New Study: 90% of Us Fall Into One of These 4 Main Personality Types When Solving Social Problems

Posted by on January 18, 2017 in Psychology-Psychiatry, Sci-Tech with 0 Comments

By Melissa Breyer | Treehugger

Study on human behavior finds 90% of the population falls into 4 categories; researchers say results are useful for negotiating or for when people need to help each other.

Most things work best when all of its parts are getting along – humanity included. But human behavior is complicated and the battle between power and altruism seems a chronic one, and one that also seems at odds with the longevity of our species, not to mention countless others. Which is why a new study on human behavior is so interesting. It reveals that 90 percent of us can be classified into four basic personality types: Optimistic, Pessimistic, Trusting and Envious.

This study was published in the journal Science Advances by researchers from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, along with collaborators from the universities of Barcelona, Rovira i Virgili and Zaragoza. The study looked at how 541 volunteers responded to hundreds of social dilemmas, “with options leading to collaboration or conflict with others, based on individual or collective interests.” The experiments relied on elements of game theory, which analyses the behavior of people when faced with a dilemma and need to make decisions. It kind of sounds like the reality show, Survivor. “Those involved are asked to participate in pairs, these pairs change, not only in each round, but also each time the game changes. So, the best option could be to cooperate or, on the other hand, to oppose or betray ….. In this way, we can obtain information about what people do in very different social situations,” explained study author Anxo Sánchez from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M).

Once the experiments were completed, the team developed a computer algorithm to classify people according to their behavior. Ninety percent of the people fell into the four distinct groups, even though the algorithm allowed for many more.

Envious: The largest group, accounting for 30 percent. These people don't actually mind what they achieve, as long as they're better than everyone else.
Optimists: Accounting for 20 percent, optimists believe that they and their partner will make the best choice for the team.
Pessimists: Twenty percent select the option which they see as the lesser of two evils.
Trusting: Another 20 percent are born collaborators who will always cooperate; they don't really mind if they win or lose.

The remaining 10 percent comprise a fifth, undefined group that the algorithm was unable to classify in relation to a clear type of behavior.


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