Thu, Mar

Video Games and Personality Traits


GAMING - Psychologists have spent a lot of time working with personality to try and understand people in different ways, and there have been links made between personality types and relevant aspects of people’s lives for decades. Whether it is looking at what sort of job you might be suitable for according to your personality type, to trying to predict criminality, personality typing is an important part of psychological studies.

When it comes to gaming, your personality type might not have anything to do with your ability to play video games – but it may just have an impact on the types of games that you prefer to play. If you prefer playing casino games, or if you are looking for adventure in a real time strategy or a RPG, that might be tied into the type of personality that you have.

What is Personality and What Are Personality Types?

In the very basic definition, personality is the collection of qualities that make someone an individual. This can include behaviour, emotions, and cognitive abilities, as well as biology and environment – all the pieces that come together to make us who we are.

Personality types are used to categorise humans based on shared or similar factors that make up personality. This is something that scientists have been trying to do since Ancient Greece – and there are almost as many different archetypal groupings as there are philosophers and scientists. You’ve probably taken one of the free 16-Personality tests that are online, based on the personality profile created by Myers-Briggs. Workplaces use tests like DiSC and Enneagram to work out who needs training or who is most suitable for a leadership position.

The Five Factor Personality


One of the most widely accepted personality type descriptions is the Big Five or Five Factor. This evaluates humans based on five broad dimensions of personality which are believed to be present in some way in every person.

These are:

  • Openness to Experience
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism

Tests that evaluate the Big Five usually show results that place people on a scale, which is much more representative of the human experience as a spectrum.

Personality and Gaming

As with all studies relating to this, much is being self-reported and those who are really interested in the validity of tests like this might have issues with the results, but in multiple studies there does seem to be some correlation between personality type and preferred type of game.

Studies have shown that gamers as a group are less likely to score highly in conscientiousness, and that a woman who scores highly in openness is more likely to be a gamer than a man who scores highly in openness.

The links from multiple studies are below.

Openness to Experience – Role Playing Games

Open people prefer games that offer expansive worlds to explore, with fantastical elements and rich narratives. They like to be creative in their problem solving and enjoy meeting diverse characters.

They are more likely to choose a puzzle or a word game, preferring Indie titles or board games.

Typically, those who are less open to experience are more likely to want to play sports or casino games, where there is less imagination and creativity needed. Although some of the new online casinos have made a conscious effort to attract these types of people through offering slots based on hit movies or famous bands.

Conscientiousness – Strategy Games

Those who score highly in Conscientiousness are more likely to be disciplined and organised, which makes them more likely to choose games where their focus can help them win through close attention to detail. You’ll find them playing puzzle games that need strategies or beefing up their cars in racing games. They are also more likely to choose sports games.

Those who do not score highly in conscientiousness are more likely to choose indie games, or RPGs where there is more freedom to the way they can play.

Extraversion  - Social and Multiplayer Games

The extraverted gamer wants to play games that have a social component, where they can engage with other people. MMORPGs and party games, team-based online shooters, and cooperative team-based sports games are their favourites, and they will be found chatting and building relationships as they play.

Those who are more introverted like solo play better and will avoid online multiplayer options.

Agreeableness – Teams and Cooperation

Agreeable people want to play nicely with others, so they will choose games where teamwork is part of success. Cooperative sports games fit the bill nicely, but they will also choose games with a positive focus, such as lifestyle simulation games, casual arcade style games and even puzzles.

Those who are less agreeable are more likely to choose action games, like shooters or sports games.

Neuroticism – Casual Games

Neuroticism is sometimes described as emotional instability, and those who score highly here want to play games that are simple and quick because they are more relaxing and distracting. Idle and arcade games are key. They also like to play simulators because they are predictable and controllable to some extent.

Less neurotic people are more likely to play in-depth games like RPGs and find shooters and other action games more satisfying.