If you’ve been on internet, without a doubt, you’ve taken a personality test at some point in your life. However, if you ask a professional, they’ll probably tell you the results are malarkey. However, in a report published Monday in the journal Nature Human Behavior, researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois identify four personality types: reserved, role models, average and self-centered.
Myers-Briggs Personality test is the most popular one out there, with acronyms specifying the details of the type. “The social psychology community is pretty in line with being anti Myers-Briggs Type personality assessments,” said Alexander Swan, a psychologist at Eureka College in Illinois who is a critic of the test.
While psychologists argue about existence of personality types, they do agree of traits. The five best-established traits, or Big Five, are openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. A long questionnaire is used to identify whether a person ranks high or low on certain test. However, the biggest flaw of this test is that the person tested, is the person responding. So when stated “I tend to keep grudges” you are most likely to respond “Not really”.
Gerlach and his colleagues Luis A. Nunes Amaral and Beatrice Farb are trying to propel these old ideas into the realm of big data. They took a relatively new approach – not adhering to Jungian theories but analyzing four huge data sets. They also took help of William Revelle, a psychologist. In total, this research represents traits for 1.5 million people from the United States and England.
These four personality types are based on the five traits mentioned before.
The reserved type was not open and not particularly extroverted, but otherwise agreeable and conscientious. Role models were high in every trait but neuroticism. People who scored very high in extroversion but were below average in agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness were “self-centered.
However, the utility of these personality types is something they don’t know yet. Revelle is collecting personality trait data at the SAPA-Project.org. And Gerlich wants to investigate whether the people they called “role models” are more successful in their jobs.
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