(note: I am focusing on the ENTP temperament rather than the other three NP types because I found more information on the ENTP type. I’m sure the same comparison could be made for INTP, ENFP and INFP).
- Inattention and daydreaming
- Task switching; many half-finished projects
- Creative and inventive
- Non-conformist and social deficiencies
- Poor planning, forgetful, unorganized, late, loses things
- Boredom intolerance
- Hyperactive (restless, fidgety, high energy, tense, talkative)
- Playfulness; turns things into games
- Easily frustrated
- Frequently recommended occupations
- Laugh frequently; good humor
- Challenges authority
Sources are referenced in parentheses and are listed at the bottom of this page.
Inattention and Daydreaming
ADD: By definition must have difficulty paying attention (12). This is typically identified in the classroom. BUT, when highly interested, ADDers “hyperfocus” and can remain extremely focused for a long time, such as in front of a video game (11). Example: Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes.
Creative: “Inattentive to teacher’s or classmates’ comments and class discussions”(2). Creative people often focus on their inner thoughts (3). Example: Robert Frost was expelled from school for daydreaming.
Task switching (described as short attention span); many half-finished or open-ended projects.
ADD: By definition (12). “Many projects going simultaneously” (11). Author’s note: This page (one of many half-finished pages) may be a good example (will it every be finished? Does it matter?). Hey, at least I’m not watching TV like everyone else.
Creative: Often have many half-finished projects involving highly disparate interests (3). Example: Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings (only 16 finished in 67 years of painting). Highly enthusiastic about the idea of the project, may be less motivated as the idea gets old and the project becomes mundane, and then is prone to being distracted by another project idea. May go back to first project later (or may not).
ENTP: “If a project in which they are engaged is no longer challenging, they tend to lose interest in that project and fail to follow through – often to the discomfort of colleagues…Inventors are likely to have all sorts of hobbies” (4).
Creative and Inventive:
ADD: Groups with ADHD (ADD with hyperactivity) score higher on creativity tests (3). “Adults with ADD often have unusually creative minds. In the midst of their disorganization and distractibility, they show flashes of brilliance” (11).
Creative: By definition.
ENTP: By definition. “ENTPs are inventors, innovators, explorers, entrepreneurs, and visionaries. ENTPs are always looking over the next horizon, trying to push the edge of the envelope, and trying to do what other people say can’t be done” (10).
Non-Conformist Tendencies and Social Problems
ADD: Referred ADDers may have fewer friends and are slower to pick up social skills (possibly because of inattention due to disinterest). Peers often reject ADDers because of annoying hyperactive or inattentive behavior (1). Chronic problems with self-esteem may be “the direct and unhappy result of years of conditioning: years being told one is a klutz, a spaceshot, and underachiever, lazy, weird, different, out of it, and the like…What is impressive is how resilient most adults are, despite all the setbacks” (11).
Creative: So frequently non-conformist as to be a stereotype. Often appear to be anti-social, although this may be a defense strategy in many cases because peers often reject their differences (3). “Independent, Inventive (non-conforming)….Withdraws because of strong goal orientation, peer group criticism and rejection” (2).
ENTP: “ENTPs tend to be sociable — they enjoy interacting with interesting people and doing interesting things. The key word is “interesting.” ENTPs have a low boredom threshold and they have little desire to be around other people simply for the sake of being around other people… While ENTPs value their personal relationships, they find it easier than some other types to leave those relationships behind” (10). “In terms of their relationships, ENTPs are capable of bonding very closely with their loved ones…(and) are also good at acquiring friends who are as clever and entertaining as they are. Aside from those two areas, ENTPs tend to be oblivious of the rest of humanity, except as an audience” (10). Seldom are Inventors conformists” (4). ENTPs “are the most reluctant of all the types to do things in a particular manner just because that is the way things have always been done. They characteristically have an eye out for a better way…”(5).
Poor Planning, Forgetful, Unorganized, Often Late, Lose Things
ADD: “Often has difficulties organizing tasks and activities…Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities” (12). Successful adult ADDers typically have learned to become organized or can rely on a secretary or spouse to keep track of events for them (1). “She’s always late for everything, except for every meal” (from the Sound of Music).
ENTP: “Orderliness in the routines of daily living is not apt to inspire them…They may neglect very necessary preparation at times. After repeated failures in situations where improvising has met with defeat, the Inventor may develop ways of avoiding such situations as a substitute to thorough preparation” (4).”Planning contingencies and marshalling forces…develop more slowly and are soon left behind by the burgeoning of talent in engineering. However, any kind of strategic exercise tends to bring added strength to both engineering and organizing skills” (5).
ADD: “Boredom surrounds the adult with ADD like a sinkhole, ever ready to drain off energy and leave the individual hungry from more stimulation” (11). Inattention and restlessness do not occur when the ADDer is doing something which interests them. Neurochemicals are thought to be below normal if the ADDer is not mentally stimulated (1)(3).
Creative: Neurochemicals are thought to be below normal if creative person is not mentally stimulated (3). “Bores easily and may appear to have a short attention span” (6).
ENTP: “ENTPs have a low boredom threshold” (10).”Inventors can succeed in a variety of occupations, as long as the job does not involve too much humdrum routine. At this point, they become restless” (4).
Hyperactivity (restless, fidgety, high energy, tense, talkative)
ADD: Often hyperactive (ADHD) but not always (1)(8).
Creative: Most creative third in group score significantly higher on scale of hyperactivity than least creative third. Most famous inventors, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, were extremely active.(3) “Excessive Amounts of Energy” (6). “Cannot sit still unless absorbed in something of his or her own interest” (2).
Intuitive (Discerning patterns and relationships on a subconscious level before conscience understanding develops, such as with grammar and music. Intuition is a mysterious type of intelligence characteristic of the right-brain which allows people to solve complex problems and learn certain types of skills more rapidly. Akin to learning through “absorption”).
ADD: Highly intuitive (7 and 11). Often quick to learn computers and other topics without instructions (1).
Creative: “Intuitive: Seeing conclusions without displaying knowledge of sequential concepts.” (2)
ENTP: By definition (the “N” stands for “iNtuition.)
ADD: Extremely enthusiastic when doing something which is of interest. “Like the child with ADD in the classroom, the adult with ADD gets carried away in enthusiasm. An idea comes and it must be spoken, tact or guile yielding to child-like exuberance” (11).
Creative: “Eager: Resents periods of classroom activity” (2).
ENTP: “Usually enthusiastic, Inventors are apt to express interest in everything, and thus are a source of inspiration to others, who find themselves caught up in the Inventor’s enthusiasm. This type is delighted over many things and so is easy to please” (4). “ENTPs are more likely to have bursts of inspiration that are translated into reality through intermittent periods of extremely intense activity” (10).
Playfulness; turns things into “games”; competitiveness
ENTP: “Inventors enjoy outwitting the system and use rules and regulations within the system to win the game – whatever it may be… As an employee, an Inventor may work against the system just for the joy of being one-up” (4). “Enjoyment of complex problems” (5). “Both at work and at home, ENTPs are very fond of “toys”– physical or intellectual, the more sophisticated the better. They tend to tire of these quickly, however, and move on to new ones.” (10). ENTPs have a need to “have areas of expertise/excellence/uniqueness in which one is second to none” (10).
Learns on an exploratory level, even as an adult: All young children learn very rapidly at the exploratory level, through play, games and curiosity. Once reaching grade school, however, children are expected to be good passive learners, and this is often where the problems for ADD and creative children come to a head.
ADD: Difficulties focusing on blackboard memorization, but quick to teach self computer skills (1). Narrow tolerance range for new material: Too slow and he/she becomes bored. Too fast and he/she becomes frustrated (9). Exploratory learning accommodates delicate tolerance for new material because the learner sets his/her own pace.
Creative: “Learns from an exploratory level and resists rote memory and just being a listener” (6).
ENTP: “It is so natural for these individuals to practice devising gadgets and mechanisms, that they start doing it even as young children. And they get such a kick out of it that they really never stop exercising their inventive bent” (5).
Easily Frustrated and Impatient
ADD: Easily frustrated (1, 11). “The impatience has to do with the need for stimulation and can lead others to think of the individual as immature or insatiable” (11).
Creative: “May become easily frustrated because of his/her ideas and not having the resources or people to assist him/her in carrying these tasks to fruition” (6).
ENTP: “They are not, however, the mover of mountains….[they] may be rather easily discouraged” (4). “They tend to become extremely petulant about small setbacks and inconveniences. (Major setbacks they tend to regard as challenges, and tackle with determination)” (10).
Frequently recommended occupations
ENTP: Inventor (by definition). Design work (e.g. engineering), but only as a practical means to an end.”Inventors can succeed in a variety of occupations, as long as the job does not involve too much humdrum routine” (4). “Good at functional analysis” (5). “ENTPs have a strong and early interest in science and technology” (10).”They usually are outstanding teachers, continuously devising new participative ways to make learning exciting for the students”(4)
Laugh frequently; good humor
Challenges authority; trouble following established channels or procedures
ADD: “Contrary to what one might think, this is not due to some unresolved problem with authority figures. Rather it is manifestation of boredom and frustration: boredom with routine ways of doing things and excitement around novel approaches, and frustration with being unable to do things the way they’re supposed to be done” (11).
ENTP: “Outgoing and intensely curious…insatiable hunger for knowledge” (5)
1. Classic ADD trait identified by many, many sources.
2. “Classroom Problems with Gifted/Creative Children,” posted by The National Foundation for Gifted and Creative Children, originally from a paper by Marcella R. Bonsall (attached to the Division of Research and Guidance in Los Angeles, CA)
3. “The Coincidence of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Creativity,” by Dr. Bonnie Cramond, The National Research Center for the Gifted and Talented, 1995.
6. “Characteristics of Gifted/Creative Children” (National Foundation for Gifted & Creative Children)
7. “The Hidden Gifts of ADD,” by Ned Hallowell, M.D.
8. “Attention Deficit Disorder” (The Harvard Mental Health Letter, May 1995)
9. “Beyond ADD,” (Thom Hartmann),
10. Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Perceiving (three more web descriptions of the ENTP temperament)
11. Suggested Diagnostic Criteria For ADD in Adults by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, MD
12. DSM IV Criteria – Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorders