About Ocean, “The Big Five personality traits”
This is a tool of Psychology used to measure 5 dimensions of people personality:
- Openness to Experience (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious)
- Concienciousness (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless)
- Extraversion (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved)
- Agreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. cold/unkind)
- Neuroticism (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident)
Also known as “The five factor Model of personality”, this kind of personality study cames from works made by M. Costa and R. McRae in 1961 based on D. W. Fiske investigations of 1949.
The model analyzes the language, the words we use to describe personality and group and give categories to those results. 18.000 words where detected and they where reduced (sinonimous or similarities) to 4000. Later there where presented other models of 35, 16 and 3 factors that simplified the groups to analyze behavoiur. By testing people with those models they realized that the 16 factors where still to complex to describe personality and 3 factors gave a very limited description. Finally, the five factor model was the best way to get results (not too complex and not too limited).
Between 1980 and 1990 the model was accepted by the scientific community as a good tool. It was also known that as the human personality is “infinite”, the model just tries to give some light, order and a way to measure personality. That is why the model talks about dimensions and not “types” of personality. It is also known that the behaviour also “changes” and adapts to the context or environment.
The five dimensions represent values in between two opposite and extreme ranges: for example Opennes to Experience or a “Closed mind”. A person will always fall in a value between those points.
These investigation concluded that the 5 dimensions are universal: a study over 50 differnt cultures found that the Big Five was accurate describing personality regardless the frontiers. The investigators do also think that the factors have a biological origin that guides society and its growth.
From the 5 dimensions arise a new test called “NEO PI Inventory” which splits every dimension into 6 traits to help to give more detail on the personality profile. It is belived that people tend to keep its 5 dimensions “score” along all their lives, beginning in their adolescence. It means people keeps most of their characteristics over the time.
We are immersed in a world where communication and language is our main tool to relate and know how we are we can better understand our problems and our strengths to improve and learn.
A Brief description of the 5 dimension:
Openness to Experience
Openness is a general appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, imagination, curiosity, and variety of experience. People who are open to experience are intellectually curious, appreciative of art, and sensitive to beauty. They tend to be, when compared to closed people, more creative and more aware of their feelings. They are more likely to hold unconventional beliefs. Another characteristic of the open cognitive style is a facility for thinking in symbols and abstractions far removed from concrete experience. People with low scores on openness tend to have more conventional, traditional interests. They prefer the plain, straightforward, and obvious over the complex, ambiguous, and subtle. They may regard the arts and sciences with suspicion or view these endeavors as uninteresting. Closed people prefer familiarity over novelty; they are conservative and resistant to change.
Conscientiousness is a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement against measures or outside expectations. The trait shows a preference for planned rather than spontaneous behavior. It influences the way in which we control, regulate, and direct our impulses. According to a study conducted at Michigan State University, it was found by R.E. Lucas and his colleagues that the average level of conscientiousness augmented among young adults and then declined among older adults.
Extraversion is characterized by positive emotions, surgency, and the tendency to seek out stimulation and the company of others. The trait is marked by pronounced engagement with the external world. Extraverts enjoy being with people, and are often perceived as full of energy. They tend to be enthusiastic, action-oriented individuals who are likely to say “Yes!” or “Let’s go!” to opportunities for excitement. In groups they like to talk, assert themselves, and draw attention to themselves. Introverts have lower social engagement and activity levels than extraverts. They tend to seem quiet, low-key, deliberate, and less involved in the social world. Their lack of social involvement should not be interpreted as shyness or depression. Introverts simply need less stimulation than extraverts and more time alone. They may be very active and energetic, simply not socially. Extraversion indicates how outgoing and social a person is. A person who scores high in extraversion on a personality test is the life of the party. They enjoy being with people, participating in social gatherings, and are full of energy. A person low in extraversion is less outgoing and is more comfortable working by himself.
Agreeableness is a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. The trait reflects individual differences in general concern for social harmony. Agreeable individuals value getting along with others. They are generally considerate, friendly, generous, helpful, and willing to compromise their interests with others. Agreeable people also have an optimistic view of human nature. Although agreeableness is positively correlated with good team work skills, it is negatively correlated with leadership skills. Those who voice out their opinion in a team environment tend to move up the corporate rankings, whereas the ones that don’t remain in the same position, usually labelled as the followers of the team. Disagreeable individuals place self-interest above getting along with others. They are generally unconcerned with others’ well-being, and are less likely to extend themselves for other people. Sometimes their skepticism about others’ motives causes them to be suspicious, unfriendly, and uncooperative. A person with a high level of agreeableness in a personality test is usually warm, friendly, and tactful. They generally have an optimistic view of human nature and get along well with others. A person who scores low on agreeableness may put their own interests above those of others. They tend to be distant, unfriendly, and uncooperative.
Neuroticism is the tendency to experience negative emotions, such as anger, anxiety, or depression. It is sometimes called emotional instability, or is reversed and referred to as emotional stability. According to Eysenck’s (1967) theory of personality, neuroticism is interlinked with low tolerance for stress or aversive stimuli. Those who score high in neuroticism are emotionally reactive and vulnerable to stress. They are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening, and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. Their negative emotional reactions tend to persist for unusually long periods of time, which means they are often in a bad mood. These problems in emotional regulation can diminish the ability of a person scoring high on neuroticism to think clearly, make decisions, and cope effectively with stress. Lacking contentment in one’s life achievements can correlate to high Neuroticism scores and increase a person’s likelihood of falling into clinical depression. At the other end of the scale, individuals who score low in neuroticism are less easily upset and are less emotionally reactive. They tend to be calm, emotionally stable, and free from persistent negative feelings. Freedom from negative feelings does not mean that low scorers experience a lot of positive feelings. Research suggests extraversion and neuroticism are negatively correlated. Emotional stability refers to a person’s ability to remain stable and balanced. At the other end of the scale, a person who is high in neuroticism has a tendency to easily experience negative emotions. Neuroticism is similar but not identical to being neurotic in the Freudian sense. Some psychologists prefer to call neuroticism by the term emotional stability to differentiate it from the term neurotic in a career test