|Psychology of Personality

It’s been a long time since I sat in Psych of Personality, an elective course I took as an undergrad. Reflecting on the material we covered back in the 90s (especially the “Big Five”), here are a number of models for understanding personality:

1. Four Temperaments

Wikipedia: “Four temperaments is a proto-psychological theory that suggests that there are four fundamental personality types, sanguine (pleasure-seeking and sociable), choleric (ambitious and leader-like), melancholic (analytical and quiet), and phlegmatic (relaxed and peaceful). Most formulations include the possibility of mixtures of the types.” You can learn more about the four temperaments here.

A free online personality test covering the four temperaments can be taken at Personality Tests.


Wikipedia: “DISC is a behavior assessment tool based on the DISC theory of psychologist William Moulton Marston, which centers on four different personality traits: Dominance, inducement, submission, and compliance. This theory was then developed into a personality assessment tool by industrial psychologist Walter Vernon Clarke.” Learn more about the model here.

A free online personality test for this model can be completed at disc Personality Testing. And you can purchase materials here.

3. The Big Five

Wikipedia: “In psychology, the Big Five personality traits are five broad domains or dimensions of personality that are used to describe human personality. The theory based on the Big Five factors is called the five-factor model (FFM). The five factors are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.” Learn more about the five factors here.

A free online personality test based on the Big Five can be found at The Big Five Personality Test.

4. Enneagram

Wikipedia: “The Enneagram of Personality (or simply the Enneagram…) is a model of human personality which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types…. As there are different schools of thought among Enneagram theorists about some aspects of how it is understood, its interpretation is not always unified or consistent. The Enneagram of Personality is not a typology that is commonly taught or researched in academic psychology. It has been widely promoted in both business management and spiritual contexts…” To learn more about the nine types visit Wikipedia or the Enneagram Institute.

A free online short test analyzing the nine types can be taken at the Enneagram Institute. Longer tests are also available, but these are not free.

Friends who studied with Richard Rohr at The Center for Action and Contemplation recommended these two books to me:

5. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Wikipedia: “The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) assessment is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. These preferences were extrapolated by Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers from the typological theories proposed by Carl Gustav Jung…. Jung theorized that there are four principal psychological functions by which we experience the world: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. One of these four functions is dominant most of the time.” Learn more about the types here.

A free online test for this model can be taken at 16 Personalities.

6. The Love Languages

Wikipedia: “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate is a 1995 book by Gary Chapman. It outlines five ways to express and experience love that Chapman calls “love languages”: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. Chapman’s book claims that the list of five love languages is exhaustive.” Learn more about the five languages here.

A free online test is available on the front page of Chapman’s website. Chapman also has a book for parents about children’s love languages.

7. Blood Type

Wikipedia: “There is a common, popular belief in Japan and other East Asian countries that a person’s ABO blood type or ketsueki-gata (血液型?) is predictive of his or her personality, temperament, and compatibility with others. This is similar to how astrological signs are perceived as influencing factors in a person’s life within other countries throughout the world. However, blood type plays a much more prominent role in Japanese and other East Asian countries than astrology does in other countries.” Learn more about the blood types and personality here.

For a fun introduction (kind of), watch the Korean film My Boyfriend is Blood Type B.

8. Are you a highly sensitive person (HSP)? Learn more here.

9. Learning Styles

Wikipedia: “Learning styles encompass a series of theories suggesting systematic differences in individuals’ natural or habitual pattern of acquiring and processing information in learning situations. A core concept is that individuals differ in how they learn. Proponents of the use of learning styles in education recommend that teachers assess the learning styles of their students and adapt their classroom methods to best fit each student’s learning style. Although there is ample evidence that individuals express preferences for how they prefer to receive information, few studies have found any validity in using learning styles in education.” To learn more about different models of learning styles, click here.

Here is a free quiz addressing three learning styles, and this one addresses seven styles.

NOTE: At least one organization differentiates between the three learning styles and the seven multiple intelligences. See next model.

10. Multiple Intelligences

Wikipedia: “The theory of multiple intelligences is a theory of intelligence that differentiates it into specific (primarily sensory) “modalities”, rather than seeing intelligence as dominated by a single general ability. This model was proposed by Howard Gardner in his 1983 book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Gardner articulated seven criteria for a behavior to be considered an intelligence. These were that the intelligences showed: potential for brain isolation by brain damage, place in evolutionary history, presence of core operations, susceptibility to encoding (symbolic expression), a distinct developmental progression, the existence of savants, prodigies and other exceptional people, and support from experimental psychology and psychometric findings. Gardner chose eight abilities that he held to meet these criteria: musical–rhythmic, visual–spatial, verbal–linguistic, logical–mathematical, bodily–kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalistic. He later suggested that existential and moral intelligence may also be worthy of inclusion.” Learn more about multiple intelligences here, here, and here.

You can take a free online assessment here.


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