Intelligence is a virtue, but no matter how hard you study, some just have an edge over others. These are the people who passed exams in school because they “test well” or who can rattle off all the state caps on a whim – they’d probably be your “Phone-a-Friend” in an episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. A person’s level of intelligence can be quite subjective, and people can be smarter than others in different areas. But those who are some of the most intelligent may be represented by certain Myers-Briggs personality types.
“There are many different personality types that are considered intelligent and it’s an interesting topic of debate as to whether intelligence can be measured,” Staci HolwegerPhD, Founder and Doctor of Regenerative Medicine at Lifepatches, says Better life. “Nevertheless, it is important to understand the role of personality type in intelligence.”
This is where the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) comes in. Using a self-reported questionnaire, the test determines whether you lean toward extraversion (E) or introversion (I); prefer to use Sensation (S) or Intuition (N); tend to think (T) or feel (F); and are more Judging (J) or Perceiving (P). These letters can be arranged to form 16 different personality types, identified by four-letter acronyms – and experts say some of these types tend to be smarter.
Read on to find out which six Myers-Briggs types are the sharpest.
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Introverted, intuitive, thinking and judgmental people are more likely to have this “stereotypical” intelligence, Isabelle Robledopersonality expert and co-founder of Making Mindfulness Fun, says Better life.
INTJs have a Te function, otherwise known as extroverted thinking. “They live to learn, they keep things factual,” Robledo says. These types are also adept at collecting and sorting information sent to them, she adds.
Karen Comenchief astrologer and editor of Zodiacsign.com, agrees, adding that “thinking is the main tool of an INTJ.”
According to Comen, INTJs and INTPs are among the most intelligent, adding that thinking is actually “the primary focus of life” for INTPs, as opposed to the key tool.
These people are more likely to be engineers and mathematicians, says Robledo. As she explains, their Ti and Ne functions — that is, their introverted thinking and extroverted intuition, respectively — are what make them “good at following complex theoretical streams of thought.”
Compared to their extroverted (and also intelligent) counterpart, ENTPs, people who have an INTP personality type “will be more interested in the theories and logical systems that govern the world around them,” says Holweger.
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Extroverted, intuitive, sensitive and judgmental types are also among the most intelligent, Joseph Pouglisi, CEO of Dating Iconic, explains. They may not be the type you think of when it comes to crunching hard numbers, but they are in tune with others and naturally know how to react in a crisis.
“They are everyone’s confidant, always helpful, offer smart solutions and advice, are emotionally intelligent, respectful, understanding, attractive and overall easy to approach,” says Puglisi.
They are also among the rarest Myers-Briggs types, making up just 2.5% of the US population, according to data from Ball State University. So if you have an ENFJ in your life that you can rely on, be sure to keep them there.
The other smarties to make the list are the ESTJs. These people are “born to lead by default,” says Puglisi. “They are resilient, always working, on the move, thinking of the best thing to do… They anticipate situations and people are often threatened by them.”
These guys won’t back down if they feel they have to claim responsibility and will always rely on hard facts. Robledo says they are generally “more favored in society”, largely due to their ability to oversee systems, including those in education and business. According to Robledo, this is thanks to their dominant Te function.
“ESTJs…have a knack for seeing what’s going on around them (because of their sensing function) and making it more organized,” she says. “The ESTJ are amazing project organizers – they know how to keep it simple.”
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ENTJs have this dominant ability for extroverted thinking, which puts them on the “smartest” list, according to Robledo.
“The ENTJ can take many sources of information and apply them to create an overarching theory that can be applied to a long-term view,” she says, adding that the Apple founder Steve Jobs is one of the most well-known ENTJs.
However, unlike their emotional ENFJ counterparts, these types lack emotional intelligence. It’s “a very valuable form of intelligence to have in a nutshell for emotional beings,” notes Robledo.
Those who are introverted, feeling, thinking and perceiving are the “actors” of the smart crowd, Robledo adds. It’s a different twist on smarts, but it’s the invaluable people you want when trying to put together that intricate piece of furniture from IKEA.
“ISTPs learn by working with their hands,” she explains. “They’re smart in the sense that they can learn to do anything that requires crafting or building without a lot of guidance.”
According to Ball State data, these types make excellent pilots, landscape architects, systems analysts, and engineers, due to their positive attitudes and innovative mindset.