Personality type

Personality type

The concept of personality type refers to the psychological classification of different types of people. Personality types can be distinguished from personality traits, which come in different levels or degrees. According to type theories, for example, there are two fundamental types of people, introverts and extraverts. According to trait theories, introversion and extraversion are part of a continuous dimension, with many people in the middle. The idea of psychological types originated in the theoretical work of Carl Jung.


One well known example of personality types is Type A theory. According to this theory, impatient, hostile people are classified as Type A, whereas calm, laid back individuals are designated as Type B. The theory originally suggested that Type A individuals were more at risk for heart attacks, but this claim has not been supported by empirical research. [cite web | url= | title=Bates, K. L. (2006). Type A personality not linked to heart disease| accessdate=2006-11-05]

Developmental psychologist, Jerome Kagan is a prominent, contemporary advocate of type theory. He suggests that shy, withdrawn children are best viewed as having an inhibited temperament, which is qualitatively different from other children. [Kagan, J. (1994). "Galen's Prophecy: Temperament in Human Nature". New York: Basic Books.]

As a matter of convenience, trait theorists sometimes use the term "type" to describe someone who scores exceptionally high or low on a particular personality trait. Hans Eysenck refers to superordinate personality factors as "types", and more specific associated traits as "traits".

Several pop psychology theories (e.g. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, the enneagram) rely on the idea of distinctively different types of people.


The term "type" has not been used consistently in psychology and has become the source of some confusion. Furthermore, because personality test scores usually fall on a bell curve rather than in distinct categories, [ Bess, T.L. & Harvey, R.J. (2001). [ "Bimodal score distributions and the MBTI: Fact or artifact?"] Paper presented at the 2001 Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, San Diego, USA.] personality type theories have received considerable criticism among psychometric researchers. One study that directly compared a "type" instrument (the MBTI) to a "trait" instrument (the NEO PI) found that the trait measure showed a stronger relation with a number of personality disorders. [Furnham, A., & Crump, J. (2005). Personality Traits, Types, and Disorders: An Examination of the Relationship Between Three Self-Report Measures. "European Journal of Personality", "19", 167-184.]

Major theories

*DISC assessment
*Enneagram of Personality
*Four Temperaments
*Keirsey Temperament Theory
*Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
*Type A and Type B personality theory

ee also

*Big Five personality traits
*Personality psychology
*Trait theory


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