What are Personality Types?
Personality Types are a psychological classification of different types of people. Classifying people as personality types is very different than using personality traits, with the latter embodying a smaller grouping of behavioral tendencies.
The grouping is smaller, because traits are on a continuous dimension, with many people in the middle. Conversely, types are like On/Off switches, you are either one type or another.
According to type theories, for example, introverts and extraverts are two fundamentally different categories of people. Types are like On/Off switches, you are either an extrovert or an introvert.
The benefit of type models is that they can help figure out general patterns of behavior and habits, but they have been criticized for being too simple and not taking into account how different people are within each type.
In the end, they are easy to use and understand, and they can help us learn more about ourselves and become more self-aware.
How Many Personality Types are there?
There are 69 commonly used personality Types which includes 16 MBTI Types, 9 Enneagrams, 32 Sloan Types, 4 DISC, 4 Types and the 4 Temperaments.
Many of types are derived from the Big 5 Personality Mode.
Sloan expands the Big 5 Traits by grouping them into 32 unique combinations. While the MBTI’s dichotomies are highly correlated to the Big 5 Traits.
Four is an interesting number because it comes up with the MBTI, DISC, 4 Types and 4 Temperaments. The 4 Temperaments is one of the oldest personality models and goes back to ancient Greece. DISC also has 4 distinct type and its focus is the workplace. Essentially, it’s a workplace assessment tool. And finally there are the 4 Types. This is one of the most popular model, where people are either a Type A, Type B, Type C or Type D personality.
Perhaps the most unique model is the Enneagram. While Sloan and Big 5 are more focused on traits and cognitive functions, Enneagram is oriented around a person’s core fears, desires and motivation. It has 9 basic types, however types can also have wings and subtypes so the model is both flexible and expandable. This model is said to go back to Pythagoras and was introduced to the West by G.I. Gurdjieff in 1916.
In the end, categorizing people into types comes down practicality. We could create 1,000 personality types which would have the benefit of granularity and deeper understanding people’s differences however using such a model would be cumbersome.
What are the 32 Sloan Types?
The SLOAN personality model is based on the Big Five personality traits. expands the Big 5 Traits by grouping them into 32 unique combinations. Moreover, MBTI’s dichotomies correspond to the Big 5 Traits as follows:
Since no one is one trait, this model group the Big 5 Traits into an easy-to-understand pattern.
- Social (S) vs. Reserved (R): This dimension contrasts extraversion with introversion. People scoring high on Social are outgoing and social, while those on the Reserved end prefer solitary or one-on-one activities.
- Limbic (L) vs. Calm (C): Limbic individuals experience emotions intensely and frequently and correlate to high neuroticism, while Calm individuals are more emotionally stable and less reactive to stress.
- Ordered (O) vs. Unstructured (C): Unstructured individuals prefer spontaneity and flexibility, while conscientious individuals are diligent, dependable, and prefer structure and order.
- Agreeable (A) vs. Egocentric (E): This dimension represents kindness, trust, and warmth on the Agreeable end, while those who are Egocentric can be more self-focused, competitive, and disagreeable.
- Non-curious (N) vs. Inquisitive (I): Openness to Experience involves imagination, curiosity, and Inquisitive. Those Closed to Experience are more practical, prefer routine and familiarity, and tend to be more conservative and Non-curious.
Each person’s scores across these dimensions can be combined to describe their unique personality pattern, yielding 32 possible personality types, each represented by a five-letter acronym (e.g., RCUEN for Reserved, Calm, Unstructured, Egocentric, Non-curious which translates to Low Extroversion, Low Neuroticism, Low Consciousness, Low Agreeableness, Low Extroversion). This model’s strength lies in its ability to capture the complexity and diversity of human personality in a comprehensive and nuanced way. It is most effective when an individuals Big 5 results show a clear trait preference.
What are the 16 MBTI Types?
The Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI) is a popular self-report inventory that categorizes personalities into 16 distinct types.
Each type represents a unique combination of four cognitive functions which correspond to the Big 5 Traits.
|MBTI Dichotomies||Big Five Traits|
|Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I)||Extraversion – This MBTI dimension correlates closely with the Big Five’s extraversion trait. Extraverted individuals in both models are typically outgoing, enjoy social interaction, and are often enthusiastic. Introverted individuals, on the other hand, tend to be reserved, reflective, and prefer solitary activities.|
|Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N)||Openness to Experience – Sensing individuals, who prefer concrete and practical details, might score lower on openness in the Big Five model, while Intuitive individuals, who enjoy abstract thinking and imaginative ideas, might score higher on this trait.|
|Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F)||Agreeableness – MBTI’s Thinking and Feeling dichotomy somewhat aligns with the Big Five’s Agreeableness. People with high Agreeableness (Big Five) or who are Feeling types (MBTI) tend to be cooperative, warm, and considerate. Those who are low in Agreeableness or are Thinking types in MBTI, tend to be more analytical and might come off as detached or critical.|
|Judging (J) vs. Perceiving (P)||Conscientiousness – This dimension in MBTI overlaps with Conscientiousness in the Big Five. Those who are Judging types in MBTI typically like structure and order, traits similar to those with high conscientiousness in the Big Five. On the other hand, Perceiving types, who prefer flexibility and spontaneity, might score lower on the conscientiousness trait in the Big Five model.|
After assessing each of the four cognitive functions, the individual’s result will fall into one of the 16 MBTI Types.
- ISTJ: The Inspector – Practical, fact-minded individuals.
- ISFJ: The Defender – Very dedicated and warm protectors, always ready to defend their loved ones.
- INFJ: The Advocate – Quiet and mystical, yet very inspiring and tireless idealists.
- INTJ: The Architect – Imaginative and strategic thinkers with a plan for everything.
- ISTP: The Virtuoso – Bold and practical experimenters, masters of all kinds of tools.
- ISFP: The Adventurer – Flexible and charming artists, always ready to explore and experience something new.
- INFP: The Mediator – Poetic, kind, and altruistic people, always eager to help a good cause.
- INTP: The Logician – Innovative inventors with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge.
- ESTP: The Entrepreneur – Smart, energetic, and very perceptive people who truly enjoy living on the edge.
- ESFP: The Entertainer – Spontaneous, energetic, and enthusiastic people – life is never boring around them.
- ENFP: The Campaigner – Enthusiastic, creative, and sociable free spirits who can always find a reason to smile.
- ENTP: The Debater – Smart and curious thinkers who cannot resist an intellectual challenge.
- ESTJ: The Executive – Excellent administrators, unsurpassed at managing things – or people.
- ESFJ: The Consul – Extraordinarily caring, social, and popular people, always eager to help.
- ENFJ: The Protagonist – Charismatic and inspiring leaders, able to mesmerize their listeners.
- ENTJ: The Commander – Bold, imaginative, and strong-willed leaders, always finding a way – or making one.
What are the 9 Enneagram Types?
The Enneagram personality model includes nine interconnected personality types, each with its own set of traits and tendencies. These types range from the reformer to the peacemaker, and they provide a rich map for personal development.
Each Enneagram type has a distinct way of seeing the world and an underlying motivation that powerfully influences how that type thinks, feels, and behaves.
- Type 1: The Perfectionist/Reformer – Rational, idealistic, principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.
- Type 2: The Helper/Giver – Caring, generous, people-pleasing, possessive, and interpersonal.
- Type 3: The Achiever/Performer – Success-oriented, adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.
- Type 4: The Individualist/Romantic – Sensitive, withdrawn, expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.
- Type 5: The Investigator/Observer – Intense, cerebral, perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.
- Type 6: The Loyalist/Skeptic – Committed, security-oriented, engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.
- Type 7: The Enthusiast/Epicure – Busy, fun-loving, spontaneous, versatile, distractible, and scattered.
- Type 8: The Challenger/Boss – Powerful, dominating, self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.
- Type 9: The Peacemaker/Mediator – Easygoing, self-effacing, receptive, reassuring, agreeable, and complacent.
People often develop their dominant type in childhood or adolescence as a way to cope with life’s challenges.
Over time, individuals can learn more about their type and how it shapes their relationships, career choices, stress responses, and communication styles.
What are the 4 DISC Types?
The DISC model is a behavioral assessment tool based on the work of psychologist William Moulton Marston. DISC stands for four different behavioral traits: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness.
- Dominance (D): This trait is about how an individual handles problems and challenges. People who score high in Dominance tend to be direct, results-oriented, strong-willed, and forceful.
- Influence (I): This trait describes how a person influences others to their point of view. Individuals with high Influence are usually optimistic, outgoing, enthusiastic, and like to be the center of attention.
- Steadiness (S): This trait talks about the pace at which a person performs tasks and their patience. Those with high Steadiness are calm, helpful, patient, and humble.
- Conscientiousness (C): This trait covers how a person handles details, rules, and procedures. People who are high in Conscientiousness tend to be private, analytical, and systematic.
The DISC model is widely used in various settings, such as personal growth, leadership development, and team building.
However, it’s important to clarify that it doesn’t measure personality in the deep, intrinsic sense that other models like the Big Five or MBTI might. Instead, DISC focuses on observable behavior in various situations.
DISC is less a measure of “who you are” on a core, fundamental level, and more a tool for understanding “how you act” and “how you might be perceived by others” in various contexts. It can provide valuable insights for improving interpersonal communication, teamwork, leadership, and personal effectiveness.
What are types in the Four Types Model?
One of the simplest and most used models is the Four Types Model. This model simplifies personality into four primary groups: Type A, B, C, and D.
- Type A individuals are competitive and goal-oriented, playing their life’s melody at a fast tempo.
- Type B is relaxed and easygoing. Their personality tune flows with a peaceful rhythm.
- Type C individuals are detail-oriented and perfectionistic, characterized by precise and complex notes.
- Type D individuals are often anxious and reserved; their personality tune may contain melancholic melodies.
What are the types in the Four Temperaments Model?
The physician Hippocrates developed the Four Temperaments model, a predecessor to modern personality theories, in ancient Greece. He theorized that an individual’s temperament was determined by the balance of four bodily fluids or “humors”: blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. These were believed to correspond to four basic temperaments: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic.
- Sanguine (blood): Sanguine individuals are characterized as optimistic, enthusiastic, sociable, and energetic. They enjoy social gatherings, making new friends, and tend to be quite talkative. However, they can also be impulsive and distractible.
- Choleric (yellow bile): Choleric individuals are characterized as ambitious, driven, and goal-oriented. They enjoy leadership roles and can make quick decisions. However, they can also be easily angered and lack empathy.
- Melancholic (black bile): Melancholic individuals are characterized as thoughtful, reflective, and profound. They are detail-oriented, deep thinkers, and appreciate structure and order. However, they may struggle with social interaction and can be prone to worry and pessimism.
- Phlegmatic (phlegm): Phlegmatic individuals are characterized as calm, steady, and relaxed. They enjoy routine and are consistent in their habits. They are patient and thoughtful but may resist change and need more initiative.
Though largely superseded by more modern, evidence-based theories, the Four Temperaments model has influenced the development of psychology and personality theory throughout history. It continues to provide a framework for understanding the basic patterns of human behavior and personality.