At first, the algorithm returned downright unbelievable results, including up to 20 different personality clusters.
"Reserved" personalities are not particularly open, or extraverted, and neither are they neurotic.
Role models aren't very neurotic, but score high in every other trait. 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. Researchers note that such people are not always approachable or genuinely liked.
The most common type - "average" - were found to be high in neuroticism but also in extrovert behaviour; while "reserved" people were "emotionally stable" without being open or neurotic. Folks within the realistic cluster are described as extroverted and excessive in neuroticism. All of these tests were taken in the United States and Great Britain, and all focused on the Big Five personality traits. A disproportionate number of young people, for example, fit into the self-centered category, while more older people and women fall into the role model group. Likelihood of being a role model increases dramatically with age. "Many people...believed for a long time that [we] don't have enough empirical evidence [to show] that something like this really exists", says Martin Gerlach, a postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University and first author on the paper. There's controversy among them over whether clear-cut personality types exist at all. "This is by far the most valid estimate we have of how people cluster into types", says Richard Robins, a personality researcher at the University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the study.
"Having this much data, in total more than 1.5 million people from these newly available data sets, we could actually show that in fact there is robust evidence for at least four personality types". 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.
From those robust datasets, the team plotted the five widely accepted basic personality traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness and conscientiousness. "I think the practical application, what I would say for the general public, is that it just heightens awareness about what type of a person you might be", Flett said.
Personality tests are beloved by high school guidance counselors and self-help book authors - but less so by many scientists. "Now, these knowledge justify there are better densities of sure personality kinds."Even supposing Revelle is a co-creator on the peek, he modified into skeptical on the birth".
"There is very little to say about average", says Prof Amaral. Dramatic decrease in self-centred types as people age.
"Previously, maybe researchers would recruit undergraduates on campus, and maybe get a few hundred people". "I believed there were no types at all", but the data "kept coming up with the same four clusters.at higher densities than you'd expect by chance", Revelle says in a release. The researchers describe them as "good people to be in charge of things".
People most likely can be seen to shift between clusters, as well. In other words, the personality types really fall along a continuum, he said.
He and his team also want to find out whether the personality types have any impact on people's success in life.
"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.