You are no longer simply an introvert or extrovert, nor do you have to remember whether it’s people with personality type A who are perfectionists and type B who are laid-back, or vice versa.
New research published in the Nature Human Behaviour journal has identified four new personality types on the back of what looks to be one of the most comprehensive studies, with a sample size of 1.5 million people.
Questionnaires filled out by the group assessed five well-established traits: openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism (level of emotional stability), and extraversion (quality of being outgoing).
Based on people’s responses, researchers from America’s Northwestern University identified four personality types:
The Reserved personality scores high in emotional stability, is somewhat agreeable and conscientious, and is low in extraversion.
The Self-Centred personality scores high in extraversion, but below average in openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. Researchers note that such people are not always approachable or genuinely liked.
The Role Model personality scores high in extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness, and low in neuroticism. Researchers go on to describe such people as being agreeable, thoughtful and well-organised.
The Average personality scores average scores in all five traits.
The researchers note that some people will display traits relevant to more than one personality type, and also that a personality is not permanent; it can shift and alter over time, depending on age, lifestyle circumstances and other extraneous factors. For example, people tend to veer more towards the Role Model personality as they get older.
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. Now, [this] data shows there are higher densities of certain personality types.” Senior researcher Luis Nunes Amaral, from Northwestern Engineering added: "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 [comprehensive] study.”
Lead researcher Martin Gerlach went on to say that the four personality “clusters” could help predict how well one may succeed in a given job, or one’s vulnerability to certain emotional conditions. However, there has been already some backlash from psychologists as to the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of personality identification when it comes to providing serious help for mental-health patients and issues.