Six “Thought Profiles” Help to Understand the Mind’s “Brainprint”

Grant H Brenner
7 min readFeb 17, 2024

New research opens up potential avenues for understanding and influence.

Grant H Brenner / Dalle 2

What is the brain’s operating system? How many types of people are there in terms of basic patterns of mental function? We don’t really know.

What personality is and how many variations of personality types remains only partially understood. Some of the most familiar and popular personality tests fall short of statistical and scientific validity, no matter how much they capture our hearts and imagination.

Familiar psychological typologies-the Five Factor and the six-factor HEXACO models-identify basic components of personality: openness, agreeableness, emotional stability/neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness, plus, with HEXACO, honesty-humility. Then there’s the infamous dark triad of traits, comprised of narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy (which stands in contrast to honesty-humility). Add everyday sadism for the dark tetrad.

Psychiatric models from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) identify several types of personality pathology: narcissistic personality disorder (PD), borderline PD, dependent PD, avoidant PD, schizoid PD, and several more. The DSM-5 also articulates a proposed model 1based on seven maladaptive traits:

  • Compulsivity
  • Detachment
  • Negative Affect
  • Psychoticism
  • Disinhibition
  • Antagonism
  • Submissiveness

The Brain at Rest

With a fresh take, fascinating work from Cremona, Joliot and Mellet (2023) derived “thought profiles” from a cluster analysis of data from nearly 1,800 French university students. In addition to tried-and-true measures, this group completed a novel survey of resting-state personality dynamics, the ReSQ 2.0.

What is the resting state, or default mode, of one’s mind? Are we mellow or spinning with stressed-out worries? Is it overall negative, positive, or more neutral in there? What shape do our thoughts take if we observe them gently when letting the mind wander?

--

--

Grant H Brenner

Psychiatrist, Psychoanalyst, Entrepreneur, Writer, Speaker, Disaster Responder, Advocate, Photographer