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Extensive study distinguishes four main personality types

Credits: Pixabay / geralt

An extensive study using data from 1.5 million questionnaire respondents has finally allowed researchers to distinguish personality types which have evolved over time. Details of their study are published in the journal Nature Human Behavior.

Personality types, often associated with astrology, are controversial concepts in science.  “People have tried to classify personality types since Hippocrates’s time, but previous scientific literature has found that to be nonsense,” explained psychology professor William Revelle.  When discussing the study he continued, “Now, these data show there are higher densities of certain personality types.”

Researchers have now analysed the results of four questionnaires which drew more than 1.5 million participants from around the world. Developed over decades by psychologists, these questionnaires have between 44 and 300 questions.  Thanks to a specifically designed algorithm, researchers were able to distinguish four personality types from the results. They are described as: average, reserved, self-centered and role-model.

Those belonging to the average personality group are described as being prone to negativity, prefer to be around people than alone and are not overly open to others.  This is considered the most common personality type and women are more susceptible to have these personality traits.  People who are reserved are considered emotionally stable however they are not very open to new ideas and are not overly nervous.  Although they are not extroverted, they are also described as being conscientious and easy to get on with. Those who fall into the role-model personality type are not considered very neurotic but score highly in all other traits.  They are deemed to be trustworthy, friendly and open to new ideas.   As for those with a self-centred personality type, they are very extroverted but not very open.  They are not considered very agreeable or conscientious preferring their own ideas.  Teenage boys often fall into this personality type.

These four personality types are thought to be able to develop over time.  Older people for example have a tendency to be less neurotic but more conscientious and agreeable than a twenty year old.  The researchers noted that, “When we look at large groups of people, it’s clear there are trends, that some people may be changing some of these characteristics over time.This could be a subject of future research.”

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