I realize there's already a thread entitled "INTP's and emotions," but I haven't read through it and the first post seemed to cover only general characteristics of the INTP's emotional side. I'll try not to repeat what was said there.
These are my own observations and theories. It is not backed by any research. To my knowledge, I have not been diagnosed with a mental problem that would affect my emotional responses (i.e. schizophrenia), but I am an INTP.
- INTUITION - how it affects emotional response
As intuitives, have you ever found that you respond inappropriately to emotional situations? Do you not dwell on the singular "event" that is supposed to elicit an emotional response?
Speaking generally, Sensors appear to focus more on events, treating them as separate occurrences and responding to events as they happen. Intuitives, on the other hand, treat them as part of a whole, some grand association of ideas, feelings and occurrences. Therefore, they do not place significance on a single event, and do not respond to it as a Sensor would.
Now, let's observe an INTP. Their tertiary function is Si, and I believe it plays a great part in the emotional response of the INTP.
- INTROVERTED SENSING - internal associations
"Introverted Sensing often involves storing data and information, then comparing and contrasting the current situation with similar ones. The immediate experience or words are instantly linked with the prior experiences, and we register a similarity or a difference—for example, noticing that some food doesn’t taste the same or is saltier than it usually is. Introverted Sensing is also operating when we see someone who reminds us of someone else. Sometimes a feeling associated with the recalled image comes into our awareness along with the information itself."
- Taken from CognitiveProcesses (com)
(I can't post a link - I'm not a spambot, I promise.)
Let me give you a personal example:
It has been more than a month since my grandmother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I've lived with her all my life and interact with her on a day-to-day basis, but when my mom told me the news, I didn't even flinch. She's been deteriorating for a while now and I just don't feel affected by it. At all. You can rule "shock" out as an explanation--there was no shock to begin with.
A week or so ago, though, my mom mentioned my grandmother had been throwing up. I didn't know this and she proceeded to elaborate how she had cleaned the vomit in the bathroom. The next day, when I brushed my teeth in the same bathroom, Si kicked in and it hit me all at once. I thought about the horrific effects of cancer on the body (data - past), by remembering the vomit (data - recent). Then I began to reminisce, recalling memories about her (data - past, eliciting feelings in the present).
Si is what makes some music, places or atmospheres very personal for the INTP. This is why we can seem so nostalgic, and is often why we have difficulty giving up things with sentimental value. This also explains why we cry during really cheesy scenes in movies (that hold personal meaning), but remain stoic at funerals.
Anyway... here is where it gets interesting, and I wonder if it is characteristic of other INTP's, too.
- USING INTUITION TO EXTEND PAST "CONCRETE" ASSOCIATIONS (i.e. things you have personally experienced)
When that bathroom scene happened, I did not dwell on my feelings--instead, I began to wonder what my mother must feel like, and what my grandma must think about her condition.
I experience a similar effect at funerals. I think "what must the mother be feeling right now? How is she coping with this event? What about the person's friends or spouse?" I try to put myself in their shoes, so I can act appropriately.
I'm not sure what cognitive function that would be, but my tentative guess is some crude Fe.
- PUBLIC DISPLAY OF EMOTION-- don't expect it from an INTP
I usually suppress my emotional response to an event when I am expected to show a public display of feeling (say a funeral). This remains true regardless of how strongly the emotion is felt. When I am in an emotional situation (ex: people are crying around me), my immediate instinct is to fiercely resist it, sometimes to the point of appearing aggressive or cold. Usually I feel the need to respond with an opposite feeling.
Anger --> Levity
Sadness --> Laughter
Fear --> Laughter
I restrain myself if it will endanger my relation with the person. But during movies I do not. Yes, I laughed during the Titanic. I found the idea of prying someone's cold, dead fingers off one's arm (and then tossing them into the freezing water, no less) hilarious.
Of course, this is not to say I am insensitive. I do feel, and I can be quite empathetic. I merely feel uncomfortable responding emotionally, because I feel it will endanger me.
- DISASSOCIATION FROM EMOTION
Under stress, INTP's usually feel the need to withdraw. They are not likely to reach out to other people. In fact, they often try to distance themselves from them, to fix the problem on their own. INTP's are not likely to talk about their problems or emotions, and those who do not develop their Feeling side may resort to shutting them out altogether.
Of course, that is not a permanent solution, and eventually those pent-up emotions come out in one way or another (in my experience, usually thanks to Si).
Well, I think that about covers my main observations. I'll stop rambling now. Have you INTP's ever had an awkward emotional response to something, or do you feel you have some emotional peculiarities others don't understand? Would you want to change anything about yourself? Why?
And any non-INTP's (especially Feelers), what do you think about INTP emotions?
Pitch in whatever you want! I'm too tired to think of more questions.