Scientists identify four personality types

Modesto Morganelli
Settembre 20, 2018

Knowing ourselves is a lifetime process. "Now, we have all these online resources available, and data is being shared". Specialists say that it is also impossible to fit people into a fixed box. They've determined there are four personality types that everyone fits into: average, reserved, self-centered and role model.

In response to the mumbo-jumbo reputation that personality tests and types tend to have among scientific circles, professor William Revelle said: "People have tried to classify personality types since Hippocrates's time, but previous scientific literature has found that to be nonsense".

The concept of personality types remains controversial in psychology, with hard scientific proof difficult to find. All of these tests were taken in the United States and Great Britain, and all focused on the Big Five personality traits.

Neuroticism - The tendency to frequently experience negative emotions such as anger, worry and sadness, as well as being interpersonally sensitive.

Openness - The tendency to appreciate new art, ideas, values, feelings and behaviors.

Conscientiousness - thoughtfulness, how dependable you are. But people might change their behaviour depending on the situation, such as being more of an extravert in the workplace, for instance, so you're not bound by your personality traits.

Agreeableness - your concern for other people, how sympathetic and considerate you are.

The new research combined an alternative computational approach with data from four questionnaires with more than 1.5 million respondents from around the world obtained from John Johnson's IPIP-NEO with 120 and 300 items, respectively, the myPersonality project and the BBC Big Personality Test datasets. "But whether those clusters, the four clusters they found, reflect some true underlying reality about people is something that requires other forms of evidence".

"At first, they came to me with 16 personality types, and there's enough literature that I'm aware of that says that's ridiculous", Revelle said.

A key finding of the study was that these personality traits do not appear to be set in stone and people change character over time. Whether it's an online version or something in the back of a magazine, you've answered the questions to try to put a name on your personality type, trying to unravel what makes you "you".

The new study, led by Luís Amaral of the McCormick School of Engineering, will be published September 17 by the journal Nature Human Behaviour. "I would expect that the typical person would be in this cluster", notes study co-author Martin Gerlach.

The study authors point out that the four personality clusters that they identified feature different combinations of stand-out personality traits.

Reserved people are emotionally stable but not open or neurotic.

The Reserved personality scores high in emotional stability, is somewhat agreeable and conscientious, and is low in extraversion.

The most common personality type, these people score high in neuroticism and extraversion, but low in openness. As people age, the amount of those who fall into the self-centered category declines dramatically in both men and women.

Practically speaking, the new clusters suffer from the same problem, said Michael Ashton, a psychologist at Brock University in Ontario who studies personality but was not involved in the current research. "These are good people to be in charge of things". "In fact, life is easier if you have more dealings with role models", notes Prof.

Finally, people in the "self-centered" cluster have very high extraversion but fall below average in openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

"These are people you don't want to hang out with", Revelle said. Those in both the reserve cluster and the average cluster are not very open.

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