There are four distinct personality types that many people fall into, according to new research from 1.5 million people around the world.
They are the ‘average’, the ‘reserved’, the ‘role models’ and the ‘self-centred’.
While psychologists usually dislike the idea of personality ‘types’, Professor Luís Amaral, study co-author, said:
“Personality types only existed in self-help literature and did not have a place in scientific journals.
Now, we think this will change because of this study.”
Most people are ‘average’, as you would expect: they are relatively extraverted but also a little neurotic.
They are also relatively closed to new experiences, preferring to stick to what they know and not that curious about the world.
Reserved people tend to be emotionally stable but more introverted.
Set against this, they are also agreeable and conscientious.
This is the quiet, unobtrusive, willing and dependable type.
3. Role Models
Role models tend to have stable emotions and be high in openness to experience, agreeableness, conscientiousness and extraversion.
This means they are friendly, hard-working, outgoing and curious.
Others naturally looked up to them because of their positive personality traits.
Professor Amaral said:
“These are people who are dependable and open to new ideas.
These are good people to be in charge of things.
In fact, life is easier if you have more dealings with role models.”
People are more likely to fit into the role model category as they get older.
Women are also more likely to fall into this category.
Self-centred people are extraverted but low in openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness.
Teenage boys are particularly likely to be self-centred, Professor Amaral said:
“We know teen boys behave in self-centered ways.
If the data were correct and sifted for demographics, they would they turn out to be the biggest cluster of people.”
People tend to get less self-centred with age.
The results come from a survey of over 1.5 million people worldwide.
All were given standard tests of the five major factors of personality: neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion and openness to experience.
The results showed that many — although not all — people tend to cluster around these four types.
Change is also possible between the groups, Professor Amaral said:
“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.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour (Gerlach et al., 2018).