It feels as though we’re constantly being led to believe we have a certain personality type, forcing us to either lean into the stereotype or push back against it.
Have we been overanalysing things, though? Have we been getting far too granular in our dissection of our personality when it’s actually been much more simple all along?
Maybe it’s time to stop using tube lines and favourite albums to determine your personality, and instead rely on proper, scientific research (OK, fine, you might prefer the albums thing, but hear us out).
A new study from researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois has broken down 1.5m people - yes, one and a half million - into four distinct personality types. It is claimed that the findings are the first to categorise personalities on a scientific basis, rather than by using ‘hypothetical labels’.
What are the four types?
As reported by Inverse, the study - published in Nature Human Behaviour - defines the four types of personality as ‘average’, ‘role model’, ‘reserved’, and ‘self-centred’.
Wondering which camp you fall into? It all depends on your balance of agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism and openness. In the case of this study, researchers figured it all out using a series of specially designed tests.
High in neuroticism and extroverson, low in openness. Average in agreeableness and conscientiousness. More females than males in this category.
Low in neuroticism, high in openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness and extroversion. Likelihood of being in this category increases hugely with age. More females than males in this category.
Low in openness, neuroticism, extroversion. High in agreeableness and conscientiousness.
High in extroversion and low in openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. One of the study authors wrote, “These are people you don’t want to hang out with” with teenage boys being cited as an example of the group (one can assume that Kanye West would fit snugly into this category).
“In addition to our careful computational analysis, the strongest argument [for personality types] is that we can find the same types across four different datasets that use different questions and were collected by different researchers,” Martin Gerlach PhD, an author of the study, told Inverse.
Professor Luis Amaral, the leader of the study, described what ‘role models’ looked like saying, “These are people who are dependable and open to new ideas. These are good people to be in charge of things.”
So, yes, you might have decided which TV character matches your personality, or what your cooked breakfast preferences say about you, but now you can get down to the nitty-gritty like never before.