MBTI: Type and Intelligence


Some of the biggest questions when it comes to newcomers with MBTI usually begin with “Which type is the most…” and you can fill in the blank from there. Whatever the actual question is, you can probably bet that it depends on the individual person rather than type itself. This seems obvious sure, but people are still inclined to their biases.

Naturally, types all have their own strengths there are exceptions in every aspect of talent and skill. But what about intelligence? Is there a type that’s naturally going to be more gifted intellectually?

To start in the most boring but safest way possible, so we know we’re all on the same page, here’s the dictionary.com definition of intelligence-

1. Capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc.
"ZzzZz-I'm sorry, what? You thrilled me into a coma."

“ZzzZz-I’m sorry, what? You thrilled me into a coma.”

So what do we with this information? Even with this definition we could still argue that any type can rule in their own respective way, especially when you consider the Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. You may or may not have heard of this, but I’ll give you a quick rundown. It’s basically the idea that there are eight main types of intelligence that we all use, while we’re much more capable in certain types  of intellect than others. Similar to MBTI, in that you’ve got traits of introversion and extroversion, yet certain traits are more dominant than others, making only one a preference.
But, as mentioned, it’s “just” a theory. Though it seems to have a lot of traction with much of the credit going to the fact that it’s an entertaining idea, isn’t it? The thought that there’s not just a single type of intelligence to say that you’re mentally average, or worse- an idiot.
Film and other stereotypes of what it’s like to be highly intelligent still play a part in how we view this topic still. If you’re good with computers, you must be smart, right? If you make good grades, you must be some kind of genius. When you can perform a task greater than those around you, specifically speaking, tasks that take a trained mind to complete, much less do well, it seems to say to others that you’re “smart.”
So why does your mechanic, who can do things with your car that you can’t, seem to be such an idiot?
"Emissions check? No, I'm pretty sure you said you wanted this thing replaced."

“Emissions check? No, I’m pretty sure you said you wanted this thing replaced.”

Well, this goes back to the different types of intelligence. But to branch off from the actual theory of multiple intelligences and summarize, everyone’s got their strong points. But there’s got to be more to it than that right? At this point, all it seems I’m doing is asking more questions than I’m answering, but I’m building up to it, calm yourself.

Everyone is just as soon to think themselves superior in their own mind or they wouldn’t think the way they do. Yet it’s also something to know you’re not the most intelligent person in the room. Anyone can say it out loud, but to actually mean it is something else. Know anybody that claims to be have limited knowledge yet you can never prove them wrong in an argument? Yep. Sounds like everybody.
So what types are more likely to actually have the greater capacity for learning and reasoning, etc.? Well, Keirsey sees the four different groups (Guardians, Artisans, Idealists, Rationals) to value four different types of intellect, which are as follows-
 Guardian (SJ)- Logistical; Given the basis of previously learned information, how can the implemented institution be improved upon? Logistic intelligence is sturdy and reliable in its contribution.
Artisan (SP)- Tactical; making moves in the here and now for the sake of the immediate advantage. Practice makes perfect for Artisans and there’s no time like the present.
Idealists (NF)- Diplomatic; The intelligence to understand those around you and handle each interpersonal situation with the proper tact and sensitivity.
Rational (NT)- Strategic; Whatever goal is selected by the user to complete is carried out systematically by identifying the ways and means to do so in the best methods possible.
"Being all strategical worked for me!"

“Being all strategical worked for me!”

 Now in all of these groups lie the four variants, which are of course, the preferences between all types. It’s teaching itself that makes the ENFJ the “Teacher.” And it’s more private counseling that makes the INFJ the “Counselor.” You get it.
Stereotypically speaking, Rationals are the most likely to be considered the most intelligent on average due to their love of knowledge. Now don’t get offended or get too proud since I’ve even bothered to single them out. The fact is, when you spend most of your time divulging into a very specific area of interest, you’re going to know it better and this is what Rationals do.
Yet this itself doesn’t necessarily mean the Rationals perform the best academically, especially since being the abstract driven, conceptually thinking people that they are tend to lose interest or fall out of place in institutions that often prize more defined, concrete levels of thought. And this is where Guardians come out on top. The rigid standards to which Guardians hold themselves in their areas of interest are second to none even if their  expertise is in a field that’s less reputable than let’s say, rocket science, and in a more common work force labor like teaching or what have you.
Or presidenting!

Or presidenting!

But the rigid standards of the Guardians seem to fall short when it comes to how the quick thinking Artisans seem to be able to pick up on skills they have very little experience in. What would be a complete mystery to other types can be fairly quickly understood by the utilitarians who apply the in-the-moment Se to the equation.

Though what good is dealing with a problem unless you understand the people involved with it? All the skills in the world won’t mean much if you can’t actually communicate your ideas to others in a satisfactory manner as the Idealists are able to do. While wisdom is more likely to be their forte, it can’t be taken away from them that diplomatic solutions take a type of intelligence other types can have a much harder time grasping.
All of this to say that while there may be such information to lean toward a specific type or not, what type or even group is actually the smartest is up in the air and frankly, doesn’t matter. While higher thinking types are of a much higher probability to obtain more logic-based information, any type that also disregards the importance of less logic based information may also find themselves in a rut when it comes to the full experience of human life.
And if that’s the case, how smart can they really be?

5 Responses to “MBTI: Type and Intelligence”

  1. Jokerandfoxfun Says:

    I find this very true. When it comes to INTP characteristics, it’s often stated, how they enjoy math, physics… I just hated them. I could understand them, but I found them soooo boring. I enjoy phylosophy, and biology. So I decided to learn wildlife manadgment on Univerity(’cause what else? I never knew, what I wanted to do with my life). After 2 and a half year, I grew to be fed up with this too. It’ too much, I want to move on, learn something else… Graphics, maybe. Why can’t I just finish anything? I mean I won’t quit, I must not… It would be too expensive. The money we killed for this.
    Wait. My point was, that not all INTPs care for math, or even are good at it. At least this is my opinion. Personality type is not equal with knowledge and intelligence.

  2. Claire Says:

    As an INTJ, I find that INTJs are the most likely to THINK they’re the smartest person in any given situation.

  3. SomeGuyNamedBuck Says:

    God, when you honestly look at it NF’s really do seem to draw the short stick in life. Diplomatic intelligence is such a hyper-specialized, and seemingly useless ability that everyone could probably live without, in all honesty. Do you really need to understand others to work with them? Don’t most non-NF’s eventually simply realize that they have common pursuits given time via reason? This is all coming from an NF, mind you, so it’s self criticism.

    I just don’t think that “F” has any objective value when thinking about it. Tactical intelligence gives us new techniques, logistical intelligence improves productivity and allows us to work both easier and more efficiently, and strategic intelligence provides us with the big plans and ideas to work towards. The diplomat does what? Make lots of friends? Lame. It’s like getting a planeteer ring and finding out you got “heart” instead of the awesome rings like fire and earth.

    • Taylor Says:

      I could say you’ve got a point but alas, it’d be a bias since I’m not NF. What I will say is that diplomatic intelligence does involve knowing people and like anybody with a job will tell you, it really is all about who you know.


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