Believe it or not, the great psychologists Freud and Jung believed that personality was dictated by which star sign you were born under, and of course they were wrong. Mind you, there are probably some tree-hugging mystic types out there who still think that is the case.
Most psychologists now believe that the seemingly complex range of human personality is an illusion, and that the personality can be reduced down to just FIVE basic types. This is the new thinking, and even if only for simplicity’s sake, it makes good sense.
It is even possible to reduce down these personality types even further by using characters from the children’s classic stories of Winnie the Pooh as illustrations! Pooh himself seems to have an eating disorder (his obsession with honey) because of his low self esteem. Piglet suffers from acute anxiety and is nervous about everything and anything, whilst Tigger has all the symptoms of ADHD, bouncing around with excessive boisterousness and displaying short attention span. Owl is narcissistic (Owl is convinced he is by far the cleverest in the wood) and poor old Eeyore (he of the gloomy place) displays all the symptoms of manic depression.
First, the old model of personality types: over-complex and now redundant, but still worth a look so we get the general idea:
But after years of observation, measurement, research and serious study, it seems that the human personality seems to be limited to just five dimensions, which give us a NEW MODEL from which to work:
OPENNESS is simply the degree to which a person is open to new experiences. These are curious and broad-minded souls, although they sometimes get bored easily Nonetheless, they are good at tolerating ambiguity and seeing situations from different perspectives. They are also good at finding solutions to problems. They are usually wise and have a good sense of humour; they are often unconventional but tend to make good hypnotic subjects because they are also imaginative and creative. Conversely, low scorers on openness tend to be conventional, set in their ways, are more likely to find practical solutions to problems, and are much more comfortable with familiarity.
CONSCIENTIOUSNESS points to those who are organised, conscientious and methodical. They are happier with more structured and predictable lives. They are more likely to be persistent, reliable and hard working. They display perseverance, opt for step-by-step solutions and generally do well in the work environment. They are more likely to be able to forego short-term rewards in favour of long-term gains. They are normally punctual and most irritatingly, have balanced diets. They are not people who engage in high-risk pursuits, nor do they take risks. Everything they do is carefully worked out and thought through. Low scorers tend to be less reliable, but more easy-going. Low scorers are also harder to get motivated, but find it easier to adapt to changing circumstances,
EXTRAVERSION displays the need for stimulation from others and from the environment. Typically, they are impulsive, optimistic, great in the company of other people and first to dance on the table at a party. They are more likely to become leaders, rather than followers, but they can sometimes let themselves (and others) down by having more sexual partners than is the norm and they are more likely to cheat! Low scorers on extraversion tend to be more reserved, limit themselves to a small group of friends, prefer a quiet night in to a night on the town, and are not easily distracted. They also prefer a more intelligent type of humour – more Have I Got News For You? than Carry On Up The Khyber.
AGREEABLENESS is measured by the degree to which individuals care about others. They are trusting, and are themselves trustworthy. They are friendly, cooperative, altruistic, kind, affectionate, likeable, all round nice people. They are less likely to cheat, are happier in monogamous relationships, and less likely to divorce. Low scorers are more aggressive and competitive. They can even be hostile and tend to be stuck seeing things only from their own point of view. They value being right more than anything and have little or no interest in other people’s feelings. They can also be tough minded and are not so easily taken advantage of.
NEUROTICISM indicates the degree to which individual is emotionally stable or able to cope with stressful situations. Neurotic types are more prone to worry or anxiety. Sometimes they exhibit an unfortunate tendency to blame others for their own misfortunes. Universally, they need to be loved, they can sometimes be over-possessive, and are dependent on others to a greater degree than would be regarded as normal. Low scorers tend to be more calm, relaxed, emotionally secure, and emotionally resilient. They are not so bothered when things don’t quite go their way. They also have more of a natural ability to cope with anxiety. To the list above, I’m going to be cheeky and add another category:
MORNING PEOPLE / EVENING PEOPLE
This indicator of personality does exactly what it says on the can. MORNING TYPES are good with facts and figures but not so adept when it comes to abstract thinking. They will rely on logic rather than intuition. They will be introverted and self-controlled as well as eager to make a good impression on others. EVENING TYPES on the other hand have a more creative outlook on life and are usually more prepared to take risks. They are certainly more independent, less likely to conform and more impulsive. Go through the list of personality types above again and see how many people you know that fit into these categories. Then see which ones apply to you. Spotting personality traits will give you more of an insight into your client’s psychological makeup and make you a better therapist.
In a survey of over 1,000 people on 400 typical behaviours, researchers at the University of Rochester, US, carried out a study aimed to identify the typical behaviours of each of the main personality types.
Participants in the study were asked if they performed each of the 400 behaviours, and how often. The results were then compared with their personalities. The results have been published in the journal Personality And Individual Differences.
The study has revealed that each personality had its own unique behaviours and here are some of their findings:
Extroverts are much more likely to tell dirty jokes, are more likely to drive cars faster than 75mph, gamble and go to the pub.
Those with agreeable personalities are more likely to sing in the shower. They also have behaviours that benefit others.
People with higher intellects are more likely to swear, eat spicy breakfasts and walk around the house naked.
Conscientious people are more focused on avoiding irresponsible behaviours.
So there you have it…
For more information and detail about Personality, read the book All in the Mind – Hypnosis, Suggestion and the New Mesmerists. Available from this website.
Copyright Andrew Newton 2016. All rights reserved.