Are you Rational, Emotive or Intuitive?


This last semester, while working with Professor Burns –from the Center for Brand Research at the University of Texas at Austin–, we focused on consumer behavior and on how do people behave. In the stages of the Communication Continuum there are mainly three different kinds of personalities: the rational style, the emotive style and the intuitive style. However, what are the main differences between them? As in our article regarding the MBTI Personality Test, many people, just due to their personality, don't fit or work well between them because of it.

Here are the main summarized characteristics of each style, as a result of our investigations:

Rational Style

This style values task completion, objectivity, and efficient use of time. It focuses on objective information and data, and tends to be linear.

  • It emphasizes that ideas are separate from the person. Disagreement with another's ideas is acceptable and even valued. It is not as seen as a personal attack.
  • It encourages listening carefully to the ideas; if you disagree, say so-the disagreement is with the idea, not the person.
  • It prefers to 'take turns' when talking.
  • It is less comfortable with "feeling" discussions.
  • There is less variation in tone or gestures.
  • When announcing a decision, it focuses on facts or information

(This is the dominant U.S. pattern, and also tends to be dominant in northern Europe).

Emotive Style

This style values relationship and collaboration, and has a group focus.

  • It focuses on feelings and tends to appear more people-oriented and passoinate.
  • Communication might be more circular.
  • It emphasizes the person, and attaches great importance to feelings. Issues and ideas are not separated from the person. Disaagreement, if done, is done carefully because it might seem as an attack to their person.
  • Sharing someone's values and feelings is highly valued, and indicates personal investment.
  • One can overlap while others are speaking.
  • There is always feeling in the voice, regardless of volume.
  • It prefers to involve people and to aim at consensus.
  • Non-verbal communication matters.

(This is the dominant pattern in Hispanic, Latin, South European, and Middle Eastern Cultures).

Intuitive Style

This style values internal knowledge, historical experiences, and indirectness. It focuses on 'knowing' that comes from experience. The connection between knowing and experience is often not conscious. (This is the style that best fits with my personality).

  • Discussion is more internal with oneself than external with others.
  • The process is less linear and might be less conscious and more difficult to describe to others.
  • Increased experience can lead to more rapid decision-making, although the process for getting there is neither conscious nor subject to justification.
  • This style prefers more reflection in order to identify the 'knowing' rather than group discussion.
  • Decisions are announced without justification.

(This is the dominant pattern for many Asian and indigenous North American cultures).