Types Of Behavior According To Psychology: Which Are You? | Kidadl


Types Of Behavior According To Psychology: Which Are You?

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Have you ever questioned why, as a parent, you behave in a certain way?

Perhaps you can see your personality traits coming through in your kids. How we are as humans, and ultimately as parents, affects all of our choices on how to raise our little ones, from the [types of punishment] you will follow through with your child to whether having good table manners for kids matters to you.

Understanding the root of your psychological tendencies can help you to understand your type of behavior and why you make the choices you do.

Why Do Humans Behave The Way We Do?

Why do we choose to do the things we do? Why do some people like soda while others prefer coffee? Why do some seek adventure while others are more homebodies? How can some of us remember the names of everyone we have ever met, yet others can't recall their mobile number?

Human behavior is a  highly complex area psychologists have studied for centuries. You may well have heard of one of the most renowned theories, the behavioral nature-nurture debate.

First, the basic nature perspective explains human behavior as being shaped mostly by biology and science. This could be through genetics, DNA make-up, evolution, and certain hormones.

In contrast, the nurture perspective indicates that behavior is driven mainly by the psychosocial environment (for example, how we were raised, our peers, and our present). Interestingly, it's commonly believed that nurture is a more powerful influence than nature. One explanation for this is that is clearer to witness the effects of nurture in our day-to-day lives. According to many psychologists, this is a viewpoint in which we all have a level of control.

The nurture viewpoint explains many effects on our lives. For instance, as adults, we often attribute problems, behaviors, and how we face them back to our early childhood. Parents usually take on a great deal of responsibility for the young people their children become. And you have probably heard of situations where people hope partners may change their behavior someday.

As such, it may come as a surprise to some to know how powerful of a role genetics play in our personalities, and how the personalities of those related to us are likely to be linked to ours by genetics. This has been researched extensively in many studies, and twin studies are a great example of that. Twins brought up in separate places often show more similarities than other siblings who they may have spent a lifetime with. This shows us that genetic predispositions can have a strong impact on our behavior.

Twin studies are very insightful when it comes to psychology

The same applies to people who were adopted; they are often more akin to their genetic parents than those who adopted them. Interestingly, many researchers state at least 50% of why we are all different from one another originates from our genetic makeup.

How Is Human Behavior Studied?

We can divide psychology studies into two key areas known as social psychology and experimental psychology.

Experimental Psychology

This is a very scientific research method that uses classic external laboratory-styled studies. Psychologists conduct experiments to see if there is a cause and effect relationship, and studies involve people. For example, suppose the study wanted to find out how sleep deprivation affects driving. In these situations, participants could be woken up at different times throughout the night and asked to undergo a driving simulation test. Some aspects of a study can be controlled that might play a part in the outcome.

Social Psychology

This type of psychological research doesn't use laboratories but observes how people react in external real-life situations. For example, the impact of advertising, how people respond in shops and queues, or why people commit a crime. Psychologists can also look into what motivates certain aggressive behaviors or different viewpoints. Social psychology studies can also be undertaken via questionnaires and surveys.

The Finding Of Four Personality Types

A study in 2016 found that 90% of the population can be categorized into four basic personality types. This was established in the journal 'Science Advances' by a team of researchers at the University Carlos III de Madrid and another team from Barcelona University, Rovira I Virgili Zaragoza.

The research study was undertaken by taking groups of people and putting them into pairs. The pairs would then have to rotate. They were then given social dilemmas and were given options that led to either collaboration or conflict within the pairs.

Amazingly, the researchers discovered that the volunteers were not making rational choices throughout playing these games, which was commonly the behavioral belief beforehand. This means they didn't always go for the option that was in their best interest. Instead, volunteers opted to either work with their partner or completely betray them in each stage of the game, not because of any particular incentives but because of their own personal beliefs. The results of the study identified four key personality types.

What Are The Four Basic Behavior Types?

From this study, four personality types were identified: pessimistic, trusting, optimistic and envious. The most common personality type was envious with 30% of the share, with pessimistic, trusting, and optimistic scoring 20%. The remaining 10% of people fell into a fifth group that could not be defined. This means the algorithm couldn't find any exact type of behavior that they performed. The researchers suggest that there could also be more subgroups within each primary personality type. It could also be because these individuals did not behave any of the actions outlined for each problem.

The study analyzed the behaviors and responses of 541 people, it involved something known as game theory. Game theory uses mathematical applications in both sociology and economics. It looks at how people react when given a tough situation or decision. While algorithms have been used in other scientific areas, such as biology, for classification, the researchers say this is a "revolutionary" tactic for the understanding of human behavior.

One situation given to the participants went as follows:

When two people are together, they can go choose to go hunting for deer, which is more complicated than hunting other prey but more rewarding if the animal is caught. If people are by themselves, they are only permitted to go rabbit hunting, which means they will certainly catch something. If one person chooses not to go for the deer, their partner is forced to do the same, even if they would actually have preferred to hunt the deer. Participants then had to decide if they would rather hunt for deer in pairs, or pick an individual alternative. Find out the responses of the four different personality types below!

The study was based on whether people would opt to hunt for deer in pairs, or pick an individual alternative.


A person belonging to the envious group will choose to hunt rabbits because they will be at least equivalent to the other hunter, or maybe even better if they catch more animals. The researchers found that those with the envious personality type don't mind what they achieve, as long as they're better than everyone else.


The optimist will select to go and hunt for deer because they believe that is the best option for both hunters. They hope the other person will make the same choice as them. The researchers found optimists believe that they and their partner are capable of making the best decision for themselves.


The pessimist will choose to go for rabbits because that way, he or she is sure to catch something. Pessimists can be defined as those who pick the lesser of two evils when faced with options.


The hunter who falls in the trusting group of personalities will cooperate to hunt and choose to hunt deer without a second thought. Those with a trusting personality collaborate with their partners and don't mind whether they win or lose.

Which personality category do you think you would fall in to?

How Does Knowing This Help?

According to Yamir Moreno, one of the leading coordinators’ at the Universidad de Zaragoza, he stated that this type of human behavior study is really important. These mental studies extend and improve existing theories on human behavior by giving them a specific experimental scenario.

The outcomes can have several applications without using thousands of people to participate. You could simulate a group of people’s social behavior and see how they react in a given situation. It can be useful in understanding why people make different types of choices in politics or negotiations. These findings give specific light to the underpinnings that form group behavior and individual human interests. When it comes to artificial intelligence, the researchers state this can also help us to create more humanized and sophisticated robots.

Keep in mind that personality is very complicated, there are many types of behavior in psychology. Dividing categories into four large groups is intended to create a journey of understanding the types of behavior of those around us. Why not take some time to learn and understand the individual personalities of your close friends and family? The goal is to work together to understand different types of behavior and how your family's personalities can support and benefit one another. This will help you in your parenting too, as understanding your and your children's personality types can provide a better insight into how to support each other and can influence positive actions to achieve this in your family.

It would be great to see follow-up studies on how compatible these personality types are with one another and how they link in the context of family and parenting. Do two pessimists suit each other better than an optimist and a pessimist? How do types of human behavior impact one another? Future university studies will reveal more as we become more advanced in behavioral and human psychology, science, and the involvement of technology.

If you found this article about types of human behavior helpful, then why not take a look at why [manners matter] or the [value of discipline] in the modern world?

Written By
Georgia Stone

<p>Georgia is an experienced Content Manager with a degree in French and Film Studies from King's College London and Bachelors degree from Université Paris-Sorbonne. Her passion for exploring the world and experiencing different cultures was sparked during her childhood in Switzerland and her year abroad in Paris. In her spare time, Georgia enjoys using London's excellent travel connections to explore further afield.</p>

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