How does the INTJ personality fit into the Big Five personality traits?
Reading time: 5 minutes
In personality studies, scientific researchers often use a trait-based approach to describing the differences between people instead of using personality types. The most well-established method is the Big Five, which describes differences along five broad dimensions:
Personality types are far less precise than getting exact Big Five measurements, but knowing your personality type can give you a rough idea of where you fall on each dimension.
In the graph below, each dot is an INTJ, placed by where they fall on each of the Big Five dimensions. You can see that INTJs can vary quite a bit on any single dimension.
For example, some INTJs fall near the top of the Openness dimension, while others fall closer to the middle or average. However, almost no INTJs fall below the average on Openness. So, we can be reasonably confident that an INTJ will be average or higher than average on Openness, and an INTJ is unlikely to be lower than average on Openness.
Using the same principles, we can profile the INTJ personality type across every Big Five dimension.
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INTJs are often highly open to experience, with less than 1% of INTJs falling below the average on Openness.
Openness to Experience describes one’s preference and tolerance for new experiences, ideas, and feelings.
So, INTJs tend to be highly imaginative, curious, have diverse intellectual and artistic interests, and are more likely to have unconventional habits, ideas, or beliefs.
INTJs typically score highly on Conscientiousness, with about 95% of INTJs scoring above the average.
INTJs are often highly conscientious.
Conscientiousness describes your planning, impulsivity, and tendency to follow socially accepted norms and rules.
High conscientiousness means INTJs are organized and systematic, create detailed plans, are less easily distracted, and more likely to carefully follow the rules and guidelines across many situations.
INTJs usually score lower on Extraversion, with about 95% of INTJs scoring below average or on the more introverted side of the scale.
Extraversion or Introversion describes your tendencies around social engagement and positive emotionality.
As a result, INTJs tend to engage in more solitary activities, avoid highly stimulating environments, and be more passive, inhibited, and reserved.
Besides the social aspects of introversion, there is an additional emotional component: INTJs generally experience positive emotions less frequently and less intensely across most situations.
In other words, INTJs report feeling of joy and happiness less often than most people, and when they do experience these emotions, the feelings are less intense. As a side effect, INTJs may have fewer public displays of positive emotions, like smiling or laughing.
INTJs typically score lower on Agreeableness, and about 90% of INTJs score below average on this dimension.
Agreeableness describes your interpersonal warmth, politeness, and empathy.
Less agreeable (or more demanding) people, like most INTJs, are often less concerned with others when pursuing their own goals. They are more willing to create conflict or express disagreement across most situations, and they feel less discomfort during interpersonal disputes.
Highly agreeable people feel a more substantial need to keep warmer, friendlier relationships with others and are naturally more hesitant to impose their will on others. They will be more considerate of how their actions impact other people, and they will try to reduce or resolve interpersonal conflicts when they arise.
INTJs vary widely in Neuroticism, with no strong trends between INTJs and either extreme of this dimension. You can find INTJs across the entire range of Neuroticism.
Neuroticism describes your emotional variability and tendency to experience negative emotions.
Highly neurotic people have more frequent mood swings and a greater tendency to worry, are more easily irritated, and susceptible to anxious or depressed moods.
Less neurotic (or more emotionally stable) people worry less and are less reactive to stress, experience less depression and anxiety, and are generally more easy-going.
Simply knowing whether you are an INTJ tells you almost nothing about your relative levels of neuroticism or emotional stability. Some INTJs score very high and others score very low. This variability isn’t particular to INTJs, but a shortcoming of using personality types in general.
Knowing exactly where you fall on each of the Big Five dimensions is simple with TraitLab’s free Big Five test.