Which Is The Smartest MBTI Type?

We've all thought about it. Which MBTI is the smartest? Which one is the dumbest? Hopefully this article will provide some insight.
by Quinton Figueroa on December 30th, 2011

We first need to define what we mean by smart. Smart can mean a lot of different things to different people. To one person it may be creativity. To another it may be mechanical. To another it may be interpersonal. And to yet another it may be impersonal. The way we define smart matters a lot on the application at hand.

But for the purposes of this article we are going to measure smart as the influence one has over others and society. People who are smart are people who have influence. People who are smart generally rise to the top of influence and are revered and sometimes even worshiped by others. This is what we mean by smart -- having other people rely on you where you don't need to rely on them.

Also, of course there are going to be exceptions. I am talking in general. There can be smart people in any type and there can be dumb people in any type.

The 4 Basic Dichotomies

Let's start by breaking things into categories. There are 4 main dichotomies:

  1. E/I
  2. S/N
  3. T/F
  4. J/P

Of these 4 dichotomies we should figure out which of these is more influential before breaking it down further. So in order of importance for intelligence I would rank these as follows:

  1. S/N - 85%
  2. E/I - 10%
  3. T/F - 5%
  4. J/P - 0%

I would weigh whether or not somebody is an S or an N as being the most important part of influence. This is the one big giveaway towards intelligence IMHO. I would estimate that roughly 85% of influence and intelligence can be ascertained through whether or not somebody is an S or an N. Following that we have E and I at around 10% which matters a lot, lot less than S/N. Following that we have T/F at around 5% and finally J/P at 0%. Again these are all my opinion but I am going to explain my reasoning below. As you can see most of this stuff doesn't matter that much except for S/N.

Digging deeper into each dichotomy

S/N

We first start with S/N. I am of the opinion that N's are smarter than S's. I have gone into more detail in another article as to why this is. N's are almost always more influential than S's. N's usually create things that the S's use. The N's pretty much run the world while the S's manage the world and work for the N's. If you really look around you will see this all over. The N's invent, innovate and build. This is less common with the S. So when we are dealing with intelligence we are dealing with N's more so than S's. Almost any N is going to have an edge over an S. So I would put N above S when it comes to who is smarter because the N has much more influence than the S.

As stated earlier, this probably is about 85% of which MBTI is smarter. The other letters really matter a lot, lot less. So if you want the quick way to find the intelligence of somebody just figure out if they are an S or an N. This will take care of most of it. Once you have figured this out you can break it down even further, but remember that all the other stuff is only around 15%. This needs to be emphasized because the other stuff really matters very little compared to the S and the N.

E/I

Are E's or I's more intelligent? This one is a bit harder to see. There are smart E's and smart I's. I can name countless influential E's and I can name countless influential I's. E's are usually influential in the foreground as leaders while I's are generally influential in the background as philosophers. Many of the influential E leaders that we see had influential I philosophers in the background working behind them. Many of the E leaders that we see were put in place by I's.

Moreover, I's seem to have a better attention span and are able to focus more and for longer. This doesn't necessarily equate to influence, but it does equate to where they derive their energy. E's derive their energy from I's. I's derive their energy from the universe. So E's are in a way dependent upon I's. The I's don't get their energy from the E's. The I's get their energy on their own. The I's are more independent than the E's. So because of this relationship I would give I's a slight edge when it comes to intelligence.

T/F

Okay, now what about T's and F's? Well, this gets even more tricky. T's are generally more mechanical and technical. F's are generally more involved with less mechanical things and more involved with personal things and emotional things. T's care about things. F's care about people. T's are more into reason while F's are more into emotion. Both of these aspects are extremely necessary and both of these matter greatly in influence.

With that said, I am of the opinion that reason is above emotion and therefore place T above F. The thing that separates humans from animals and lower species is our intelligence and our reasoning abilities. Animals share the emotional traits that humans possess, but they don't share the reasoning traits. Reasoning traits, in my opinion, are a higher end form of intelligence than emotion and therefore more akin towards being influential. I am not saying that emotion is not valuable and doesn't have its place. I am simply saying that I view reason above emotion. It could very well be that emotion is above reason in which case F would be above T. I see them both as much needed but I give the edge to the T when it comes to intelligence.

J/P

And how about J's and P's? At this point it is much harder to present an argument as to why one would be smarter than the other. This comes down to the task at hand. When it comes to imagining something new P's are great at that. When it comes to actually turning that imagined thing into reality J's are great. There are tons of influential P's and tons of influential J's.

If I had to give one an edge I would give a slight edge to P's as they are generally more involved with abstract things which are more primary and closer to a first cause than the more physical and real world things. I think P's have a slight edge here as they are influencing at a more esoteric level before the influence perverts itself to the physical level with errors. But it is so small I don't even think it is worth noting.

I would put the smart P's and the smart J's pretty much in the same boat. They can both do the same things if they both really want to. A smart INTP can pretty much do what a smart INTJ can and a smart ENTJ can pretty much do what a smart ENTP can -- but a smart ENFJ probably can't do what a smart INTP can do. So I would say these are about even with a small edge going to the P just because it seems that abstract things are of greater importance than physical, concrete things.

Breaking it down

Okay, so being smart starts first with N. Then it goes to I. Then it goes to T. Then it is about even between the P and J. So if we were to list them from smartest to dumbest I would break it down as follows:

  1. INTP/INTJ
  2. INFP/INFJ
  3. ENTP/ENTJ
  4. ENFP/ENFJ
  5. ISTP/ISTJ
  6. ISFP/ISFJ
  7. ESTP/ESTJ
  8. ESFP/ESFJ

A few notes

INF vs ENT: The 2nd place showdown

According to this breakdown an intuitive, introverted feeler (INF) is usually going to be smarter than an intuitive, extroverted thinker (ENT). This is a tricky one because they both have pros and cons. On the one hand an INF has great attention and focus, while on the other the ENT goes more off reason and data. So who really is smarter?

Well I think we should first look at this from an accuracy standpoint. An introvert is going to be more accurate than an extrovert. An introverted feeler is going to bring in greater accuracy than an extroverted thinker. Even if an extroverted thinker is using reason, the way they are focusing and putting the data together may be lacking due to the extroversion. On the flip side, even though the feeler is using emotion the way that they are pulling the emotion through introversion is going to bring a great level of precision and accuracy.

So this begs the question, would it be better to have an accurate representation of something that is a little big lacking (INF) or a less accurate representation of something that is a little bit more true (ENT)? And that is the paradox. It really depends. In some cases an ENTP may have more to offer than an INFP. But in other cases the INFJ may have more to offer than the ENTJ. These are both so close and it matters on the goal at hand. This is kind of like the J/P relationship. They are both so close and there are plenty of arguments on both sides.

But with all this said I would still give the introverted feeler the upper hand. Feeling is usually a less logical approach to things, but when coupled with introverted intuition is becomes more logical as it is normalized through a much more precise channel. An introverted, intuitive feeler (INF) is going to be more rational than an extroverted, sensing feeler (ESF). They are being rational with emotion. They are doing something that most emotional people don't do: being logical in a way. They are organizing emotion in a way and using it as a different means for pulling data. The introverted, intuitive feeler (INF) is more of an alternate lens to that of the introverted, intuitive thinker (INT). While the INT will usually reach a conclusion from a technical, more logical approach the INF will usually reach a similar conclusion from an emotional approach. Both will reach very similar conclusions but from different angles. So in many ways the INF is very similar and close to the number one spot of the INT.

So how close is the ENT to the INT? They are also very close. They share the same rational approach to finding conclusions, but like the S/N relationship, ENT's are like an S when it comes to precision and putting it all together. They don't have the organization and precision aspects that the INT's have. Like an S who hasn't quite developed their intuition, an ENT hasn't quite developed their focus, where the INF has.

And feeling doesn't always equate to emotion. Feeling usually involves people. Feelers are the social innovators of the world while thinkers are the technical innovators of the world. Being a good social innovator still involves much thinking and can easily be argued as important or even more important than technical innovation.

So with all this said I would put the INF above the ENT. Again, it is very close.

Feelers vs Thinkers

I am somewhat sticking my neck out by putting feelers above thinkers in many of the ways that I do. Thinkers almost always score higher than feelers when it comes to IQ. But IQ is just one way to measure intelligence. Using IQ as the main basis for being smart or intelligent is just one measurement. That is why early on I defined smart as something like influence as opposed to sheer technical ability. Being smart isn't about being a thinker or being a feeler. It is about being BOTH. That is why being smart is more than just one or the other. And that is also why IQ tests are just one piece of intelligence.

If you really want to know which one is smarter from an IQ metric you can just run a bunch of tests and crunch the results. But that still leaves a level of dissatisfaction for most people, especially feelers who know that they aren't stupid. And feelers aren't stupid. Which is why we need to broaden our definition of intelligence as more than just a technical measurement. Intelligence is a hard thing to define and even harder to measure and I feel AND think that our society leaves out many of the important emotional and personal aspects when measuring intelligence.

So there you have it

I am curious to see as what others think. How would you rank it?

About The Author

Quinton Figueroa

Quinton Figueroa

Scottsdale, AZ, USA

I am an entrepreneur at heart. Throughout my whole life I have enjoyed building real businesses by solving real problems. Business is life itself. My goal with businesses is to help move the human ...

Comments

19 Comments

Anonymous's picture
Charlie: INF vs. ENT intellignece
2 years 6 months ago

This same debate arose in a psychology class I took a while ago. However, it was a case of we had to order them based on maximum mental processing power. In the end, the instructor showed us the actual grouping; the two were an exact tie. In actuality, they were the only tie on the list. He described it as a "Two different ways to yield the same processing power" relationship. It's a case of each is just better at yielding solutions a different kind of extremely -but equally- difficult and complex problem.

Quinton Figueroa's picture
Quinton Figueroa: Very interesting... I'm
2 years 6 months ago
@Charlie (view comment)

Very interesting... I'm surprised people actually talk about this kind of stuff. I could see the two being a tie. Very interesting indeed. Thanks for sharing :)

Anonymous's picture
milton: INF vs ENT
2 years 6 months ago

ENT vs INF, Im in agreement with your breakdown (as an entp) I would argue the ent brings external "wisdom" which is not easily measurable to an IQ exam. that is why they often do better on these exams - Not because of being smarter but because they are great "guessers". I once partnered with an INFJ managing a State presidential Campaign - My partner was brilliant, and one of the few people to earn my respect - And yet when it came to "Strategic and Positioning" (Guessing) decisions he always deferred to my ENT thinking because he understood we were dealing with relating to many different personalites which the ENT has a natural understanding of. NF's and NT's make great partners and are often found to marry each other with statistically impossible numbers. other great partnerships include Bono (nf) and Edge (nt)

Anonymous's picture
David: First off im intj. I believe
2 years 5 months ago

First off im intj. I believe that intj's are better than intp's at critical thinking. Intp seem to be more "spiritual". It seems as though they value their intuition more than their thinking preference, and us intj's seem to prefer our thinking more. Of course we are both very similar, however. By the way, if this doesnt convince you, maybe this will.
http://advan.physiology.org/content/262/6/S1.full.pdf
they dont specifically state that the most "intelligent" is the intj (multiple were included in this article). But you will find that a majority of the studies points more towards those who are (I), those who are (N), those who are (T), and those who are (J). (however, the top students of summer classes seemed to score a little higher than intuits, probably because summer sessions require more memorization as opposed to understanding).
my inputs
enjoy!

Anonymous's picture
INTP: I'm not here to claim that
1 year 9 months ago
@David (view comment)

I'm not here to claim that the average INTp is smarter than the average INTj, or otherwise. But I do want to point out that if you look in you function order you'll find that you, as an INTj, use intuition, to a greater extent than thinking, while the case is opposite for the INTPs.

Anonymous's picture
Nathan: INTJ == INTP in intelligence
1 month 5 days ago
@David (view comment)

INTP, funny you should mention that INTPs seem to be intuitors more and INTJs thinkers. In reality, that is what they extravert, or use most in interactions. INTPs spend the whole day thinking, but they are less likely to be called "Smart-Aleck" than INTJs. In the same way, INTJs use intuition to plan, act, make themselves certain of their judgments. They have the same intelligence and thinking ability, but where they go with it, what they do, are different. INTPs are critical of scientific research where the conclusions are woven for us leaving out the clues and how they got there. Often we'll question it if this isn't the case. We ABSOLUTELY LOVE complex logic puzzles, and critical thinking is no challenge to us.

Famous INTPs seem spiritual on some level, I agree... We make motivational quotes and carry wisdom. This is probably the result that for all analysts (NT) their feeling is hidden deep within. But INTPs and ENTPs extrovert their feeling (Although as this is deep, they aren't well equipped to deal with emotion, though they don't knowingly hurt feelings much. In fact, this is considered the INTP's Achilles heel). INTJs and ENTJs introvert feeling, often being seen as self-centered or cold, when really, they just get all emotional validation from within and don't see why everyone else can't, although that's an assumption. I'd try if I could, but I've never been inside an INTJ brain before.

Enjoy! ;)

Anonymous's picture
Drezz Drezzlason: Entp
2 years 2 months ago

Entp's are the most influential. Perhaps not the smartest, but definitely the most influential. We carry out what the "background philosophers" dream about. We apply, tweak and execute these concepts in the real world and over the general masses. This accords us a greater degree of control and conspicuity.

Anonymous's picture
Catman: I would argue that N types
2 years 2 months ago

I would argue that N types are smarter than S types, because N types are better at picking up patterns, conceptualizing and planning. Also, that T types are smarter than F types, because NFs do not apply "critical thinking" to their patterns, conceptualizations and plans. Therefore NT types are the smartest, this is their strength, but they can have weaknesses in social skills. For example, INTJs lead with Ni and they have weaknesses in Se; INTPs leas with Ti and they have weaknesses in Fe. These strong and weak functions make these types rather academic, there isn't much application of their intelligence in the real world. Therefore the extraversion of ENTPs and ENTJs is an advantage, because they are less academic and apply themselves in the real world. Of course these types vary in IQ - there are also pretty dumb ENTPs and ENTJs.

Anonymous's picture
Fred : INF
1 year 10 months ago

Generally agree.
Catman, I don't think that "NFs do not apply "critical thinking" to their patterns, conceptualizations and plans". As an INF, "I" alway push INF to review their weakness, find it out and to fix it. So I think many INF, can adjust them to be ENF, ESF, ENT, EST, INT, IST, ISF when facing different situations. F turn to T and N turn to S is much easlier than reverse. So that, I think that many agree INFP and INFJ are the so most unpredictable type, expecially INFP. INFP and INFJ often feel that no one understand them because they don't understand themself and their charaters always change.

Anonymous's picture
Jill: Introverted Intuition Not Same As INxx
1 year 8 months ago

To break down the differences in type this way is a bit too superficial to be accurate.

If you want to create a stronger ranking of the types, I recommend basing it off the individual functions of each type, rather than on just the Big Four. For instance, many believe Introverted Intuition to be the source of the most intelligent/insightful/enlightened thinking and ideas. If that's true, then you are correct in that you list N's as more intelligent than S's, and I's as more intelligent than E's. However, your mistake is in thinking this applies to any Introvert who happens to be Intuitive.

The two types which actually have Introverted Intuition as their primary functions are INTJ and INFJ only. Thinking and Feeling have their respective strengths and weakness, but the most important thing is the way a person uses their Intuition to collect and understand information (N/S), and not the decisions they makes using that information (T/F).

You would have to look into the individual functions (Ni, Ne, Fi, Fe, Ti, Te, Si, Se, etc.) and rank them based on your understanding or interpretation of "intelligence," then see which types have which functions as dominant.

...So the short version of this comment is that INFJ ought to rank as a tie for #1 along with INTJ.

The #2 spot should go to those types which display whatever function you believe is second best to Introverted Intuition. Is it Introverted Thinking? Those are INTP and ISTP. Or should it be Extroverted Intuition? Then #2 would go to ENFP and ENTP. etc.

Quinton Figueroa's picture
Quinton Figueroa: Very well said, and when
1 year 8 months ago
@Jill (view comment)

Very well said, and when viewing this on the basis of the functions I would have to agree with you.

Anonymous's picture
Blaine Smitley: what about the cross dressers
1 year 7 months ago

I end up doing this goofy test about twice a year and never know which I'll be. INTP? or INTJ..

It's always one of the two, and it makes me think that there's probably really not that much difference. Is the fluctuation caused by mood? Some time of situational external influence that I'm not even aware of? Not that it's that important..

I think I'll have another dorito..Yep! That's the ticket.

Anonymous's picture
Jack: INTP and INTJ are actually
5 days 1 hour ago
@Blaine Smitley (view comment)

INTP and INTJ are actually the precise opposite, which becomes clear when you learn the theory and stop basing things off the inaccurate tests.

Anonymous's picture
omtawon: well, i like your article
1 year 7 months ago

well, i like your article here. I would agree with you, but for the most influential, i look upon ent, don't get this wrong I am Intp myself, but when it comes to reality, ent always the one that has a charge of anything, entj would be like natural born leader and entp would promote their thougts in charismatic way, well just my 2 cent

Anonymous's picture
The Denbox: Facts?
1 year 2 months ago

I'm an INTJ so don't think I'm just an S raging about how stupid I am. What information do you have regarding the influence of each dichotomy? I find it very hard to take this article seriously without any facts to back your ideas up. Also, Jill is right. There is a lot more than just the four dichotomies going on. Please incorporate socionics.

Anyway here is an interesting article about type intelligence.
Don't quote me on this because I forget where I read it, but according to the article, INTJ's had the highest average IQ, and INTP's came in a near second. (I know this does not equate to intelligence, but it is a good measurement). However, among geniuses, INTP's had the higher average. In simpler terms, Average INTJ's have a higher IQ than average INTP's, but genius INTP's have a higher average IQ than genius INTJ's.

Anonymous's picture
The Denbox: Wait..
1 year 2 months ago

Also forgot to add this.
Interesting article
http://www.sengifted.org/archives/articles/a-synthesis-of-research-on-ps...

Anonymous's picture
Seven: I really don't think dominant
1 year 2 months ago

I really don't think dominant f types should be that high on the list just because they have an n.

Anonymous's picture
johnbb5: INTP #1
1 year 4 weeks ago

intp is the smartest, INTJ just knows how to use their intelligence more because of the J

Anonymous's picture
slavering slayers: In fact CG Jung typed the
1 month 1 week ago

In fact CG Jung typed the most remarkable scientists as T dominating personalities. N dom personalities were not very high regard on his list (ENxP and INxJ).

So the answer is is EXTJ and IxTP when it comes to scientific smartness. It should be noted that there were only 8 types in Jung system (ETJ, EFJ, ITP, ESP, ENP, ISJ, INJ, IFP)

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