Glossary

Below, you’ll find an extensive (and ever-growing) list of personality psychology and typology terms.

Suggestions are always welcome.

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16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16 PFQ): 185 multiple-choice self-reporting test developed by Raymond Cattell et al. for use primarily in psychotherapy, and sometimes in career planning.

A

Abnormal Psychology: Study of psychological conditions of varying degrees of deviation from the norm.

Agreeableness (A): Extent to which an individual exhibits traits of modesty, altruism, trust, and compliance.

Anthropology: Study of culture and development of humans over time, through social, environmental, or physical effects and correlations.

Applied Psychology: Branch of psychology that focuses upon using learned concepts to actively effect change (e.g. social work, psychotherapy, social engineering) in the environment and other individuals.

Archetypes: An idealistic and psychoanalytical representation or image of a persona embedded in the collective unconscious, as proposed by Jung.

B

Behavioral Science: Study of human behavior through various experimental and observational methods.

Behavioral Epigenetics: Study of how the environment (e.g. diet, toxin exposure) directly impacts the expression of particular genes—whether or not they’re switched ‘on’ or stay ‘off’—and behaviors which are pronounced as a result.

Behavioral Data (B-Data): Observation-based data obtained from experimental or natural settings.

Big Five Traits (Five Factor Model, FFM, OCEAN): Personality psychology’s most scientifically-accepted model, stands for Openness (O), Conscientiousness (C), Extraversion (E), Agreeableness (A), and Neuroticism (N).

B-Values (Metamotives, Growth Motivation): Maslow’s interpretation of the positive driving forces behind human nature; Aliveness, Beauty, Completion, Effortlessness, Goodness, Justice, Perfection, Playfulness, Richness, Self-Sufficiency, Simplicity, Truth, Uniqueness, Wholeness.

C

CliftonStrengths: 34 colloquial ‘strengths’ originally proposed by Gallup to create functional and effective teams in organizations.

Clubs (in Socionics): Four groups that account for the differences in the Intuition–Sensing and Logic–Ethics Reinin dichotomies: Socials (SF), Pragmatists (ST), Researchers (NT), and Humanitarians (NF).

Conscientiousness (C): Extent to which an individual exhibits traits of orderliness, ambition, self-discipline, and deliberation.

Construct: Hypothetical concept used to better elucidate or clarify how a concept (in any discipline) is presented.

Creativity: Ability to merge and bring forth new ideas or rework old ones under a new light.

Cultural Validity: Validity of results which could be applied on a globular (rather than local) scale.

Culture: Traditions, customs, and accepted norms of a particular social group in terms of geography, ethnicity, nationality, or a combination of the three.

D

Dark Triad: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and Psychopathy. Psychology’s malevolent trio which may snowball into various personality disorders.

DISC: A communication-based model of personality in the workplace, stands for Dominant (D), Influencing (I), Steady (S), and Conscientious (C).

Disintegration (in the Enneagram): Moving in the direction of stress; toward unhealthy levels of an Enneatype.

E

Ego: Reality-dealing part of personality; social ‘mask’ worn to protect one’s personal interests while simultaneously attaining acceptance in dealing with the world.

Emotional Intelligence (EI): Ability to intuit and correctly identify the emotions of others and create interpersonal harmony in various situations.

Enneagram: A nine-pointed, interconnected model of personality types largely influenced by George Gurdjieff, Oscar Ichazo, and his student Claudio Naranjo. Emphasizes directions of integration (growth) and disintegration (stress), with each Enneatype sporting different behaviors under healthy, normal, and unhealthy levels. Here’s a guide for more information.

Enneatype (in the Enneagram): Technical term for each of the core nine Enneagram types.

Extraversion (E): Tendency to seek out stimulation through interpersonal interaction and physical activity to regulate energy levels. (Note: Originally spelled with an ‘a’ instead of an ‘o’.)

F

Four Humors: Melancholic, Choleric, Phlegmatic, and Sanguine. Dispositional attitudes developed by ancient Greeks and Romans to explain the differences in behavior as a result of imbalances in bodily fluids (i.e. black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood).

H

HEXACO: Six-factor personality model by Michael Ashton and Kibeom Lee, stands for Honesty-Humility (H), Emotionality (E), Extraversion (X), Agreeableness (A), Conscientiousness (C), and Openness (O).

Highly Sensitive Person (HSP): Individual who is easily overstimulated by sensory stimulus (e.g. loud noises and smells) and requires large amounts of solitude to recoup.

High Sensation Seeker (HSS): Individual who thrives on adrenaline-inducing activities to regulate dopamine levels in their brain.

Holland Codes (RIASEC): A careers-based interests inventory, standing for six unique codes: Realistic (R), Investigative (I), Artistic (A), Social (S), Enterprising (E), and Conventional (C).

Humanist Theory: A lens in psychology, often referred to as the “third force” behind psychoanalysis and behaviorism. Stresses the importance of free will and personal responsibility (and shares many—though not all—ideas with existentialism).

I

Id: Pleasure-seeking and instinctive component of the three-part Freudian psychodynamic model. It is highly emotional and quick-acting.

Informants’ Data (I-Data): Comments about an individual from their significant others and primary group(s) (e.g. family members, close friends).

Idiographic: Applicable to highly individualized settings (e.g. the individuals themselves).

Instinctual Variants (in the Enneagram): A triple-stack extension of one’s Enneatype, namely: Self-Preserving (SP), Sexual (SX), and Social (SO). The third variant is known as the blind spot.

Integration (in the Enneagram): Moving in the direction of growth; toward healthy levels of an Enneatype.

Introversion: Tendency to ‘recharge’ by time alone; having a preference to conserve energy instead of expending it.

J

Jungian Functions: Original four Introverted (-i) / Extraverted (-e) cognitive function pairs proposed by Jung: Thinking (Ti/Te), Feeling (Fi/Fe), Intuition (Ni/Ne), and Sensing (Si/Se).

K

Keirsey Temperament Sorter: Self-assessment questionnaire which breaks down personality types into four temperaments: Artisans (ST), Guardians (SF), Idealists (NF), and Rationals (NT).

L

Life Data (L-Data): Specific outcomes based on real life records of an individual.

Lexical Hypothesis: Idea where the personality traits most relevant to a culture become engrained in their speech and communication.

Looking-Glass Self: Concept coined by sociologist Charles Cooley: “I am who I think you think I am.”

M

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI): Widely-used and recognized self-test questionnaire developed by Starke Hathaway and John McKinley with applications in psychopathology, forensics, and industrial-organizational psychology.

Model A (in Socionics): Organizational eight-boxed grid to which the eight Jungian functions are arranged for the sixteen Sociotypes. Four blocks (and eight functions): Ego (Leading, Creative), Super-Ego (Role, Vulnerable), Super-Id (Suggestive, Mobilizing), Id (Ignoring, Demonstrative).

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®): A well-known psychometrics instrument popularized by mother-daughter duo Katherine C. Briggs and Isabel B. Myers. It uses four scales: Introversion–Extraversion, Sensing–Intuition, Thinking–Feeling, Judging–Perceiving.

N

Neurolinguistics: Study of the intersection between neuroscience and linguistics; how the brain processes words and their sounds in different contexts.

Neuroscience: Study of the brain’s internal biological components and mechanisms through imaging technology and scans.

Neuroticism (N): Extent to which an individual exhibits traits of impulsiveness, anxiousness, self-consciousness, and vulnerability.

Nomothetic: Applicable to broad and wide ranges and groups of people, geographically and culturally.

O

Openness (O): Extent to which an individual exhibits traits of fantasy, emotional variety, values-orientation, and aesthetics-awareness.

P

Personality: Traits, behaviors, and preferences which are relatively consistent with an individual’s actions over time.

Personality Psychology: Branch of psychology concerned with the uniqueness of each individual and which traits stay put or change over the span of a lifetime.

Personality Testing: Methods used (most often self-reports) to gather information on an individual’s relatively consistent traits and behavior.

Philosophy: Study of human knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.

Positive Psychology: Branch of psychology concerned with positive emotions and thoughts to help create a better self-concept on a large scale through various methods and ideologies.

Psychology: Study of the internal and external workings of the mind and behavior.

Psychometrics: Quantitative study of psychology using statistics, aptitude tests, and related methods of measurement.

Q

Quadras (in Socionics): Four Socionics groups grouped according to valued functions: Alpha (Ti, Ne, Fe, Si), Beta (Ti, Se, Fe, Ni), Gamma (Fi, Se, Te, Ni), Delta (Fi, Ne, Te, Si).

R

Reinin Dichotomies (in Socionics): 11 scales that extend upon the Jungian functions used by the Socionics model, namely: Static–Dynamic, Positivist–Negativist, Asking–Declaring, Tactical–Strategic, Constructivist–Emotivist, Result–Process, Yielding–Obstinate, Carefree–Farsighted, Judicious–Decisive, Aristocracy–Democracy, Merry–Serious.

Reliability: How often results of a study can be repeated in very close (if not identical) succession with each other.

S

Self-Report Data (S-Data): Results individuals input themselves (often in the form of online surveys or tests).

Shyness: Tendency to shirk from social interaction, paired with an air of quietness. (Not to be confused with social anxiety, which is the irrational fear of socialization itself.)

Social Learning Theory (SLT): Social psychology concept popularized by Albert Bandura, which states that upbringing, observation, and mental states play a large role in shaping an individual’s behavior.

Social Psychology: Study of thought patterns, attitudes, and behaviors of individuals under the context of being influenced by other individuals.

Sociology: Study of group interactions and overarching processes that govern them.

Socionics: Extensive approach to the original eight Jungian functions, coined by Aušra Augustina. Focuses heavily on type dynamics and information metabolism.

Superego: Morals- and values-based internal negotiator that weighs and wagers one’s actions against an external framework for what’s considered ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.

T

Taxonomy: A hierarchy or order to classify a collection of closely related concepts.

Temperament (in Socionics): Four temperaments that result from the Extraversion–Introversion and Irrational–Rational dichotomies: EP (Flexible-Maneuvering), IP (Receptive-Adaptive), EJ (Linear-Assertive), IJ (Balanced-Stable).

Trait Theory: Personality categorization system where individuals are given strengths of specific traits on a scale. The Five-Factor Model (or Big 5) is the most well-recognized example of this.

Triads (in the Enneagram): Three primary ‘groups’ in which Enneatypes are placed together, namely: the Heart (2-3-4), Head (5-6-7), and Body (8-9-1) triads.

Tritype (in the Enneagram): Bundle package of three Enneatypes, one from each of the primary triads (Heart, Head, and Body—not necessarily in that order).

Type Theory: Personality categorization system where individuals can be placed into distinct ‘types’.

V

Validity: Extent to which a study or instrument correctly measures what it originally intended to (i.e. the dependent variable).

W

Wings (in the Enneagram): Adjacent Enneatype influences, denoted as [Core Enneatype]w[Wing] (e.g. ‘2w3’ reads as ‘Two Wing Three’).