Overview (Introverted Thinking + Intuition)
The Theorist is characterized by a mental acuteness of logical thought and the inclination to “toy with“ and synthesize pre-existing abstract concepts (occasionally from other unrelated fields) with their new and innovative ideas. Afterwards, the Theorist typically transfers their logical insights and ingenuity into neatly and symmetrically arranged logical frameworks that model the workings of the world or things.
Theorist: a person who theorizes. a person who deals mainly with the theory of a subject
A theory is a set of accepted beliefs or organized principles that explain and guide analysis and one of the ways that theory is defined is that it is different from practice, when certain principles are tested. … This word is a noun and comes from the Greek theory, which means “contemplation or speculation“.
A theory is a contemplative and rational type of abstract or generalizing thinking about a phenomenon, or the results of such thinking.
Most Theorists can be found in academia as professors in science, as biologists or theoretical physicists, though some may delve into more philosophical or obscure and pseudo-scientific endeavors, or on the other hand more technological areas. Either way, they tend to acquire the position of a theoretical expert in their chosen professions, which are often of a purely or primarily abstract nature and do not require the need to take any direct action or implementation, functioning primarily as a means of improving logical understanding of a phenomenon.
Purpose Role: The Theorist is in their natural element when they are able to theorize and analyze abstract topics and phenomena, from the perspective of dispelling logical errors and fine-tuning existing theories with their new innovative ideas, creating new and accurate theories and/or models of understanding.
Main Functions (Ti & Ne)
The Theorist sees the world through the lens of what makes logical sense and can be included in their own model of how the world (or something within it) works. Each piece of information is analyzed and modified based on this process. In their minds, everything is either logically sound or not, irregardless of what someone’s feelings might be. They are in search for logically irrefutable truths that change current thought paradigms and can be put into an internally functioning and coherent model of the world.
The content of a Theorist’s model(s) is typically filled with novel and potent theoretical concepts, which they either found during their extended studies (at school or in their private time) or which they mentally generated by themselves. Usually the Theorist considers a subject from different (if not opposing) angles, which eventually results in a theoretical discovery that innovates their field with a new theory or framework.
As mentioned earlier, the Theorist likes to “toy with“ ideas and often finds (absurd or off-beat) contexts within different topics and fields, which can make them and their humor appear somewhat childlike, naive, “nerdy“ and younger than they really are, similarly to the Experimentalist. On the downside, this tendency can be exaggerated in the unhealthy mode: then they may perpetuate or create models and frameworks that others would deem to be rather “useless“ or just “ideas for their own sake“, without actually bringing about change that can or should be implemented in the “real world“.
Unvalued External Thinking (Te)
Theorists can be quite skeptical and critical of external source material, especially the kind that they deem logically or scientifically invalid. In that manner, especially if they cannot find scientific evidence, they rather make themselves the logical authority on the subject and use their “better judgment“ to assess the logical validity. Despite this tendency, they can recall lots of valid external source material as necessary. However, as long as it “makes sense“ to them, they will be inclined to keep using an idea, and categorize it into a logical box, even if other external information seems to devalue it.
A Theorist can be well-able at organizing and structuring work processes, especially if the individual is leaning towards their Thinking over their Intuition (see Subtypes below). However, overall the Theorist does not value this ability in themselves and rather focuses on understanding the internal mechanisms of things, opposed to “making them work“ in the external world.
Admiring External Emotions (Fe)
Despite their proficiency at dealing with primarily theoretical matters and their rather reserved and lower-energy nature, the Theorist feels a deep draw and yearning for feeling and exuding emotions. They tend to be rather withdrawn on a daily basis, but they welcome moments that engage the Theorist’s emotions and humor in a light-hearted, if not somewhat “silly“ way.
The Theorist requires overt and open displays of emotional moods, such as laughter, frowns, varied voice pitches, in order to feel included, high-spirited, and understand the emotional experience of others. Otherwise, The Theorist can feel stifled and be unintentionally stone-faced. Some Theorists can develop some amount of charm as well and come across as (momentarily) sociable. However, this ability is limited and wears them out over time, and they tend to struggle with not knowing what to do with emotional clues from others.
Super-Ego: Internal Ethics (Fi)
The Theorist may discuss ethical issues and personal preferences of a personable matter or for humanity at large, but they do so in a very emotionally detached and purely logical manner. This ethical focus is mostly a means to come across as inclusive and non-robotic.
Aim at Internal Sensing (Si)
The Theorist likes to regularly occupy themselves with pastimes or theories on how they can optimize their physical health, internal physical well-being, and make their environments or other situations more physically pleasing and relaxing, attempting to reach a positive “homeostasis“. However, they often have to rely on other people’s inputs to find the “sweet spot“ with these activities.
Weak Sensing (Se)
The Theorist is typically physically and mentally torn apart from the external world, unaware of how their presence impacts others and unconcerned with external aesthetics, opposite from the Aesthete and Performer. Many Theorists tend to lack physical and energetic presence – even if they have a large body frame, they often tend to blend into the background.
The Theorist has no particular interest in optimizing this issue. If they feel urged to pressure others, or if they have to defend themselves energetically, they will usually experience a great deal of stress or incapability. The Theorist often enjoys a mental challenge or discussion, but other strenuous challenges or other kinds of hardships, “push back”, and external awareness strongly drain them and render them helpless.
Strong Internal Intuition (Ni)
The Theorist has a well-developed concept of time and is easily able to estimate timely developments correctly, which compensates for their poor contact with the external physical world. They observe trends and extrapolate them well into the future rather easily, with the ability to feel “how long things would take“, particularly in the realm of the sciences or technology. However, they like to limit this ability to a few subjects of interests, like the sciences, other models, or certain kinds of entertainment and fiction, preferring to keep their mental view rather “broad“ and varied otherwise.
Theorist Celebrities: Click Here
Note: Of course there are theorists who possess a different personality type, so please do not assume that all theorists in the world fit this personality type! I call the Introverted Thinking + Intuition personality type “The Theorist” not only because they are usually theoretical, but also because this personality structure personifies the archetype the best. The best theorists in the world will have this personality type.
Least compatible: The Performer
The Ego of The Theorist
The Super-Id (valued but weak)
The weakest functions:
The strongest functions:
INTP (MBTI), LII (Socionics)
Note: Both MBTI and Socionics include Big 5-related aspects in their types, especially MBTI is mostly a variation of Big 5 nowadays. My version of the Jungian types does not use Big 5 traits, hence the conventional 4-letter idea of “INTP” might not fully apply. Based on the letters, you might count as “INTP” but not as The Theorist with Ti and Ne as their first functions. Read this for more on this issue.
There are 3 specific subtype variations of The Theorist.
Ti subtype (Classic Introvert)
Ti subtype Theorists share most of those traits:
- stereotypically introverted
- less “childlike“
- more realistically-minded
- more invested in biology, health and/or technology
Ne subtype (Extroverted Introvert / “Ambivert”)
Ne subtype Theorists share most of those traits:
- ”ambiverted” (can be mistaken for an extrovert)
- more emotionally engaging
- more involved in metaphysical subjects
- inclination towards philosophy or entertainment
No subtype (Standard Type)
A Theorist who falls into both categories more or less is mostly likely the No subtype kind.
If you are not Enneagram 5, you are most likely not The Theorist. But make sure you are correctly typed. You can book a Get•Typed session here.