TV personailties put to the test

ARE we as unique as we really think we are?An enlightening new BBC documentary, featuring former Ipswich estate agent David Coates, will tonight try to show how we can all be pigeonholed into one of 16 personality types.

ARE we as unique as we really think we are?

An enlightening new BBC documentary, featuring former Ipswich estate agent David Coates, will tonight try to show how we can all be pigeonholed into one of 16 personality types.

Mr Coates, 32, is one of several volunteers put through a series of tests to determine their personality type – this can include Realist, Peacemaker, Innovator and Leader among others – and learn how to use their qualities to better understand other people.

At the start of the programme, called What Am I Like?: The Personality Test, host Nick Knowles walks past Mr Coates and says: "Why does a guy (Coates) have parties like this?" and the camera switches to a huge gathering at his Southend-on-Sea home.

The idea was to analyse the contestants in various situations and look at their lifestyles to reveal their personality and how they interact with others.

Mr Coates, a managing director of a London recruitment company is, according to psychologists, a Big Thinker because he is extrovert, spontaneous and sees the big picture with new possibilities – and loves big celebrations.

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"They said I was a one in a million personality," said Mr Coates. "I wanted to get involved because most people you see on TV haven't got a personality."

Many psychologists believe our personalities are made up of four basic elements and for each of these we fall into one of two opposing categories.

So, you are either a facts or ideas person; extrovert or introvert; head or heart; spontaneous or planned. Combining the four traits will lead you to one of the 16 personality types.

One of the tests involved volunteers looking at a tea bag. The facts people described the object as it was, while the ideas people used it to trigger thoughts and feelings.

After other similar tests, the psychologists were then asked to predict the behaviour of volunteers in various situations, such as cooking, shopping, navigating a car and a night spent together in a cottage.

Mr Coates, originally from Woodbridge, learned a lot from the experience. He said: "I think about other people more and how situations affect them and I have a greater understanding of how to live life.

"If you are an introvert, it is nice to know it is not your fault and that there are others who have those problems. There are no winners or losers."

What Am I Like?: The Personality Test will be shown on BBC1 tonight at 8pm.

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