The 4 Different Personality Types (2023)

The development of personality type theory has a long history. Whether it is from the works of Sigmund Freud (in his works of the Psychoanalytic Theory of personality) to Carl Jung and beyond, understanding an individual’s personality has been a long held fascination by many in the field of psychology and social sciences.

With the advances of technology, but more importantly research with critical analysis and thinking, psychologists have defined four different types of personality. A, B, C and D.

In this guide we are going to take a look at these different types of personality, the theories behind each one, gain a better understanding of them and how Thomas International can help you use scientifically validated assessment tools to hirethe right candidates and manage your current workforce with these personality types.

Personality type theories

Over the years, you may have heard of several personality theories and tests. What they all share is that they are all trying to understand what motivates, controls and manages these individuals. In short, the better the idea we form of different personalities, the better we understand ourselves.

Whilst cited psychologists in the introduction have given us insight into the different personality types there is a long history that underpins the most recent classifications, especially when it comes to A, B, C, D personality.

The history of these personality types stems from two cardiologists, Friedman and Rosenman who discovered Type A behaviour by accident after they needed their waiting-room chairs to be reupholstered much sooner than anticipated.

The upholsterer noted that the chairs had worn down in an unusual way: "there's something different about your patients, I've never seen anyone wear out chairs like this."

Chairs in doctors' waiting lounges didn’t have the same wear and tear, especially on the edge of the seats andon the arm rests. Whilst the doctors initially dismissed the remark, it was just five years later that they began their formal research.

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Friedman and Rosenman (1976) labelled this behaviour Type A personality.

At its most basic level the research analysis showed that Type A personalities have much higher stress levels and run a higher risk of heart disease and high blood pressure than Type B personalities - who seemingly have the opposite attributes.

We are now going to take a look at the different personality types in more detail.

Understanding the four different personality types

It’s important to understand that everyone can be categorised based on the behaviour and personality traits they exhibit. There are lots of different personality tests that one can undertake but the one we are going to concentrate on is the personality type A, B, C and D.

In these personality types, anyone can be grouped into the four categories, however, they are not exclusively grouped into just one category or type. That is because everyone will exhibit more dominant personality traits from one of the types but have elements from another.

These personality types can be used to understand a job candidate’s personality amongother things. From identifying people who are more likely to be a better team player, to those with characteristics set to lead, hiring managers can use these personality tests to create a team which has a more balanced environment and even improve staff retention.

As discussed, the tests are indicators into personality type, and cannot put you firmly in one category or another. There will be more dominant traits in each category type but it is rare to find people who just fit the mould of one.

We will now take a closer look at the different personality types and highlight some of the more key attributes to each letter.

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Type A personality

The Type A personality is the “go getter” type. They have very high standards, are extremely competitive, love to set goals and they love to achieve as many as possible.

However, the type A personality will struggle not so much when things are going wrong, but when things are going right. Even if the outcome is positive or very good, they want to do it again because they think it can be done better.

The Type A personality can also be known as, Director.

Goal orientated, risk taker and good under stress the Type A personality will show themselves to be incredibly diligent and hardworking employees and leaders. Sometimes, too hard working with workaholic tendencies, staying as long as possible to make sure the job gets done to the exacting standards they hold. Better left working alone rather than in teams, being restricted will have significant adverse effects.

You will see many Type A personalities in senior leadership positions - or trying to get there - and even in entrepreneurship roles.

Type B personality

The Type B personality is the laid back one. These are people who are generally very grounded and peaceful in their demeanour.

Don’t however think that this is someone who is very placid. On the contrary, they love being around people and love being the centreof attention. Their driving need is to be liked by pretty much everyone. Being applauded or acknowledged is key to their personality.

The Type B personality can also be known as, Socialiser.

Relationship orientated, outgoing and enthusiastic, the Type B personality will be someone who loves to talk about themselves - not to show off - but to be liked. Being well turned out and knowledgeable about many things is a driving factor for them. Any form of public humiliation is, however, devastating as it is seen as an attack on the whole person, rather than just the isolated situation.

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At work, they would be the relationship builders, the ones who could cultivate better working environments with different personalities and are very good at turning ideas into workable solutions.

Type C personality

The Type C personality is the detailed one. They thrive in environments where their things are controlled and stable.

Being accurate, rational and applying logic to everything they do is where this personality really shows itself. Demanding logic over emotion is a natural dominant feature. Not suffering from hype or drama, in fact, they dislike it because they want facts and data.

The Type C personality can also be known as the Thinker.

Detail orientated, logical and prepared, this careful, resourceful and thinking personality is very good in a situation where everything needs to be analysed before any stands are taken. They like to control everything, even others which can be a negative aspect of this personality. Having all the facts at hand makes them a very difficult person to break down in opposing ideas or questioning as they interpret everything with the information they have and are given.

In a working environment, they are meticulous with the information and the data that they have to hand. You will commonly see Type C personalities in roles within science, medicine and law.

Type D personality

The Type D personality is the existentialist one. They are calm on the surface and enjoy things to remain the same as long as possible.

Hard working in nature, they are people pleasers like Type B but want to know that they are needed for their work rather than being validated over just who they are. They require a sense of security and believe that taking risks or change is actually quite dangerous and imposing on life balance.

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The Type D personality can also be known as the Supporter.

Task orientated, stabilising and cautious, this very organised personality is someone who is seen as a supporter within a business. A supporter in the sense of helping others, showing compassion, thoughtfulness and caring. They need to feel part of a team, but in that team they can act as a paternal figure, helping others to achieve and never giving up on the task or the business.

In a working environment they are very good at delivering repetitive tasks - in fact, they enjoy that lack of variety because change can cause distress. They are also very good with attention to detail, making them a desirable candidate who requires stability in their role.

How to test for the 4 personality types

A workplace personality test is a simple assessment that uses widely accepted psychological theories to help gain a comprehensive insight into a person's suitability to a role. This will look at things such as openness to change, how they deal with stress, how ambitious they might be etc.

By providing the employer with a high level of detailed insight on their employees, they will be able to identify who falls into each of the personality types. There are similarities and shared traits across the four personality types, only with the additional insight from a personality test will it become clear which users fall into each type.

Thomas provides a comprehensive personality test for measuring individual traits and how they relate to the workplace.

How Thomas assessments measure workplace personality

Thomas’workplace personality testcan be used to help assess and understand a candidates or employee's personality type and wider personality.

Based on the globally recognised and respected 'Big 5'psychological theory, the High Potential Trait Indicator (or HPTI) as we also call it, assessessix core traits (Conscientiousness, Adjustment, Curiosity, Risk Approach, Ambiguity Acceptance and Competitiveness)to helpyou identify the best candidate for a role andidentify leadership potential, adding confidence to your recruitment.

Whether you are Type A or Type C, it is possible to understand that we all have different ways of interacting with our environment and the people that we work with. We are all a mixture of different personality types but with more dominant features from one over the other. Having a grasp of the more dominant features leads to a better understanding of the kind of people we work with and the kind of people we are.

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If you would like to learn more about our assessments, pleasespeak to one of our team.

FAQs

What are the 4 personality traits? ›

The four temperament theory is a proto-psychological theory which suggests that there are four fundamental personality types: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic.

What are the 4 types of personality style? ›

Simple to understand and identify fast. The four personality types are: Driver, Expressive, Amiable, and Analytical.

What are the four personality types ABCD? ›

Over the centuries, these basic categories have gone by several names and designations, but for our purposes, they're known as the director, the socializer, the thinker, and the supporter. As shorthand, though, we refer to those types of personality as A, B, C, and D, respectively.

What is the 4 rarest personality type? ›

The INTJ – Fourth Rarest MBTI Type

These individuals are driven to understand the deeper meaning behind what happens in life.

What are the 5 main personality types? ›

The five broad personality traits described by the theory are extraversion (also often spelled extroversion), agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.

What are the main personality types? ›

Common Questions About The Five Major Personality Types

The five major personality types are conceived to be Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.

What do the 4 personality letters mean? ›

It indicates your personality preferences in four dimensions: Where you focus your attention – Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I) The way you take in information – Sensing (S) or INtuition (N) How you make decisions – Thinking (T) or Feeling (F) How you deal with the world – Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

What is C type personality? ›

What is a C Type Personality? C Type Personality Styles, based on DISC Theory by Dr. Marston, are accurate, precise, detail-oriented, and conscientious. They think analytically and systematically, and carefully make decisions with plenty of research and information to back it up.

Which is a Type B personality? ›

Type B personalities can be generally summarised as; easy going, relaxed and highly-flexible. Generally taking a much more carefree approach and wider philosophical view of themselves, work/life balance and other traits which make them less stressed and more widely appreciated when compared to Type A personalities.

What defines a Type B personality? ›

People with a Type B personality are often described as easygoing, relaxed, and highly flexible. The type B personality is basically the opposite of the type A. People with a type A personality are meticulous, whereas type B people tend to take a much more casual, carefree approach.

What is the best personality type? ›

ESFJ. Those who are extroverted, sensing, feeling, and judging are often identified as one of the kindest types by experts. "ESFJs have extroverted feeling as a dominant cognitive function," Gonzalez-Berrios says. "This makes them rule by their hearts.

What is the rarest female personality type? ›

“INTJ is the rarest personality type for women.” In fact, at about 0.5 percent of the population, INTJ women might be the rarest of any gender/type combination (perhaps only rivaled by INFJ men).

What is the richest personality type? ›

Out of the 16 personality types, those with the ENTJ (someone who aligns with Extraversion, Intuition, Thinking, Judging) personality type on average earn the most money.

What are the 16 personalities called? ›

Socionics divides people into 16 different types, called sociotypes which are; ESTJ, ENTJ, ESFJ, ENFJ, ISTJ, ISFJ, INTJ, INFJ, ESTP, ESFP, ENTP, ENFP, ISTP, ISFP, INTP & INFP. A formal conversion is carried out following the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator.

How do I know my personality traits? ›

Get feedback. Ask your close friends and family how they see your personality. Compare what they say to how you feel about your personality. If they match, then it is likely that you display these traits consistently.

What is an A type personality female? ›

Type A women tend to show greater autonomic arousal to laboratory stressors as well as greater time urgency and speed, more goal directedness, a preference to work alone under stress conditions, and more competitiveness/aggressiveness than Type B women.

How many personality types are there? ›

The 16 personality types were created by Isabel Myers and Katharine Briggs, developers of the MBTI® assessment. Myers and Briggs created their personality typology to help people discover their own strengths and gain a better understanding of how people are different.

What are the 16 most common personalities? ›

The most common personality type is the ISFJ personality type, known as 'The Protector'. This type occurs in 14% of the population. It is also the most common personality type among women. ISFJ stands for Introversion, Sensing, Feeling and Judging.

What is a Type E personality? ›

Extraversion – E stands for Extraversion, and people who have this personality preference are energized by the outer world of people and things. They generally share their ideas verbally and “recharge” by being around other people.

What is Type F personality? ›

Feeling personality type

Feeling (F) is another trait found in the MBTI assessment. People with the feeling trait, or feelers, are typically aware of not only their own emotions but the emotions of others around them, too.

What is a high D personality? ›

Overview of the Dominant (D) Personality Style

People who are high in “D” are extroverted and outgoing and task-oriented. They tend to be direct, decisive, driven and demanding. They typically have high confidence, are self-motivated, and are comfortable taking risks. They like to focus on the big picture, not details.

Is there a type H personality? ›

Description. People who have high levels of H are sincere and modest; people who have low levels are deceitful and pretentious. The “H” in the H factor stands for “Honesty-Humility,” one of the six basic dimensions of the human personality.

Which of the following is the Type A personality? ›

The hypothesis describes Type A individuals as outgoing, ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status-conscious, impatient, anxious, proactive, and concerned with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving "workaholics".

What is the opposite of a Type A personality? ›

A type B personality is the opposite in many ways of a type A personality. People with a type B personality tend to be easygoing and more laid-back in nature. People with a type B personality may work steadily toward a goal without the sense of urgency a type A personality may display.

How do I know if I'm Type A or Type B? ›

Type A tends to be short-tempered, while Type B is even-tempered. Type A is proactive, and Type B is more reflective. Type A competes to win, and B enjoys competition for the sake of having fun. Type A enjoys multitasking and juggling multiple projects, and B prefers to work on one thing at a time so they can focus.

What is Type a2 personality? ›

Traits are thought to be stable, enduring and consistent in all situations. Personality and its importance in effective performance and to following a balanced, active and healthy lifestyle.

Where does Type A personality come from? ›

Because while many people now use the term Type A as a badge of honor, the two men were cardiologists, and they invented the term Type A to describe stressed patients who were at a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. So why did this medical term become a cultural mainstay?

Who are the kindest personality type? ›

1. ESFJ. People who fit the ESFJ personality type can usually be recognized by their big hearts and kindly manner. ESFJs are warm and welcoming and their love of tradition means they value good old-fashioned manners highly.

What is the least popular personality type? ›

Overall, the rarest personality type is INFJ

INFJ is the rarest personality type across the population, occurring in just 2% of the population. It is also the rarest personality type among men. INFJ stands for Introversion, Intuition, Feeling, and Judging.

What is the hardest personality type to live in? ›

The INFP may be the toughest personality type of all for others to understand. They are seemingly easy-going and carefree, but when it comes to their values, they can become suddenly uncompromising. They're friendly to a fault, but they frequently find others hard to be around.

What are the top 3 rarest personality types? ›

The INFJ is the rarest personality type as it typically makes up around 2% of the population. Other rare types include INTJ 'the mastermind personality', the ENTJ 'the commander', the ENFJ 'the protagonist' and the ENTP 'the debater'.

What are the 2 least common personality types? ›

ENTJ (0.9%) and INTJ (0.8%) are the least common MBTI personality types for women. Among men in the US, INFJ (1.3%) and ENFJ (1.6%) are the least common MBTI personality types.

What was the rarest personality? ›

If you happened to fall into the INFJ personality type, you're a rare breed; only 1.5 percent of the general population fits into that category, making it the rarest personality type in the world.

What personality type is Elon Musk? ›

As an INTJ, Elon tends to be confident, analytical, and ambitious.

What personality should a girl have? ›

Self respecting

She respects herself and knows her worth, she will not allow others to treat her badly. She is honest if someone is not respecting her or people close to her. She knows that boundaries are necessary for healthy relationships and aspires to set them in her life.

How do I describe my personality? ›

A suitable answer to a personality question should include strong words hiring managers want to hear. Some of these words include savvy, risk-taker, observant, energetic, creative, and organized. Others include courageous, honest, driven, result-oriented, positive, orderly, methodical, and adventurous, among others.

What are the big 5 genetic personality traits? ›

The Big Five personality traits model is one of the most established and recognized approaches to describe and measure individual differences in personality,1 and includes openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

What are the 3 types of personality disorders? ›

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) Borderline personality disorder (BPD) Histrionic personality disorder.

What are the two major forms of love? ›

D., research has defined two major types of interpersonal love: passionate love (which is what we think of as romantic love, involving attraction and sexual desire) and attachment (also known as compassionate love, which can be between caregivers and children, between long-term romantic partners, and other deeply ...

What is your best quality as a person? ›

Foundational Human Qualities. Qualities that form the foundation of all other human qualities include honesty, integrity, courage, self-awareness, and wholeheartedness. These qualities define who we are as human beings.

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