Character Types and Their
Involvement in Groups

Excerpted from Robert Freed Bales, Personality and Interpersonal Behavior
(New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1970).

High Evaluation

  Low Activity Medium Activity High Activity
High Potency


Altruistic Love. Idealizes and admires others. Believes in love, tenderness, sympathy, affection. Conscientious, empathic, highest agreement on conservatism items. Appropriate sex-role identification. Receives much interaction and provides agreement. Increases group satisfaction with task and interpersonal relations.


Social Solidarity and Progress. Identifies with "good" authority; interested in group tasks; expresses like for others. Favors progress, unanimous democracy in support of group orthodoxy. Problems approached deductively from values. Often chosen group leader. High interaction; sociable; persistent.


Social Success. Personally involved in group; popular, receptive leader; initiator and recipient; but over-rates self. Socially and sexually extroverted. Values popularity, cooperation, friendliness. High on social participation, dominance, agreement response set.

Medium Potency


Salvation Through Love. Equalitarian, submissive, conformist. Sorrowful but forgiving; love is the master cure for deviance. Religious; anti-sex and anti-aggression. Low interaction and only toward specific others; non-entertaining but socially positive. Good worker and group member; practical, responsible, high will control, stable.


Equalitarianism. Friendly, inquiring, appreciates others as equal to self ignoring their negative traits. Non-discriminating by status or role. Admired, identified with group though attending to individuals. Favors democracy, equality; friendly atmosphere more important than efficiency; anti-coercion; communistic. High intellectual efficiency and ego strength.


Emotional Supportiveness and Warmth. Favors relativism, permissiveness, equalitarianism; encouragement of young, growth. Warm, personal, well-liked, non-anxious, entertaining, receives attention. Enthusiastic, talkative, extroverted, poised, spontaneous, confident.

Low Potency


Trust in the Goodness of Others. Equalitarian, understanding, undominating. Believes people are good, truthful, dependable. Tender-minded. Low interaction and mainly toward individuals rather than group. Asks for opinions, friendly. Calm, stable, mature, responsible, low aggressiveness and sexuality.


Identification With Underprivileged. Defender of the underdog. Supports teenagers, laborers, the poor, women, and children. Sees establishment as oppressor. People mostly good except the old and the rich. Innocent; liberal but not radical. Well-liked; does not initiate action but receives attention.


Permissive Liberalism. Liked and admired most, disliked least. Makes others feel appreciated, entertaining; the "perfect" appreciator, audience, recipient of positive acts. Elicits sociability. Trusting.


Medium Evaluation

  Low Activity Medium Activity High Activity
High Potency


Conservative Group Beliefs. Values supernatural power, immortality, distrusts science, favors religion; against change, government bureaucracy, inefficiency. Favors rural life, local norms rather than laws by remote powers; chauvinist. Sees norms and goals as received rather than generated. Goal oriented, believes in programming for achievements; a deductive problem solver.


Group Loyalty and Cooperation. Concerned with cooperation for achievement; group unity through loyalty rather than affection; curbs individualism because of the larger plan. Values impartiality, harmony with others and nature; against discrimination. Uses impersonal persuasion and suggestion — the iron hand in the velvet glove. Sophisticated, controlled. Mediator of conflict.


Material Success and Power. Materialistic, talkative, self confident. Overestimates self value to group; ignores negative reactions he or she provokes. Values what aids satisfying drives — money, power, success. Favors competition. Egocentric, future-oriented, adventurous, thick-skinned. Converts drives into action.

Medium Potency


Self-Knowledge and Subjectivity. Persistent, obsessive on tasks. Introverted; values ideals, reverie, inner life, contemplation, moderation, introspection. Low in interaction; submissive, asks for suggestions, non-entertaining.

Undefined except as average of all directions.


Value Relativism and Expression. Feels free from value and authority constraints. Favors relativism, expression of conflicting values, situational ethics, acting out all impulses. Extroverted, specializes in dramatizing and joking, entertaining group as a whole. Vigorous.

Low Potency


Devaluation of Self. Introverted, ascetic, mystic. Believes in power of thought to control — ESP, trances. Withdrawn. Mechanizes drive satisfactions into small steps to neutralize them. Silent, waiting. Low interaction.


Withholding of Cooperation. Tries to present favorable attitude toward expressiveness and gratification but personally suppresses and controls them. Ambivalent toward group; courts aggression toward self; may be radical martyr. Shows tension, laughs.


Rejection of Conservative Group Beliefs. Favors expression and gratification but appears less committed than he or she feels. Sees others as square acceptors of authority. Rejects establishment values and institutions. Morals must be circumstantial. Evolutionist. Anti-coercion. Socialist, libertarian, rationalist. Anti-religion. Vigorous.


Low Evaluation

  Low Activity Medium Activity High Activity
High Potency


Value-Determined Restraint. Concerned with conscience, moderation, restraint for principle, law. Favors controlling pleasure, senses, emotions, feelings, wishes. Sees lust as short and painful, socially complicated. True reality is non-sensual, unchanging, from inner experience — inspiration, meditation. Masochistic acceptance of unhappiness, misfortune forcing one to be strong. Disliked and unadmired; finds others unentertaining.


Autocratic Authority. Sees self as a legitimate source of authority, and sees authority as powerful. Morally superior attitude; demands inhibition, discipline, control of degenerates. Wary; sees outside threats. Forwards authoritarian values; prejudiced. Disliked but expects gratitude.


Tough-Minded Assertiveness. Dominating, aggressive, self-confident, contemptuous, non-understanding. Values determination, ambition, accomplishments, struggle, action, adventure, bodily activity, the present, challenge, danger, freedom to die; no sympathy for the weak. For social order, the military, technology. Not religious; accepts gratifications and graft. Feels authority is good for the masses. Dramatizes, jokes, initiates interactions. Neurotic, psychopathic, manic.

Medium Potency


Self-Sacrifice for Values. Values suffering, sacrifice, absolutes, the everlasting, meaningful death (but not meaningless disaster); virtue and morality are important, bodily needs and senses insignificant. Obsessional, compulsive, ritualistic, introverted, timid. Anxious, task persistent, not warm or personal or entertaining; low interaction.


Individualistic Isolationism. Alienated, alone, threatened, individualistic, concerned with freedom. Favors independence, privacy, detachment from others, intelligence, rationality. Resentful, interactions unfriendly, low in agreement. Suspecting, jealous, hypochondriac, dependent. Not admired. Sees others as non-entertaining.


Rugged Individualism and Gratification. Defies authority; above the law. Values action, sensuality, nonconformity, boldness, self reliance, the present, change. Favors expression, gratification; non-equalitarian. Not task oriented; tense, aggressive, eccentric, unconcerned, paranoid, impulsive, self-centered.

Low Potency


Rejection of Social Success. Devalues physical attractiveness, social climbing, cosmetics, clothes, cars, houses. Makes self plain. Unfriendly, uncommunicative. Introverted, repressed.


Failure and Withdrawal. Dislikes others; feels disliked. Wants to leave group or failure-producing situation. Low interaction. Immature, simple, rough, self-sufficient, withdrawn, hypochondriac, indecisive.


Rejection of Social Conformity. Cynical, pessimistic about persons, defiant, rejects conformity, feels others are dominating. Favors individualistic isolationism. Against people, task cooperation, conservatism. Identifies with deviants in dress, speech. Largely ignored by others in interaction.