RIASEC THEORY

The SDS is a direct product of a theory of personality types and environmental models developed by John Holland.

Holland’s Theory

Holland’s theory posits that people can be categorized according to six personality types—Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional—known collectively as RIASEC. Use the interactive hexagon graphic below to explore the six RIASEC personality types in more detail.

SDS Big Hexagon
Realistic

Realistic types generally like to work with things more than with people. They are often described as genuine, sensible, practical, natural, thrifty, modest, persistent, and honest.

R
Investigative

Investigative types typically like to work with ideas more than with people or things. They are usually described as logical, curious, exact, intellectual, cautious, independent, quiet, and modest.

I
Artistic

Artistic types usually like to work with ideas more than with things. They are usually described as open, creative, independent, emotional, impulsive, and original.

A
Social

Social types typically like to work with people more than with things. They are often described as helpful, understanding, responsible, warm, cooperative, convincing, friendly, kind, generous, and patient.

S
Enterprising

Enterprising types generally like to work with people and ideas more than with things. They are usually described as outgoing, adventurous, energetic, optimistic, sociable, and self-confident.

E
Conventional

Conventional types generally like to work with papers and numbers. They are typically described as practical, careful, thrifty, efficient, orderly, and persistent.

C

  The SDS measures the degree to which you resemble each of the personality types, producing a three-letter Summary Code that expresses the complexity of your personality. For example, a Summary Code of RIA indicates a primarily Realistic, Investigative, and Artistic personality.

According to Holland’s theory, the same personality types—Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional—also apply to work environments, and each environment presents its own specific qualities and challenges.

Because both personalities and occupations can be classified using the same system, you can use your three-letter Summary Code to locate occupations (or fields of study, or leisure activities) that correspond best with your personality and thus are most likely to satisfy you.

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