Why Sherlock isn’t an INTP

Why Sherlock isn't an INTP | #MBTI #INTJ #INTP

There are several reasons that people often type Sherlock as an xNTP. #1 They don’t fully understand the Jungian functions and are basing their argument in stereotypes… or #2 they don’t fully understand Sherlock as a character, or have rationalised his persona to fit their reality.

Just for you, I’m going to discuss each Jungian function in depth, and explain to you why Sherlock cannot possibly be an INTP…

Fi vs Fe:

Sherlock understands his own feelings a lot better than he understands anyone else’s. When he freaks out about feeling fear in The Hound of Baskerville, it’s not because he doesn’t understand what he’s feeling –it’s  #1 because he doesn’t like the idea of being controlled by his emotions, and #2 because he wants to understand the logical reason for why he is feeling those emotions. Usually he’s able to control his emotions to an extent and when he suddenly he finds that he can’t, he knows that there has to be some external cause.

Sure, he doesn’t always know how to handle his emotions, but then, most immature INTJs don’t. My view is that although he understands his feelings, he views them as a weakness and thus, tries to detach from them.

So maybe he wants to be a sociopath, but he certainly isn’t one. (I’m not a sociopath either, but I’ve been called one, and I pass most sociopath tests floating around the internet).

I think too many people confuse tertiary Fe with the NiSe combination. People think that Sherlock naturally understands people’s emotions simply because he’s able to figure them out, but I really don’t think he does.

Here’s why.

When he observes people closely (Se), his conclusions about them (Ni) are always more accurate than when he doesn’t pay close attention to them (thus, his slowness in recognizing Molly’s infatuation). I think an Fe would have noticed a lot quicker and more naturally, whereas, Sherlock has to use the scientific method to figure out people’s emotions.

When he decides to reveal that he’s “not dead” to John, he doesn’t really think about the emotional implications that this will have in John’s life. He fakes his death because he doesn’t want his loved ones to die, but doesn’t consider the fact that it might hurt them more to have him dead than if they died.

A lot of people think that what Sherlock did was incredibly selfless, and in a way it was, but at the same time, his primary reason for doing it was because he was emotionally attached to those people and didn’t want them to die, not because he didn’t want them to hurt. If he didn’t want them to hurt, he would have considered their feelings in his decision, not just their lives.

Ti vs Te:

He’s such an NiTe user that it’s actually funny.

SHERLOCK: Look, it doesn’t matter to me who’s Prime Minister, or who’s sleeping with who…

JOHN: Whether the Earth goes round the Sun…

SHERLOCK: Oh, not that again.

Sherlock cares far more about the use of knowledge, things and people than he does about the idea of them. Have you ever noticed his references to “deleting things?” Sherlock forgets everything that isn’t directly important to his goals. The solar system is irrelevant, so he forgets it. He forgets that we don’t have a current King of England etc.

My roommates recently rented a puppy. Since puppies have no relevance to my life goals, I naturally forgot about it, but my roommates kept bringing it up over and over again as if they could think of nothing else. When I was seventeen, my sister had to explain who Angelina Jolie was to me. Obviously… because Angelina Jolie has no relevance to my life goals.

Anyroad, back to Sherlock.

INTPs tend to be a little bit more indecisive than Sherlock is. Unlike an INTP, Sherlock focuses on one thing at a time. Even when considering all the possibilities, he doesn’t get distracted by anything that doesn’t have a direct correlation to his goals.

INTPs jump from idea to idea, without really caring whether they accomplish something as a result of those ideas. I have a friend who’s an INTP and he’s one of the most indecisive people I know (beaten only by my Dad, also an INTP). My friend constantly talks about ideas, but never implements any of them. Two weeks before both he and I were about to head off to university, he decided out of the blue that he wanted to be a missionary for two years. I haven’t seen him since.

Sherlock is always decisive and typically very predictable in his habits. He knows exactly what he wants, figures out how to get it (Ni) and then goes after it with passion (Te). The most blatantly tell-tale sign that Sherlock is an Te user is how task-oriented he is.

SHERLOCK: Seriously? I just told you that the entire world is run from this house and you want to talk about dinner?

Furthermore, Sherlock needs closure to feel satisfied. Whereas an NeTi user would be satisfied just to analyse information, Sherlock has to see a problem all the way to the end or else  he continues to think about it for the rest of eternity (at John’s wedding, he was still thinking about the Mayfly Man, because he never solved it).

Lastly, Sherlock’s thought process rarely stays inside his head. His Ni plans and ideas do, but his thought process happens majorly out loud.

Se vs Si:

The existing arguments for Sherlock being an Si user mostly concern a fundamental misunderstanding of Sherlock’s mind palace.

However, I have the fortunate vantage point of having used the Method of Loci since I was 13. That being said, I understand that while it is a system for memorising information, it is certainly not something an Si user would normally employ (not to say they couldn’t). The reason for this is that the memory palace system operates primarily based off of vivid, visual imagery –not internal facts.

The mind palace is essentially a visual tool that only an Se user would truthfully be able to use in great depth. INTJs tend to think in very concrete terms, which often translates to thinking in images. Sherlock is a visual learner, not an auditory or kinesthetic one. Sherlock very clearly thinks in concrete images. Ever notice how we always see the words that he’s thinking?

The reason for this is that in order to know that a word is the correct one, Sherlock must have a visual image of it in his head. He can’t remember them just by sound –it has to be by sight. And…the very fact that Sherlock needs a system to help him remember things suggests that he isn’t an Si user.

Remember that you can’t assume that just because someone has a really fabulous memory that they are automatically an Si user. That’s an unfortunate stereotype that Tumblr has infused into the minds of millions of the world idiots.

Secondly, Sherlock hates tradition. His approach to everything is unconventional and often socially inappropriate. He doesn’t care about rules (other than the rules of logic) and doesn’t value social conventions (he will leave a wedding early, or walk around in a bed sheet at Buckingham Palace).

Se users are prone to noticing things about their environment that other people miss –Sherlock, obviously. His deductions are typically based off of careful external observations (Se) that then feed his Ni, giving him intuitions about possibilities and liklihoods.  The more visual/physical observations he can make about a person, the more accurate his deductions are.

I do this myself –though certainly not to the extent and prowess of Sherlock Holmes.

A few months ago, I covered as a temporary dental assistant and I distinctly recall an older gentleman coming into the office to have his teeth worked on (it wasn’t very busy that day). Based on the type of pants he wore, I figured out that he worked in some form manual labor. His farmer’s tan was also quite noticeable, suggesting that he worked outside.

He had a jacket with a memorialised name and dates of birth-death embroidered on it. The dates suggested that the person had been 35 years old when they’d died and the name was male. Because of corresponding last names I assumed that the name belonged to this man’s son, because the gentleman was roughly 6o years old and the death had occurred about a decade prior.

He had a wedding ring on, so I guessed that he was married and based on the styling of the embroidered jacket I presumed that he most likely rode and loved a motorcycle, but because the jacket was a relatively normal jacket, (not “out there,” or “over the top,”), I determined that he probably rode with his wife, or a single friend, rather than with a large group or gang.

As I worked on his teeth, I talked to him. As it turned out, he was an engineer, but he had a garden that he worked in every day. He had one son that was still alive and another that had died from cancer. He and his wife liked to ride motorcycles together on weekends.

Not too difficult, but it proves the point. Sherlock sees physical evidence, then they logically computes it into a deduction.

Ni vs Ne:

I don’t really think I should need to clarify why Sherlock is an Ni user…but I will.

I’ve heard people claim that Sherlock is an Ne user just because he always wants to be doing something new. Well, guess what, all of those new things involve solving problems (which is basically a necessity for Ni doms).

Sherlock has got to be solving problems otherwise he gets moody and stir crazy. I know exactly how this feels, because when I’m not intellectually stimulated, I start to get depressed and angry at life. In school, I do much better in the hardest classes than I do in easy ones, because I get my energy primarily from problem solving.

Easy isn’t something that INTJs flock to.

Sherlock’s Se observations (which we’ve gone over) feed his Ni, but there are also times where Sherlock knows the answer long before he can logically or empirically prove why it’s true. This is something that’s relatively unique to Ni users –especially Ni dominants.

I, for instance, have been able to pin people down as suicidal upon a first meeting, only later to have to deal with the fallout of a real suicide attempt (this has made me more kind, I think). I’ve also known intuitively that various people that my siblings hung out with were gay years before they came out of the closet. I know which of my co-workers are silently on the verge of a breakup, which are secretly dating each other etc.

The point is, Ni dominants are notorious for knowing things that they’re not supposed to know.

Does this sound like Sherlock? Maybe a little?

It’s a piece of cake for me to intuitively pin down the outcomes of the plots in movies. The first time I watched Broadchurch, I knew who the murderer was within the first twenty or so minutes. Eight episodes later, it turns out I was right.

Sherlock makes intuitive leaps to get the answers (Ni), then rationalises them into logical explanations (Te), going off of his visual memory to provide empirical evidence (Se).

Next, Sherlock makes detailed plans. He improvises only where he has to, but otherwise, his acts only appear to be improvisation because he doesn’t specifically tell others what his plan is. Take a look at His Last Vow if you want a perfect example of Sherlock making long-term plans and carrying them out To. The. Letter.

Then, you see his inferior Se act up when his plan doesn’t work out. Magnussen is actually ahead of him –to the point where Sherlock can’t see any way out and ends up acting in the moment by shooting him. That’s INTJ stress.

Lastly, where INTPs are primarily possibility-focused, INTJs are more focused on probability. Sherlock’s whole theory of deduction (which is actually a theory of induction btw), is completely in line with theories of causation, probability and Ockham’s Razor.

SHERLOCK: If you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable must be true.

Sherlock doesn’t try to think up all the possible ways an event could develop. He tries to narrow it down to the one way that events did develop. He’s not interested in possibility where probability is an option.

Think whatever you wish. This is my analysis –educated comments welcome.


138 thoughts on “Why Sherlock isn’t an INTP

  1. “An INTP does not verbalize what he normally just thinks…” – this is not true. I censor myself for very specific reasons – not automatically, across the board. For instance, face to face, with a TJ or an FP, “verbalizing” would probably be an effort to either get the interaction over with or change the subject. I can’t communicate with them. I can engage in other activities with them – IF they’re actually engaged, but they often don’t actually engage. They’re too focused on what others are doing. Or, perhaps that is a matter of them being distracted by specific other types, I don’t know, but I am usually leaving as they are entering. I rub them the wrong way, no matter what I say, so I often simply work things around to get myself out of there.


  2. This made me laugh. Honestly, INTJs are so much cooler than INTPs. What use are we to the world? I once looked up the method of loci… instructions were to visualize somewhere familiar to me, like all the shops in a street… My first thought was, people have streets where they know all the shops in it?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ROFL! When a J says his desk is “messy” – Ps just laugh. Js are such amateurs when it comes to mess-making. They couldn’t make a mess if they tried. Ps are natural mess-makers – they’re like savants, in that regard. They don’t even notice it until the doorbell rings. Ps are greatly outnumbered – something like 4 to 1 – which gives Js the impression that their perceptions of reality are objective – as if reality is elected, democratically.


    • No, we INTJs can make a mess (or even be messy), but the idea of disorder unsettles us; even when we made the mess for whatever reason.


  4. From my analysis of your argument it seems fairly clear that you yourself are an INTJ, having compared yourself to Sherlock multiple times in your argument. It also appears to me that you are undermining an INTP’s ability to learn how to use their other functions, and have used stereotypes as a source of information since I am an INTP who tends to think visually and find that it is fairly easy for someone to learn to deduce someone else based on their appearance. I have found it insulting that you think that all INTP’s cannot problem-solve and rule out other possibilities based on your brief analysis of your INTP relationships. I also found that you have very little knowledge on INTP cognitive functions since you have stated them in the wrong order ( it’s Ti Ne not Ne Ti) and have concluded that you are projecting your personality onto his, which makes your statements very biased and therefore not likely true. ( as a side note “an” is only used before a word starting with a vowel, not a consonant.” Which makes it very hard to take you seriously.”


      • Two main reasons SH is not a J – body parts in the fridge next to the creamer and responding in the moment, as necessary, rather than hanging back and studying the situation so he can make a “plan” – i.e. SH loves the new, unknown and unexpected. Especially when the thing “unexpected” is his own success and/or survival. Running into a fire with nothing but your wits and emerging unscathed – it doesn’t get any better than that for an NTP.

        As a P mother of J offspring – here’s how I see it – Js get satisfaction from “learning” and “knowledge” – from calculating what’s going to happen and being right. Ps get their jollies from “exploration” and “discovery” – thinking on the fly and surviving while beating the odds. Js operate according to plan while Ps operate in a sort of “drive-by” fashion. It’s what makes us so annoying.

        Js think Ps are freaks and careless and Ps think Js are anal and bossy.

        Mycroft is an “I know the way” J and Sherlock is a “you’re not the boss of me” P.


        • Sherlock really have traces of IxTP, the point is that the INTJ functions predominate strongly in it. Sherlock is decisive and NEVER distrusts his insight’s – which is quite common with Ne users. Sherlock is selective and want to focus on what’s really important to work and not allowed to fall into several curiosities to cover new frontiers, he wants to focus and development, which would be more Te than Ti.


          • INTPs learn pretty early on that trying to correct inaccurate assumptions/”knowledge” about them is all work with zero payoff because the only thing worse than the common failure, in that regard, is the uncommon success.


        • INTPs learn pretty early on that attempts to correct inaccurate assumptions about them are inadvisable.


        • “Trust” is not really a thing – I am quite decisive in my choices but it doesn’t have anything to do with “trust”. It has to do with my ability to think on my feet. In fact, I think BEST on my feet. If new information presents itself, I adapt. Right then. But I can see why it might appear as “confidence” or even “over-confidence”. It’s not. I think on my feet in response to what presents itself. I’m not afraid. I’m not afraid to run headlong down a path because I’m not afraid of miscalculating. I can turn on a dime. I don’t have to stop to kick myself or find someone else to blame or to look around to see if anyone saw me screw up or to waste time being embarrassed or weighing the pros and cons of what to do next. It doesn’t matter what I choose – if I make a wrong turn, the moment I see that I have, I can tack and change course.

          Being wrong doesn’t affect me like it affects most people. When all is said and done, being wrong is invariably the BEST part of my endeavors! Because being wrong means I’ve discovered something – something new, which I love. I’m an explorer – I LIVE for discovery whether in my head or in the real world. It’s my life blood.


        • The point is that INTP’s leave options open and like to cover what is learned, exploring various possibilities unreal and almost unworkable [Ne]. Sherlock early is someone who has learned to organize his own mind and decide what he want to do in life, focusing almost a good part of his life in his career neglecting all sorts of distractions and useless things for your work – obviously he might like playing the violin, but it’s limited only serves as a kind of mental comfort to help in their insight’s. Sherlock is decisive and want to apply and discover the obvious knowledge, avoids losing imaginable ideas, and when he lose, seeking the most realistic and objective as possible conclusion without going back to the chaotic cycle – the insight’s Sherlock are well-aimed, assertive and should do sense [Ni-Te], not comprehensive and questing [Ti-Ne].


        • I find your generalizations in terms of J’s and P’s disturbing. I hope you’re not thinking in terms of the Bastardized Five Factor Model version of the MBTI? Because that’s not the version of the MBTI that’s dealt with on this blog. STJ’s, SFJ’s, NTJ’s, and NFJ’s are all very different.

          My brother and I are both P’s (ISTP and INTP respectively), but neither of us is particularly adventurous, we’re both drawn to academic pursuits, and we’re both very quiet and respectful of authority, as well as sticklers for rules. Pretty much more or less kind of the opposite of what you’re saying about P’s. (That being said, we are both terrible at planning ahead and organizing, especially me.)

          “Running into a fire with nothing but your wits and emerging unscathed – it doesn’t get any better than that for an NTP.”
          I’m sorry, but that does not sound like your run-of-the-mill NTP. There are certainly NTP’s like that (I have an ENTP cousin who just recently fell in love with the life of the adrenaline junkie), but I don’t think it makes sense to talk about that like it’s a staple of the type. NTP’s have lower-level Si. The combination of sensing being both introverted and lower-level means they pay very little attention to their environment, often getting lost in daydreams and memories. That doesn’t sound to me like a type you want rushing into fires very often. I know a fire is the last place I want to be, and I’m an INTP. I’d much rather sit in the safety of my room and write essays on Aristotelian metaphysics, Japanese prosody, music theory, and calculus than do anything as stressful as that.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Let me summarize the difference Ni and Ne:
          Ni is focused on what will happen and complementary meaning search in the details; Ne search several abranges and fanciful ideas with complementary focus on data and experience. Sherlock is organized mentally and know which idea should be used for any situation in the future and is completely hard at what you get; It is not a free thinker like NTPs, but someone focused on how to use their knowledge instead of questioning everything.


  5. Hello, first I would say I enjoyed his analysis of the Sherlock’s personality, however, I do not think he’s INTJ for some reasons you would like you to take into consideration and thus could see if I’m wrong. Here’s what I think it not be INTJ:
    – To me, it’s someone who needs external events to motivate action and need challenges and new, so if interested and into the ‘obsession mode’ ‘for such a challenge as to become more objective and focused, so having resemblance to Te, but is actually just Ti-Ne obsessed by logical challenge;
    – If he does not let the ” options open ” would be just for him to be someone super smart, who really knows the problem, but still, there are times that he comes back and sees other possibilities of error and considers other factors;
    – It is definitely not very careful like his brother, who is a User Te; he practically throws herself in danger to find out if it’s right and does not care to sacrifice yourself to find out if hit something – it is very improviser;
    – I think Fe bottom is visible for what he feels for Watson, the very ” resurrection ” it happened when he thought Watson could get into serious trouble.
    Anyway, what do you think? I could point out my mistakes? Thanks for listening.


    • About your points:

      – I am INTJ. I also need an external motivation to get going too. A logical challenge or puzzle or data analysis is a way to validate my pattern-seeking cravings from Ni. I realised much later that I went in science for exactly this sort subconscious motivation. “Ti-Ne” doesn’t have exclusivity on liking mental challenges or wanting to understand how things work.

      – other possibilities are only considered when the other most *probable* ones have been 100% discarded > this could also be Ni and Te working together

      – Sherlock might be careless or not from his own perception, but superseding such care might be efficient Te action(s) on his Ni goal because he concluded that immediately running after the villain is the most efficient and likely action to probably get what he needs.

      However, I will readily concede you that it is less INTJ-like to improvise roles and make up stories to convince strangers, though I believe Se could help doing so. I would just say that improvising is not an exclusivity of the Ne function.

      – Why inferior Fe over repressed/immature tertiary Fi? Fi never meant not emotionally caring about others.


      • But you think a INTJ would own messy establishment and would spend hours debating with a skull and re-create the image of Watson while actually he’s out? This does not seem more brainstorming Ne user?


        • I’m an INTJ and can spend hours talking aloud to myself, easily. It’s not so much brainstorming as trying to verbally work through problems, although sometimes I do realize new things once I have talked everything out. I nearly always pace while doing this. My brother, a fellow INTJ, also paces a lot, although he talks out loud to himself much less. (Naturally other people–particularly our ISFJ mother–think both our behaviors are very weird.)

          I also have a rather messy bedroom. It’s cleaned regularly, but the cleaning tends to be done around the piles of books, papers, and folders. I can organize things well, and use a very Te method of organizing files on my computer, but I will often lay something on my dresser and leave it there for months.


        • My place is a mess. I know where everything is, but it definitely looks like a mess around my computer and in my small studio.

          There’s a nuance between brainstorming and ordering one’s own ideas. If nothing else, the need to externalise and organise one’s own thoughts sounds more Te to me.

          I currently perceive Ne users as people who need external ideas to stimulate and excite their own… A skull does not really inject new concepts and ideas to Sherlock, because it does not give new content to his mind. It is an object onto which he can focus to organise this thoughts clearly.


  6. Hello, my dear INTJ. Who here is put an INTP enjoying their attempt to try to play all the interesting characters to the side INTJ.
    Sherlock NOT INTJ! Do you know why? Come on…
    1 – Sherlock is brilliant in analyzing the environment around him logically [Ti-Ne], can also understand hidden intentions [Fe trained working for Ti] and trust enough in fragments / collected memory [Si];
    2 – Sherlock hates boredom and need external events to make it move [Ne]. Sherlock is clearly obsessed with news, which makes him scour all around you to solve the game [Ti-Ne];
    3 – Sherlock had as a friend a skull … he liked to discuss ideas with the inanimate object – classic brainstorming Ne users. Not to mention that had moments he thought he was talking to Watson, even it not being there! [Ne-Si];
    4 – It is clear that Sherlock shows Fe inferior for Watson and acquaintances.


      • Do you know what I really, really am curious about?

        I want to know the personality type of Sherlock Holmes in the original stories by ACD. I can’t figure him out at all.

        (I’ve never watched the BBC show, but from what I hear the BBC Sherlock sounds rather different from the original character–is that a fair assessment?)


    • Its obvious huh? Care to back up your analysis with an educated comment. Or are you just trolling because you are an ISTP and want Sherlock to be one as well.


  7. I wonder why this specific debate is so mental on Internet. The emotional, quasi-visceral reactions to conclusions on either sides of the INTJ/INTP (and sometimes ISTP) fence are almost worth a post by themselves. Initially entertaining to read, I admit I grew annoyed from the number of debates I’ve encountered on various forums (your post here was the first I read about this topic), and the feelings and tenacity showing in many of them.

    I’ve not cracked the code to debate successfully with fans (esp. the tumblr kind) so I simply don’t.

    Do you ever feel that *because* you are INTJ, people will automatically perceive you are biased towards any character being INTJ (as one “cool” anon comment declared so here)? Do you get the same feeling from anyone arguing for their type being the same as a fictional character?

    I’ve avoided typing INTJ characters for this reason, though I might soon break my rule for your blog :)

    I’ve become curious on the various reasons hiding behind such vehement arguing, aside from fans being fans. Why debate so hard (dare I say violently?) about a fictional character type? I’d sure love to hear about those motivations, if nothing else. I think the mix-match of all Sherlock portrayals does not help either and confuse the issue. To me, Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is a pretty immature INTJ, while RDJ’s is xNTP, and I found the latter to be more entertaining to watch.

    I guess, as you said in your Aug. 2015 reply, that the whole thing is about belief too.

    I’ve only enjoyed Series 1 of BBC Sherlock, and found the recipe to become stale, repetitive, and eyeroll-worthy afterwards. Did not enjoy the Bride movie either. Oh well. Of all the Sherlock versions out there, I’ve liked the series from Granada the most, with Jeremy Brett’s Sherlock being my favourite.


    • As for being perceived as biased towards any character that’s an INTJ–yes. I get that quite frequently. Frankly, it’s not true, and there are a lot of INTJ characters that I dislike very much. In this moment I’m thinking of Dr. Gregory House, but I’m sure I could think of more if asked. Sherlock is an INTJ that I have a love-hate perspective on. Sometimes he cracks me up, and other times I can’t stand him. Yet, if you read through the comments on my Sherlock posts, I’m fairly certain that there are a number of people who directly accuse me of bias towards him on the basis of my being an INTJ.

      I think one of the major reasons that so many people argue so vehemently (as you put it) about this is that people tend to get emotionally attached to characters. I mean, the who reason that people enjoy stories (no matter the medium) is that it allows them to relate to someone else. Fiction tells us we are not alone. We make friends with imaginary characters, and then–quite often–people want to lay claim to those characters.

      And yes, I would definitely agree that Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is immature (thus my not infrequent annoyance with the character) and that RDJ’s is an xNTP.

      In terms of the BBC Sherlock getting repetitive…have you read Conan Doyle’s Books? There’s practically a formula for the way the stories are set up.


      • I’ve read the original ACD stories, and yes, agreed, there is definitely a formula in them, and absolutely no way to guess the plot because of a deliberate withholding of important clues until the end. In spite of it all, I’ve enjoyed them immensely, deriving joy from the insanely delightful vocabulary contained in them. I will never forget Watson’s “What ineffable twaddle!”, and I got hooked from that specific passage onward.

        As a non-native speaker of English, it took me forever to read these stories. Looking in the dictionary every other sentence was hard work, but fun! Side note: I have yet to get through Shakespeare’s work, which is another huge step in English levels for me :) I started with Romeo and Juliet, since I am familiar with the story. But, I detract from the main topic.

        So, I understand people get emotionally attached to characters (self-insertion, is it?). Yet, to carry some sort of crusade on “perceived injustices”(1) towards fictional people, feeling it’s legitimate to defend them… about their MBTI personality type?

        I’ve read numerous debates on character and real people to learn about the cognitive functions, since understanding them became much easier to me in this fashion. The facts and arguments in the debates are very interesting to read. It has also opened a door to understanding character motivations, and how they can be perceived differently by an audience, and how I could be unconsciously biased towards a specific interpretation of them. It’s the author’s emotions I’ve a difficult time reading in the mix :)

        Anyhoo, I’m rambling. It’s a day off work. Thanks for the thoughts, be it in old or new posts or comments from various readers, I always get something to ponder about whenever I read this blog.

        (1)quoting charitysplace’s ‘about’


        • I’m impressed, your English is excellent. And yes, I can relate to the struggle of looking at a dictionary constantly when reading in another language. I’m currently working on Friedrich Schiller’s Kabale und Liebe.

          If I might ask, what is your native language?


        • You did, and I did not expect you to remember it. My previous answer is sitting in your brain right next to your age. ;)

          I should have mentioned it in my previous comment. French is my native language.


          • Ah, the sieve-mind, it never ceases to impress me with its social ineptitude.

            And drat that I don’t speak French yet. It’s on my list to learn after Arabic and Portuguese.

            Liked by 1 person

        • I might attempt writing a post about RDJ’s xNTP Sherlock for your blog. I’ve actually watched the movie again yesterday to get a fresh look at this. I just, oddly enough, cannot figure if he’s Ne dom or Ti dom. My gut feeling is going for ENTP even though there are “introvert” arguments going on which, of course, I want to ignore if I am to look purely at cognitive functions. So I’ll look more into that before reaching any conclusion.

          How about I submit something, and you can add comments or notes and even correct me if required? (I’d be OK with that, as always).

          Liked by 1 person

          • Brilliant! I think a lot of people would be interested in seeing him typed, so definitely go for it if you’re interested. And yes, I would recommend ignoring the introvert verses extravert arguments, unless of course, you find some that are purely function based arguments.


      • I was thinking that despite Sherlock’s immaturity, maybe one of the purposes of this version of Sherlock is to convey the journey of accepting tertiary Fi? Sherlock is immature right now because he is trying to deny it. I’m noticing that his Fi is showing a bit more through each season. Maybe he won’t be completely mature, but he could end up somewhere in between immature and mature in the end?
        On another note, I know when a plot has a formula when even I can guess a couple of plot points correctly (I’m not good at guessing plots at all). ACD, I know when Sherlock hides in the shadows, he always does.


    • I got back here reading the new comments. I hope my submission went through about RDJ’s Holmes, if you have anything to change or add to it, let me know ;)


  8. Hello. First I want to say I enjoyed your analysis on Sherlock, but I have some doubts about it really be INTJ. I have a friend INTP and the way my friend act and even walking is very similar to Sherlock. This my friend INTP also has a quick analysis on the people and he can predict various intentions [Ti-Ne-Fe] and is good at analyzing trends [Ti-Si].
    I’m also considering Sherlock ISTP as a well-trained Ni, because I think all the intuition of character comes after observed and stored facts. You see, he only thinks something forward after analyzing the entire environment in small details [Ti-Se] – which makes me think that INTJ’s not usually good immediate observers to be Se inferior – and then he goes ahead and deduces something [Ti-Ni] but sometimes it can be deduced wrong or may have been mistaken, then it needs more evidence and data to analyze. I have a friend who is ISTP rightly so, he has a sharp Ni is a great mathematician; he likes to meditate and study only what interests him, thus having a more trained Ni. He also occasionally plays chess and is an excellent player, but do not play a lot and it’s nothing compared to professional players.
    However, what makes me think that Sherlock BBC is not INTJ is that he risks a lot and is somewhat hyperactive and hates boredom and is crazy for news; he needs challenges that interest and motivate to act, that is precisely what makes IxxP’s kind act like as IxxJ’s.


  9. Beutifully explained, i always thought he was a INTJ the minute i saw him getting insane when he had nothing to do. Boredom is dangerous for a INTJ.

    Also in the adominable bride, he went back in time,in his own mind recreating that whole scene , to help him ,give him new insights on the case. Which is a verry INTJ thing to do,as we have a verry vivid world in our minds. And he also used the same mind trick, with interogating all the girls.


    (srry for my spelling, i have all kinds of disorders lol)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi, I agree that he’s Ni and Se, once he sees a path to follow he follows it and doesn’t get distracted thinking whether it may be wrong or following other possibilities; only when proven wrong he changes course.

    But I don’t think he’s INTJ.
    INTJs have suppressed Se and one of Sherlock’s main strength is being hyper aware of all evidence that’s in front of him. It’s from the small bits of evidence that someone else would miss that he starts his investigation. An INTJ would need someone else to collect the evidence or merely look at the big picture without focusing on it in detail, because being inferior, their Se is mainly troublesome.

    Also, he’s not a planner, but a problem-solver, all he wants is solve cases for their own sake even if he doesn’t accomplish anything bigger, he’s Ti-dom.
    He’s also not Te, because he doesn’t rest on establishing methods to increase efficiency, and his thinking overall seems very Ti. Takes each thing in itself and draws conclusion on it, Ti is more in detail than Te and not bound by rules except of logic

    So overall, I think ISTP with very developed Ni is the best option for him, his Ni isn’t dominant because he doesn’t get lost in the big picture, he balances the big picture with the concrete, that is, his Ni adds insight to what are overall simple but sharp Ti reasonings.
    His lack of interest in general knowledge could be an S thing, ISTP care about knowledge but only when it suits their purpose.


    • INTJ have a inferior Se function not suppressed ,there is a profound difference between inferior and supressed. As i INTJ i don’t consider my Se supressed, i consider it overhelming and intens, whenever i go outside, the collors ,smells, touch,light, images, voices are verry intens, thats why its called inferior because we have a hard time dealing with it. I also experience alot hearing multiple conversations of different groups of people.

      You also notice,that when Sherlock is doing some serieus thinking he wants no Se interfering, he even screams at the people in the room ” SHUT UP !’ Someone with a Dominant Sensing function,wouldnt do stuff like that, they could handle sensory stimuly better.


      • Passing-by INTJ here who agrees, I would say Sherlock might have a well-developed Se (just like he most likely has an under-developed Fi, like a lot of INTJs do, these things happen and could be due to external circumstances). I am sometimes hyper-aware of everything around me, including details, but other times I’m completely lost in my mind focusing so intently on solving a problem that I forget the world is still spinning.


    • ’nuff said is a poor way of avoiding the use of logic to back up a “truestory,” but I’m glad you can form your own opinions. In future, I’d advise you to come up with more mature means of asserting those opinions, else nobody (idiots such as Arvid Walton included) is going to take your arguments seriously.


  11. Another excellent post as usual. I run into them from time to time as I pinterest, and it is always refreshing to read a blog by someone who breaks down and understand the types for their functions. That being said, do not forget that not all INTJs are visually dominant. I too, am an INTJ and find myself highly auditory dominant, using that SE function to predict friends’ and rivals’ next move, read the room etc, as it was advantageous to have friends in that pressure cooker of an environment, as well as giving me a leg up with figuring out what a client really means when they say ‘X’ but probably mean ‘Y’. It was actually quite difficult for me in veterinary school, as a lot of subjects were based on recognizing something when we saw it (gross anatomy, clinical pathology, histology), and it was only through recognizing the patterns repeatedly that I could recall the words. Meanwhile I excelled in more auditory classes (Cardiology, Advanced Equine Medicine), where I could easily distinguish auditory patterns and hold onto them in my mind without effort (like the difference between what a mitral defect and a TRP murmur). So while Sherlock’s mind palace is visually stunning, yet quiet, some of us tend to sit in the dark but for the symphonic palace, if you will. I think there are several ways to use that SE function, and while one INTJ may develop it one way, another may have done so in another. I hope this gives you some food for thought, as it was when I was introduced to the four learning types (Kinetic, Kinesthetic, Auditory, Visual).
    At any rate, I look forward to coming across your next blog posting.


    • Yes, I find that visual learning / kinesthetic tends to be something of a disadvantage within most education systems nowadays – but extremely useful outside of those systems


  12. You’re amazing. Your posts are amazing. I am in awe. I am also slightly jealous of your abilities. I’m an INTP, although apparently I only have marginal/no preference of P over J, but I definitely relate more to INTP as opposed to INTJ. Thank you so much for giving this information.


  13. I’ve been saying for so long that Sherlock (as played by Cumberbatch) is an INTJ, and this blog post nails the reasons down perfectly. THANK YOU.

    As an INTJ myself, it’s always been obvious, and it kind of annoyed me when I saw people labeling him as INTP. However, I would say that Robert Downy Jr.’s portrayal of the character was probably INTP.


    • To be perfectly honest, I don’t really like Sherlock all that well. He’s hilarious, but he also drives me insane.

      But…if you think he’s cool…I’m not going to argue with you :)


  14. You changed my mind. I appreciate your ability to do that. Initially I was skeptical, but well done with your analysis. :)


  15. Calling bs on how you guessed the killer in Broadchurch.


    There’s simply no way you could’ve known it was Joe. Really. If you did, then break it down for me. What parts in the first 20 minutes led to this conclusion?


    • The last time I watched that show was several years ago, so I’m rusty on the details, but this is what I remember. I guessed the killer quickly based on the way that Joe’s character was cinematically presented in comparison to the other suspects. The screenwriters gave super dramatic reasons for the audience to believe that other very-unlikely characters were the killer. Yet, they tried to downplay Joe and keep him in the background as much as possible. As a writer who knows how screenwriters think, it was a fairly obvious set up.

      At present, I really don’t see a reason to bother arguing this point at great length with anybody. I have better things to do with my time.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m an INTP, and I was simply wondering why so many people thought he was an INTP, when he showed many more signs of being an INTJ. Rhis answered my question, and then some. Which, I think, is a good thing. Thank you.


  17. I am an INTJ and 100 % Accept your Reasoning I think about Sherlock in that way.
    I offer that for more Scientific approach if you mind do not Compare the Case with your own Behave and experience -I think it is more Scientific.
    but your article is Excellent.
    Thanks a lot Sir


    • Thanks for the compliment!

      I was perfectly aware that it was unscientific while I was writing it. I deliberately wrote it according to a rationalist logic, rather from an empiricist viewpoint. I differ from most stereotypical INTJs in that I identify as philosopher more than scientist. I’m profoundly dubious of trusting empirical evidence as proof, so I must beg the question. Is the scientific method truly reliable universal basis on which we can credit all knowledge?

      The Myers-Briggs Theory itself is hardly scientific, thus, it becomes largely sanctimonious to say that one can make a scientific argument using the Myers-Briggs theory as a starting point.

      Even if it were possible, science falls short in its ability to provide answers to non-empirically based questions. To quote Nikola Tesla, “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”

      The only reason I compare my own experience here is to provide my readers with real-life examples.

      Liked by 2 people

      • First of All its not a Compliment its my pure Point of View about your article
        and I think because of your Dubious thinking Style you have a good balance between your Te and your Shadow Function Ti
        I really enjoy reading your article and admire you
        -best regards


    • The original Sherlock Holmes by Conan Doyle was an istp. Many of the things you mentioned about sherlock’s type are carry overs from the original character, not Benedict Cumberbatch’s playing of him. Also, intp’s Fe is repressed, so the arguments that Sherlock would realize how others feel sooner doesn’t make sense to me. Sherlock is an intp who, for purposes of making an entertaining show, verbalizes things an intp would normally only think.


      • An INTP does not verbalize what he normally just thinks –I know too many INTPs to know the truth in that. They are ridiculously difficult for me, an INTJ, to communicate with for that very reason.

        Sherlock is a caricature more than an three-dimensional character, so we could pretty easily argue any of the types for him. He’s hardly a deep character, and anything but consistent. I will say that BBC’s Sherlock is a relatively unhealthy INTJ, so yes, the xNTP functions definitely show up in the form of negative shadow functions.

        I’m not going to argue Sherlock any further because in the end, all parties will continue to believe whatever they believed before. See, that’s the thing about belief…you can throw all the sand and darts you want, but that only makes it stronger.


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