What are enneagram personality types?

Learning About Yourself with Enneagrams

Some people believe that by revealing your specific personality type, enneagram personality types can help you gain a better understanding of yourself. Psychologists such as Carl Jung have long studied personality types and identity archetypes, and corporations even use personality tests like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator as a means of identifying applicants' and employees' probable strengths and weaknesses.

While it's hard for us to generally identify our own specific personality traits and faults with much accuracy, those around us have a much easier time pegging us for what and who we are [source: Washington University in St. Louis]. This blindness to oneself can lead to a worsening of negative traits that have gone unchecked, or a lack of confidence in one's positive traits. Using the enneagram personality types might enable a person to spot his or her type through either the identification of positive or negative traits. The person might also be able to identify corresponding traits for that type that may have gone previously ignored or unacknowledged.

Studies have shown that we alter our perceptions of physical attractiveness once we learn more about a person's personality -- positive personality traits like helpfulness make people more attractive to others, while negative personality traits like selfishness or pettiness make others lower their perception of how physically attractive that person is [source: Blackwell Publishing]. Your personality even plays a role in the likelihood of having children. Those who are more aggressive and show leadership skills (such as the Reformer, the Challenger and the High Achiever) tend to be more successful in their quests for producing offspring [source: Wiley-Blackwell].

What's the bottom line? Learning more about your personality type may help you to be more self-aware -- and make your interactions with other people a little smoother.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Blackwell Publishing Ltd. "Personality Traits Influence Perceived Attractiveness." ScienceDaily. Nov. 30, 2007. (Mar. 21, 2010)http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071129145852.htm
  • Boston University. "Researchers Identify Personality Traits Of Centenarian Offsprings Which May Influence Longetivity." ScienceDaily Apr. 6, 2009. (Mar. 21, 2010)http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090403114823.htm
  • Enneagram Institute. (Mar. 13, 2010)http://www.enneagraminstitute.com/
  • Hsu, Caroline. "Mary and Martha are Biblical Favorites, but Who Were They?"U.S. News & World Report. Jan. 25, 2008.http://www.usnews.com/articles/news/religion/2008/01/25/mary-and-martha-are-biblical-favorites-but-who-were-they-.html
  • NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research). "Introverts Experience More Health Problems, Study Suggests." ScienceDaily. Nov. 18, 2009. (Mar. 21, 2010) http://www.sciencedaily.com­/releases/2009/11/091118120314.htm
  • Oz, Lisa. Us: Transforming Yourself and the Relationships that Matter Most. Free Press, 2010. ISBN 978-1-4391-2392-8.
  • Purdue University. "Personality Traits Associated With Stress And Worry Can Be Hazardous To Your Health." ScienceDaily. Aug 19, 2009.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090818130552.htm
  • Riso, Don Richard; Hudson, Russ. Personality types: using the enneagram for self-discovery.
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1996. ISBN 0395798671, 9780395798676.http://books.google.com/books?id=pmdARxbC1SUC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s#v=onepage&q=&f=false
  • Washington University in St. Louis. "Others May Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. Feb. 27, 2010.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100226093235.htm
  • Wiley-Blackwell. "Personality Influences Reproductive Success." ScienceDaily. Mar. 26, 2009. (Mar. 21, 2010)http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090325132149.htm

More to Explore