Five Dimensions of Personality

For centuries, and likely for as long as our species has existed, it has been recognized that different people have different personalities. Some people are very outgoing, some people are very reserved, some people are very calm and unflappable, some people are big worrywarts, some people are very diligent, some people are very careless, some people are very interested in new things, some people can’t stand anything new, etc.

But by the late twentieth century, psychologists have settled on the Five Factor Model, a.k.a. the Big Five (The Big Five (Wikipedia)). The model features five major personality traits, Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism, each with several subtraits. These traits are sometimes known by acronyms: OCEAN and CANOE.

It must also be noted that psychology has lacked Grand Unified Theories since the discrediting of Freudianism. So the Big Five model is a step forward in that direction.

Here are the traits:

  • Openness to Experience / Intellect — inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious — appreciation of various sorts of experience
    • +: original, creative, curious, complex
    • -: conventional, down to earth, narrow interests, uncreative
  • Conscientiousness — efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless — being self-disciplined, dutiful, aimed at achievement, and preferring planned to spontaneous action
    • +: reliable, well-organized, self-disciplined, careful
    • -: disorganized, undependable, negligent
  • Extraversion (Extroversion; opposite: Introversion) — outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved — having positive emotions, having lots of enthusiasm and energy, and seeking out the company of others
    • +: sociable, friendly, fun loving, talkative
    • :- introverted, reserved, inhibited, quiet
  • Agreeableness — friendly/compassionate vs. analytical/detached — being helpful and willing to get along with others, as opposed to being suspicious and antagonistic
    • +: good-natured, sympathetic, forgiving, courteous
    • -:  critical, rude, harsh, callous
  • Neuroticism (opposite: Emotional Stability) — sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident — tendency to experience negative emotions
    • +: nervous, high-strung, insecure, worrying
    • -: calm, relaxed, secure, hardy

I’ve found some online personality tests that use the Big Five:

Here is the consensus of my test results:

  • Openness: high
  • Conscientiousness: high
  • Extroversion: low
  • Agreeableness: medium
  • Neuroticism: low

Let’s see how you, my readers, score.


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