Aggressive type (A)

From:  "NPA Theory of Personality"
©  2008 A.M. Benis

Non-sanguine non-perfectionistic aggressive type 

     A types typically have a non-sanguine complexion, are extroverted, brusque, brash and prone to aggressive arrogance, but not exhibitionistic or narcissistic. The female is sometimes denigrated as "masculine". Circumstances can lead this type to be overtly sadistic. A positive attribute is that he or she gets things done and gets them done fast. Short physical stature is common but not universal.

Phenotype:  A

Genetics: based on A trait being recessive and non-sanguinity (lack of N trait) being Mendelian dominant

Inheritance pattern: An A type must have at least one parent who is either an A or a PA type. Parents who are both A types can have only A or NA children.

Infertility: Increased probability of miscarriages and stillbirths when mated with either an N or NP character type.

Rage: Aggressive-vindictive “A rage” (mass discharge of sympathetic nervous system). Also called the “fight or flight” response.

Also known as: Aggressive, choleric personality. "The arrogant dynamo". Non-sanguine autocrat.

Complexion: Non-sanguine. Tending toward pallid or sallow in individuals of light skin color. May be milky white. Does not blush easily.

Smile: Sardonic smirk. Non-gingival, half-open mouthed grin. Grin with short, repetitive laugh to mask the incapacity to smile.

Photograph: Looks at camera. "Pleased-with-self" grin.

Voice: Confident, confrontational, abrasive, bullying.

Gestures: Clenched fist, aggressive finger point, haughtily-cocked jaw, intimidating glare.

Handwriting: Non-perfectionistic. Often slurred or bold illegible scrawl. 

Sexuality: Tendency to promiscuity: moderate. Tendency to LGBT in sexual orientation: low-moderate.

Color preference: Inattentive approach to color choice.

Population genetics: "The Militant Habitancy", having a high prevalence of A and PA types. Examples: Yemen, Arab part of Iraq, other Middle Eastern subpopulations.

Susceptibilities: Attention deficit disorders (ADD, ADHD). Overt sadism, sociopathology. Antisocial personality disorder. Sadomasochistic "morbid dependency" as the dominant partner. Leader of militant, genocidal movement. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Pitfalls: High-temperament PA types can resemble A types. Accounts of the behavior of NPA types or bipolar NA types can resemble A types. Accounts of (pseudo) perfectionist behavior in A type could lead to mistaken conclusion of P trait. A types, in drive for power, may mount the podium, leading to mistaken conclusion of the N trait. "Punky" adornment may lead to mistaken conclusion of the N trait (pseudo-narcissism). Psychosis in N or NP types can superficially resemble aggression and even sadism.

From Chapter 5:  A model of human behavior

Aggressive type (A)

       He conveys the impression that "I am the strongest. I come first. Period!" He cannot help but be an extrovert and be overtly arrogant. To him arrogance is power, since in arrogating to himself qualities of special importance, nay of omnipotence, he can self-righteously use the brute force of a steamroller to attain his goals. His hallmark is that of seeking the vindictive triumph in overt intimidation, or indeed in any manner that is available to him. He should be able to do anything to anyone, but no one -- but no one -- can have any claim on him. He is loud. He cannot be missed. He is first.

He "plays the game" but compulsively must dominate all others. He will avoid at all costs his own subjugation in a personal relationship or in a "morbid dependency"; rather he will be the subjugator. He may split his personality for short periods of time to the subdued state, but will be most unhappy there and will emerge fighting. Having so much invested in aggressive dominance, he will scorn anyone and anything reminiscent of weakness or of submissive tenderness. When opposed, he is the master of vindictive retaliation, and will thirst for the thrill of the vindictive triumph, with strict accountability until retribution is obtained. When attaining subjugation over others he may become sadistic, but his sadism is in the realm of brute force: it is out in the open for all to see. When cornered, with his back to the wall, he will fight and may be at his best.  

He has little in the way of narcissistic qualities, hence he has less invested in the anticipation of future accomplishment than in the maintenance of a position of power, where no one can have any claim on him. He has little in the way of perfectionist qualities; therefore, his actions are coarse, with a premium on speedy, goal-oriented, self-obtained satisfaction. He is thus openly hedonistic. Perfectionism by quiet, careful repetitive action is alien to him.

When frustrated, he has in his armamentarium the aggressive-vindictive rage, which may be activated with a hair trigger. With repeated defeats he may undergo a depression to an abject state of hopelessness.

From Chapter 6:  Character caricatures

       His complexion tends to be sallow rather than sanguine. Lacking the sanguine trait, he tends not to adorn himself. But he cannot be missed. He has a loud voice and a brusque demeanor. He is rough around the edges. He is arrogant, aggressive and often cannot help being callous. He is a steamroller who cannot be stopped, or if he is halted, it is only for a moment. He must be first, and no one can have any true claim on him. If he does submit to others, it is he who is magnanimously doing them a favor.

He cuts corners in almost every aspect of his life, in his relations with others, in time, in space, in his poor handwriting and in the realm of the truth. Perfectionist traits of careful, directed activity and of a sense of duty to others are alien to him. He will be happy to say that doing something over and over again to make it better and better will only make it worse and worse. To him it is obvious: perfectionism is the enemy of progress.

He is not by nature a contemplative person; hence, he has only the slightest understanding of the forces that propel him. And it is only for the most fleeting moments of introspection that he wonders why he must so often act like the callous boor that he so often is.

He may not realize it, but his modus operandi is a claim of omnipotence. If in his present situation he is not the lord and master, then he tells himself that he soon will be. He "plays the game" of dominance and submission, and to the extent that he considers himself the master of all, his eye contact with others is often poor. Why should he, the all-powerful master, waste his time with eye contact on mere weaklings?

If he is seriously criticized, he will bristle and shoot from the hip. His argumentative reply will not finish until he has achieved a vindictive triumph. He must have the last word.

Just as he does not know how to give thanks or give compliments, he does not know how to apologize. Whatever the issue at hand, truth becomes secondary to an instinctive urge telling him that power must prevail. In fact, in a competitive society he is a dynamo whose meaning, and satisfaction, in life is the vindictive triumph over all individuals, whom in the final analysis he considers to be weaker than he.

But satisfaction in life through the vindictive triumph over weaker individuals is, the reader will recall, our definition of sadism, so in the wrong time and the wrong place he is capable not only of the most callous disregard of the rights of others, but also the worst of cruel, sadistic acts (Chapter 8).

In better circumstances, his aggressive tendencies are out in the open for all to see. His friends, family and acquaintances will come to recognize and predict his vindictiveness and his accountability for retribution like an elephant that never forgets. They will come to be accustomed to his vindictive rages, much like modern city dwellers become accustomed to the sonic boom. And despite his self-devotion, his hedonism, his arrogance, his brashness and his brusqueness, they may like him. This may be because they have sensed that in admiring him, and in letting him know that they admire him, they give him his only link to tenderness in interpersonal relations: personal recognition for his accomplishments. And they learn that this is the only way to gain his fleeting "smile."

Finally, he may be admired by both the strong and the weak for his qualities of getting things done, and getting them done fast. "Damn the torpedoes! Full steam ahead, come hell or high water!"

As a "player of the game" he must be the dominant figure, and so it must be in love relations, which are, of course, usually based on the subjugation of other weaker aggressive types (A, NA, PA and NPA  types) or submissive types. And if his daily life is one modest vindictive triumph after another, then his true vindictive rages may be few and far between. He may then be less of an Attila the Hun or a Genghis Khan than a brusque, abrasive dynamo who, despite his being a prisoner of the primeval forces that drive him, charges through life as a useful functioning member of society.

For contemporary examples of the A type we need only to look to some of our aggressive competitors of the various fields of athletics and sports.


Benis A.M. (1985, 2nd edition 2008: NPA Theory of Personality): Chaps. 5 & 6, in Toward Self & Sanity: On the genetic origins of the human character, Psychological Dimensions, New York, pp. 52-53, 102-103.