A large-scale new study has identified that there are four distinct ‘clusters’ of personality types – average, reserved, self-centered, and role model.
The scale of the research (involving questionnaires from 1.5 million people) has meant that it’s more accurate than previous attempts to categorise people by their personality traits.
William Revelle, professor of psychology at Northwestern University said, ‘People have tried to classify personality types since Hippocrates’s time, but previous scientific literature has found that to be nonsense,
‘Now, these data show there are higher densities of certain personality types.’
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Average people are the most common personality type: high in neuroticism and extraversion, but low in openness.
Researved people are emotionally stable, but not open, while role models are classic ‘leaders’, low in neuroticism and high in other traits.
Self-centred people are high in extraversion – but low in traits including openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness.
The concept of personality types remains controversial in psychology, with hard scientific proof difficult to find.
Previous attempts based on small research groups – whereas the new study used an online personality quiz with between 44 and 300 questions.
The researchers found certain ‘clusters’ of responses, which could be broken down into four distinct ‘types’.
Lead author Luis Amaral, 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.
‘A study with a dataset this large would not have been possible before the web. Previously, researchers would recruit undergrads on campus and maybe get a few hundred people. Now, we have all these online resources available, and data is being shared.’