A recent study on human behavior has broadly classified persons into four types- pessimistic, trusting, optimistic, and envious. The study also revealed that jealousy is found in more persons (30%) as compared to 20% of each of the other three traits.  The study was conducted by a University in Spain and envisaged analysis of responses of 541 subjects on questions about hundreds of social dilemmas, with options leading to collaboration or conflict with others, based on individual or collective interests.

The subjects were asked to participate in pairs. The pairs were changed after every round and also every time the game is changed. The most logical option was to cooperate or oppose and in each scenario the researchers were able to eke out information about what people do in the different situation.

The results were quite the opposite to traditional assumptions and theories. One such common notion is that humans act rationally, and this fact must be taken into consideration while changing social or economic policies.

The researchers also developed a computer algorithm which classified the subjects according to their behavior. The algorithm was able to classify 90% of the subjects into four distinct groups.

The first group comprised of persons who were envious and accounted for 30% of the subjects. They were happy to work as long as the results were better than the others.

The other three groups comprised of three types of personalities:

  • The optimists who believed that their partner was the best choice available to accomplish a task.
  • The pessimists who pick the option which they see as the lesser of two evils
  • The trusting group or born associates and who will always cooperate and winning or losing does not matter

The fifth, undefined group comprising 10% which the algorithm is unable to classify, experts said.