroversion/introversion, sensing/intuition, thinking/feeling, and judgment/perception.  There are sixteen potential combinations that are identified by four letters, each indicating on which end of the dichotomy a person lands on.  Thus, an individual who scores high on Introversion, Sensing, Thinking, and Perception would result in an ISTP personality type classification. 

On the first factor, an ISTP personality type falls on the introverted end of the extroversion/ introversion dichotomy.  An ISTP personality has a small number of acquaintances, is modest and calm, and focuses energy inwards.  On the second factor, an ISTP personality scores higher in sensing rather than intuition on the sensing/intuition continuum.  This means that an ISTP personality is tangible, focuses on facts rather than broad concepts, and is more attentive to the present than the future.  On the third factor, ISTP personalities land on the thinking end of the thinking/feeling dichotomy.  These individuals place importance on reason and common sense rather than on feelings, emotions, or personal ethics.  Finally, on the fourth factor, an ISTP personality type scores higher on perception rather than judgment on the judgment/perception dichotomy.  An ISTP personality weighs decisions carefully and considers all potential options before making choices.

ISTP personality types often find themselves in engineering occupations and are extremely adept with mechanics, craftsmanship, and tools.  ISTP personality types enjoy using their hands, like to fiddle with objects, and are good fixing things.  An ISTP does extremely well investigating problems, devising solutions, and implementing resolutions.  ISTPs keep to themselves and instead of focusing on people, tend to focus attention on understanding how things function.  ISTPs are flexible and always open to various courses of action.  An ISTP personality type is passionate about things, interested in new discoveries, and has little patience for monotony and repetition.  ISTPs tend to enjoy perilous pastimes, games, and occupations due to restlessness resulting from boredom.  An ISTP does well in crisis situations where they can utilize their extensive knowledge banks, quickly assess situations, and come up with practical resolutions to solve a problem.ISTPs have a tendency to overlook people and social situations while immersing themselves in a subject or task.  An ISTP will engage in groups or socialization opportunities, but do so merely for the activity or topic of interest rather than for the socialization aspect.  Due to these tendencies, ISTPs can be challenged in forming friendships and romantic relationships and treat them objectively rather than subjectively.  Personal and romantic relationships with an ISTP are usually honest, open, and forthright to avoid confusion or misunderstandings.

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Thus, as with any personality type, ISTPs have their strengths and weaknesses.  Strengths of an ISTP personality type include their ability to immerse themselves in projects, their practicality, and their adaptability.  An ISTP can be spontaneous, can live in the moment, and can excel in crisis and high-stress situations.  Flaws of an ISTP personality type include stubbornness and insensitivity due to the use of logic over emotion.  An ISTP can be aloof and bore easily, which may lead to unnecessary risk-taking.  An ISTP personality prefers the here and now rather than long-term commitments, making interpersonal relationships challenging and sometimes problematic.