Published: Thu, September 20, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Four New Personality Types Identified by Scientists

Four New Personality Types Identified by Scientists

This messy reality isn't as fun as things like the Myers-Briggs assessment, which purports to divide people into 16 separate personality types. There's something uniquely satisfying about being able to place ourselves and the people around us into clearly defined categories that can help us understand why we all behave the way we do and maybe shed some light on how to make decisions in our lives.

Scientists have discovered four main personality types, but put the brakes on your visions of a Harry Potter-style Sorting Hat. They've determined there are four personality types that everyone fits into: average, reserved, self-centered and role model.

What they found is that people's responses clustered around four categories, which they named personality types.

The most common personality type, average people are high in neuroticism and extraversion, but low in openness.

The researchers, majority engineers, borrowed methods developed to study particle physics to analyze the responses of 1.5 million people from four separate studies measuring the Big Five.

"The thing that is really, really cool is that a study with a dataset this large would not have been possible before the web", added Dr Amaral. ("If you're in D.C., you're closer to NY than you are to Chicago", Revelle says.) Some people may not fit into any of them. "Now, we think this will change because of this [comprehensive] study".

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Admit it: You've taken a personality test. These made no sense to experts in the personality field and represented statistical artifacts, study co-author Martin Gerlach said. Females are more likely than males to fall into the Average type.

"Previously, maybe researchers would recruit undergraduates on campus, and maybe get a few hundred people".

From those robust datasets, the team plotted the five widely accepted basic personality traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. "There are higher densities than you would expect by chance, and that's what these guys convinced me of", Revelle says. "Now, we have all these online resources available, and now data is being shared". According to a press release from Northwestern University, where the research was done, these people tend not to be extraverted, but are fairly conscientious and agreeable. The "role model" (low in neuroticism and high in openness, agreeableness, extroversion and conscientiousness) consisted mostly of women over the age of 40 whereas young men were much more likely to be "self-centered" (high extroversion, medium neuroticism, along with low openness, agreeableness and consciousness). While people live across the country, it's easy to spot high-density areas like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, which are each home to far more people than, say, Cleveland or Tallahassee. The strength of these traits - neuroticism, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness and how extrovert a person is - allowed the scientists to use algorithms spot four distinct "clusters" or groupings of personality. Folks customarily are usually within the Role Model category as they age, and girls customarily are usually in this neighborhood than men."These are those that're real and originate to new suggestions", Amaral said.

"People are developing", Amaral says.

People most likely can be seen to shift between clusters, as well. In addition to hiring managers, the researchers said, the work could prove helpful for mental health service providers and single people searching for partners. Older people tend to be less neurotic and more conscientious and agreeable than those under 20, according to the research.

"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", Amaral said. "This could be a subject of future research".

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