The Eysenck Personality Model was developed by German psychologist Hans Jürgen Eysenck. His contribution to the field of psychology and personality assessment was the hypothesis that someone’s personality could be determined and measured by certain biological factors, including cortical and hormone levels.
He refined his model over decades of research, eventually landing on three “dimensions” of assessment: extraversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism. Each dimension (or scale) grades a person based on their level of comfort in social situations, their emotional stability, and their behavioral tendencies. It was one of the first to deal with quantifiable results and gained much traction during the earliest years of its release. However, it was ultimately deemed too narrow for an accurate assessment.
We will explore the extreme ends of each of the three scales and the facets of each personality type.
The first scale determines a person’s extraversion or introversion. This refers primarily to a person’s response to external stimuli.
Someone with high levels of extraversion actually receives lower levels of stimulus from external causes. Their level of “cortical arousal” is typically reduced, so they seek stimulus from outside factors. This is most commonly expressed by their need to look at the world around them, and the people around them, for satisfaction and pleasure. This type of person is very outgoing, enjoys meeting new people, and can be rather impulsive. They are an “extroverted” personality.
1. You Participate in Many Social Activities
Extraverted people are always on the hunt for new environments and activities. They feed off of social energy, finding thrill and excitement in trying something new. They will be the first in line to try a new restaurant or to volunteer for a new assignment. They do not let their comfort level get in their way, instead remaining open to whatever the crowd wants to do.
2. You Are Talkative and Outgoing
Extraverted people invite as much conversation and discussion as possible. They thrive on talking with others, always anxious to meet someone new. They are the first person to greet you with a handshake and a smile when you walk in the door. Their outgoing and friendly personality is highly magnetic; they can usually attract a crowd just by their presence.
3. You Are an Optimist
An extraverted person looks on the bright side of life. They are not weighed down by the negatives; everything is a possibility, and nothing should be ruled out. This can prevent them from having a realistic view of a situation, but it can be helpful when the group must find a workable solution. Rather than be burdened by their emotions, they instead choose to think about what could work out in their favor.
4. You Are Impulsive
Extraverted people are highly impulsive. This is tied to their lower levels of natural cortical stimulation: they need a rush of adrenaline or the thrill of a new experience to make them feel alive. They don’t feel the need to think about all the details or have all the information; they are perfectly comfortable jumping in feet first.
5. You Feel More Comfortable in a Group Than Alone
Because they thrive in a crowd, extraverted people do not enjoy being alone. They gain energy from engaging with other people, so they would prefer to have plans with friends or family every night of the week instead of staying at home alone.
6. You Enjoy Being the Center of Attention
Extraverted people crave the spotlight. They may not act or sing in front of a crowd, but they want all eyes on themselves most of the time. This also relates to their need for external stimulation and approval in that they generally feel little satisfaction with their performance unless someone else approves of it. Extraverts need to be directly involved in social situations and thrive when they are seen as the life of the party.
7. You Have a Large Social Network
Extraverted people have a long list of friends. One reason for this is that their outgoing personality makes it easy for them to keep positive contacts in a social or business setting. An extraverted person has never met a stranger and can always find some common ground with anyone. This is not to say that they are incapable of forming deeper relationships, but because they naturally get along with everyone, they consider nearly everyone as a friend.
On the opposite end of the extraversion spectrum is introversion. People at this extreme have deeper levels of personal satisfaction due to higher levels of cortical excitement. Because of this, they typically try to avoid external stimuli, which can make them seem quieter and more reserved. They do not seek the same kind of involvement as an extraverted person. They exhibit greater control over their actions, tend to think things through more thoroughly before acting, and crave time to themselves.
1. You Are Quiet and Shy
Introverted people are uncomfortable in larger groups. They would much prefer a direct conversation with one or two known and trusted individuals than face a crowded room and be expected to carry on numerous conversations. They will not seek out broad social engagement if left to their own devices.
Introverted people are also much quieter than their extraverted counterparts. They do not feel the need to make their voices heard unless absolutely necessary and will resist confrontation at all costs.
2. You Have a Small Group of Friends
Their relationships may be few, but they are deep. They do not collect friendships or contacts like currency; they much prefer to choose their friends and confidants through time, trust, and experience.
They also resist investing in friendships themselves unless they feel loved and accepted. This can be a great benefit to the person who chooses an introvert as a friend – they are always reliable and can be counted on when needed because they value that friendship.
3. You Like Deeper Activities That Involve Thought
Introverted people prefer to engage their minds rather than jumping into random actions. They are methodical, studious, process-driven, detail-oriented, and highly thorough. Activities and hobbies that require lots of focus, a high degree of background knowledge or experience, or the use of multiple senses and skills are ideal for an introverted person.
4. You Tend to Be Passive
Introverted people will tend to stay out of the limelight, which can make them appear passive. They will not risk being vulnerable out of fear of rejection, so they may not offer as many original ideas. Because of this, they may not seem as invested as others, but introverted people may simply be more thoughtful about their words and actions. They do not want to make waves, so they will simply follow the crowd or remove themselves from a situation altogether.
5. You Prefer Time Alone
Introverts prefer to have time and space to themselves. They see social situations as an expenditure of energy and gain strength from the ability to “recharge” by themselves. Because of this, they may avoid social engagements in favor of more comfortable, familiar surroundings. It is not that they dislike others, but that they simply prefer to be alone and refresh their minds and energies.
6. You Are Thoughtful and Careful
Introverted people approach things meticulously and systematically. They are very careful to follow all instructions, and they look at all possible outcomes before acting or speaking. They would rather remain silent or hold back on making a decision than run the risk of being perceived as careless or thoughtless. They also take failures very personally and will be less likely to take risks if they have fallen short in the past.
7. You Like Peace and Harmony
Introverted people avoid confrontation for themselves and do not seek it out in their relationships or environments. They prefer a harmonious setting with little conflict or disagreement. They may actively try to resolve unrest that arises in a team or group setting, which may be difficult since they do not like to speak up in social settings.
The second scale studies a person’s level of neuroticism or emotional stability. This can be expressed in a number of ways, including anxiousness or ease, response to stress, and level of mental and emotional security.
Persons with high levels of neuroticism are more anxious and stressed out than others. They take things very seriously, often getting hung up on trivial matters. They put a lot of effort into getting the tiniest details correct and can be frustrated if things do not go exactly according to their plans. They are rarely satisfied with others or themselves, and their high levels of anxiety can manifest in wild mood swings.
1. You Are a Perfectionist
Neurotic people are never satisfied until everything is just right. They are strong perfectionists, often given to repeating a task numerous times until it comes out perfectly. Nothing but exact attention to detail will satisfy them. If somebody presents them with low-quality work, they will dismiss it out of hand, often becoming personally offended by the perceived carelessness of others and opting to redo the work themselves.
2. You Are Dissatisfied and Negative
Because they are hard to please, highly neurotic people can come across as harsh or negative. If their expectations are not met, they will become angry and short with others. Rather than look at the effort behind the work, they will judge others based solely on the finished product, and will always find even the smallest flaw and demand it be fixed immediately.
3. You Are Moody
They are easily swayed by their own shifting moods, often exhibiting volatile swings in their emotional state. They may be pleasant and happy one moment, and then something happens to them that makes them irate, sullen, or depressed. A neurotic person may or may not be able to recognize this tendency in themselves, and even if they are aware of it, they can be too blinded by their feelings to change.
4. You Have a Lot of Stress
Neurotic people absorb stress like a sponge. They do not welcome it by any means, but they naturally retain anxiousness in an attempt to solve and control it. They can become fixated on one part of a problem if they perceive it is within their power to resolve, and if something is deemed too great to deal with at the moment, they can “shut down” because they are not able to deal with the cumulative effects of their stressors.
5. You Have Anxiety
Because they hold onto their stressors, neurotic people are usually anxious most of the time. They are often preoccupied with problems at work or in their social circles, which can divert their attention from matters at hand. They are constantly worried about what might go wrong and can be fatalistic or cynical when asked to assess a situation.
6. You Sweat the Small Stuff
Neurotic people can easily blow things out of proportion. The slightest misstep or shortcoming makes the whole project a colossal failure. Ninety-nine things out of one hundred may go right, but they will only be able to see the one thing that went wrong and will almost obsessively think about how they could have done it right.
7. You Are Jealous of Others
Because they are more insecure than others, neurotic people can be jealous of others. They may be jealous of achievements or relationships, or simply wish that they could be as calm and collected as others and more able to deal with stress or worry. They can become envious of what others have, which is an extension of their inability to look away from the negatives.
A person with lower levels of neuroticism is more balanced and stable in their mental and emotional state. They tend to have a more even temper, are not easily swayed by worries and fears, and can provide an atmosphere of calm for others as well. They do not give in to swells of emotion and tend to exhibit higher levels of confidence and contentment.
1. You Are Confident
People with high levels of emotional stability exude confidence. They know that they are performing to the best of their ability, and do not worry about things they cannot control. They know their own strengths and circles of influence and use them to their best advantage. They know what they can do right and what they can do well and will choose to focus on that instead of their shortcomings.
2. You Feel Capable of Dealing with Various Stressors
While they may not welcome stress, people with emotional stability can deal with stressors effectively. They have a unique ability to juggle multiple outside factors with ease and can find a way out of nearly any conflict. They are not easily overwhelmed when lots of things go wrong at once but can usually find the best actions to take or identify the highest priorities in volatile situations.
3. You Are Understanding When Others Make Mistakes
Emotionally stable people do not take offense when others fall short. They are quick to encourage, give constructive criticism instead of harsh judgment, and will always give others a second chance. They are better at understanding and perceiving team or group dynamics and know that the happiness of others should come before absolute perfection by the numbers.
4. You Are Calm in a Crisis
A person with high levels of emotional stability shines in a crisis. Because they are not unbalanced by outside stress, they can respond with a cool, levelheaded assessment of the situation. They may take additional time to gain input from others, but leaders with this personality trait will speak in steady tones and naturally invite and inspire trust.
5. You Are Reliable
An emotionally stable person can always be trusted. They are not easily distracted by outside factors and can be counted on in a demanding situation. When they say they will do something, nothing will keep them from delivering on their word. They can also perform and respond consistently, which makes them predictable and puts others at ease.
6. You Are Carefree
An emotionally stable person does not retain stress, and so lives their life with much lower levels of worry and doubt. They are not careless, but carefree, secure in themselves and their abilities. If they are not able to do something, they do not see it as a failure but simply as a difference. They see life as full of change and opportunity, instead of instability and loss.
7. You Are Content
Because emotionally stable people are not jealous of others or see themselves as incomplete or lacking when they come up short, they are also more content. They do not crave perfection or seek the need to be the leader or the owner on a project, and so are more secure in their own position. If they have what they need or know their own abilities, they are content to stay in their wheelhouse and play to their strengths.
The third dimension of this personality model looks at a person’s level of psychoticism. It ranges between the extremes of highly psychotic or more normalized.
A person with higher levels of psychoticism tends to think more independently and does not conform to the “norms” of others. They are the standouts, relying on their own internal compasses instead of socially acceptable standards. They also do not perceive the needs or feelings of others well and can be reckless and impulsive in their actions if they feel they are justified in acting that way.
1. You Have Advanced Creative Abilities
One unique aspect of high levels of psychoticism is a high degree of creativity. Because they are not bound by convention, these individuals can express themselves in new ways that others might not see. They find resourceful solutions to problems and may be highly imaginative in their perceptions. They open themselves to new possibilities more easily.
2. You Act Irresponsibly
Irresponsible behavior is one of the hallmarks of a person with high levels of psychoticism. This may be because they do not see the need to follow the rules, or because they have not fully thought through their words or actions. Much of the determination behind this behavior is admittedly guided by what is considered “socially acceptable,” but when a psychotic person’s needs or desires run counter to those guidelines, they will very easily and casually toss them aside in favor of their own goals.
3. You Act Outside of Social Norms
If society behaves one way, a highly psychotic person will run in the opposite direction. This can be exhibited in simply making different decisions than the group but is most often exhibited and recognized as criminal behaviors. While this is an extreme example, it does speak to the potential downfalls of this personality dimension if it is left unchecked.
4. You Need Immediate Gratification and Can Be Impulsive
People with high levels of psychoticism are also highly impulsive and seek immediate gratification from their actions and decisions. If there is no pleasure to be gained from an activity, they will not participate; and if they perceive that there are rewards from an activity, they will stop at nothing to achieve them.
5. You Can Be Aggressive
In order to reach their goals or gain benefits from a course of action, these people can also be highly aggressive. They will ignore social courtesies and only look after themselves and their own good. This can be off-putting, making them seem like they only care about themselves.
6. You Are a Loner (Anti-Social)
By choice or by effect, people with high levels of psychoticism do not typically have large social circles. They are usually considered “loners,” without many friends or deep relationships. Those that they confide in likely share similar goals, and friendships are often merely a means to an end. They do not seek out social comforts or engaging with others in conversation because it does not serve their larger goals.
7. You Lack Empathy for Others
Because they are somewhat self-absorbed, they can lack empathy for the feelings or circumstances of others. If it does not affect them personally, it does not cross their minds as an area of concern. This lack of feeling is related to other identifying factors of this personality type: small social circles, aggressive tendencies, and pursuit of personal gain.
On the opposite end of this spectrum, a person with low levels of psychoticism is much more in tune with the needs and feelings of others. They have a more balanced emotional state, can empathize more easily and effectively, and tend to be focused on others more than themselves.
1. You Are Considerate
A person with low levels of psychoticism considers the needs of others before their own. They would never think of allowing even the appearance of selfishness but will instead sacrifice their own desires to satisfy others. This can be done to a fault, but in general, it consists of simple thoughtfulness and kindness.
2. You Are Calm
They are also very calm, not prone to violent swings of emotion. They definitely have their own feelings and opinions, but they do not allow themselves to be uncontrollably driven by them. They are able to keep their thoughts and emotions in check, giving them their proper place and time. For the most part, they seem collected and steady in stressful situations.
3. You Are Restrained
Low levels of psychoticism indicate a great deal of control. They may seem quiet or reserved, but they are merely able to restrain any undue outbursts. They are able to keep their wants and desires subdued, delaying their own gratification without feeling like they are missing out.
While this model is not one of the more popular personality tests used today, it is nonetheless an interesting model to follow. By working from the three scales, you can find a nearly infinite variety of personalities that experience different levels of emotional stability, social ease, and inner drive. Understanding how each combination works can help with personal relationships, team dynamics, and more.
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