By Edward Diener and also Rictough E. Lucas

College of Utah, College of Virginia, Michigan State University

Personality traits reflect people’s characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and also actions. Personality traits imply consistency and also stability—someone that scores high on a certain trait favor Extravariation is meant to be sociable in different instances and over time. Thus, trait psychology rests on the concept that civilization differ from one an additional in terms of where they stand on a set of fundamental trait dimensions that persist over time and across situations. The the majority of extensively supplied device of traits is referred to as the Five-Factor Model. This device includes five wide traits that have the right to be remembered with the acronym OCEAN: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extravariation, Agreeableness, and also Neuroticism. Each of the significant traits from the Big Five can be divided right into facets to offer a much more fine-grained analysis of someone"s personality. In addition, some trait theorists argue that tright here are other traits that cannot be entirely recorded by the Five-Factor Model. Critics of the trait principle argue that civilization execute not act continuously from one instance to the following and that civilization are very influenced by situational pressures. Therefore, one significant conflict in the field concerns the loved one power of people’s traits versus the cases in which they discover themselves as predictors of their behavior.

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Learning Objectives

List and also explain the “Big Five” (“OCEAN”) personality traits that consist of the Five-Factor Model of personality.Describe just how the facet approach extends broad personality traits.Explain a critique of the personality-trait idea.Describe in what methods personality traits may be shown up in everyday behavior.Describe each of the Big Five personality traits, and also the low and also high end of the measurement.Give examples of each of the Big Five personality traits, including both a low and also high example.Describe exactly how traits and also social learning combine to predict your social tasks.Describe your concept of just how personality traits acquire sleek by social finding out.Introduction

When we observe human being about us, among the initially things that strikes us is how different world are from one another. Some human being are extremely talkative while others are incredibly quiet. Some are energetic whereas others are couch potatoes. Some concern a lot, others virtually never seem anxious. Each time we usage among these words, words choose “talkative,” “quiet,” “active,” or “anxious,” to define those around us, we are talking around a person’s personalitythe characteristic methods that civilization differ from one one more. Personality psychologists attempt to describe and also understand these differences.

“Are you an introvert”? In well-known society it’s common to talk around people being introverts or extroverts as if these were specific descriptions that meant the same point for everyone. But study reflects that these traits and others are quite variable within individuals.

Although tbelow are many ways to think about the individualities that people have, Gordon Allport and various other “personologists” declared that we have the right to ideal understand also the differences in between people by understanding their personality traits. Personality traits reflect basic dimensions on which world differ (Matthews, Deary, & Whitemale, 2003). According to trait psychologists, tbelow are a limited number of these dimensions (dimensions choose Extravariation, Conscientiousness, or Agreeableness), and each individual falls somewbelow on each measurement, definition that they can be low, medium, or high on any particular trait.

An important function of personality traits is that they reflect constant distributions fairly than distinct personality kinds. This suggests that as soon as personality psychologists talk around Introverts and also Extraverts, they are not really talking around two unique kinds of human being that are completely and also qualitatively different from one one more. Instead, they are talking around people who score reasonably low or fairly high alengthy a constant circulation. In truth, as soon as personality psychologists meacertain traits favor Extravariation, they typically uncover that most human being score somewhere in the middle, through smaller numbers mirroring more excessive levels. The number below reflects the distribution of Extraversion scores from a survey of countless civilization. As you can see, the majority of world report being moderately, but not very, extraverted, with fewer people reporting very high or exceptionally low scores.

Figure 1. Distribution of Extraversion Scores in a Sample Higher bars suppose that more world have scores of that level. This figure shows that most world score towards the middle of the extraversion scale, with fewer people who are extremely extrescaped or extremely introverted.

Tbelow are 3 criteria that are characterize personality traits: (1) consistency, (2) stcapacity, and (3) individual distinctions.

To have a personality trait, people must be somewhat consistent across situations in their actions regarded the trait. For instance, if they are talkative at residence, they tfinish also to be talkative at work-related.Individuals through a trait are additionally somewhat secure over time in habits pertained to the trait. If they are talkative, for example, at age 30, they will certainly additionally tfinish to be talkative at age 40.People differ from one another on actions regarded the trait. Using speech is not a personality trait and neither is walking on 2 feet—basically all individuals do these activities, and there are virtually no individual differences. But people differ on how generally they talk and also exactly how active they are, and hence personality traits such as Talkativeness and also Activity Level carry out exist.

A obstacle of the trait technique was to uncover the major traits on which all civilization differ. Scientists for many years generated thousands of brand-new traits, so that it was shortly hard to store track and make sense of them. For instance, one psychologist might focus on individual differences in “friendliness,” whereas another could focus on the extremely connected principle of “sociability.” Scientists started seeking ways to minimize the variety of traits in some methodical means and to find the basic traits that describe most of the differences between people.

The method that Gordon Allport and also his colleague Henry Odbert approached this wregarding search the dictionary for all descriptors of personality (Allport & Odbert, 1936). Their method was guided by the lexical hypothesis, which states that all essential personality attributes need to be reflected in the language that we use to explain other people. Thus, if we want to understand also the basic ways in which human being differ from one another, we deserve to turn to the words that world usage to define one another. So if we desire to know what words civilization usage to describe one another, where need to we look? Allport and Odbert looked in the most obvious place—the dictionary. Specifically, they took all the personality descriptors that they could find in the dictionary (they began with practically 18,000 words however easily decreased that list to a more controlled number) and also then provided statistical approaches to recognize which words “went together.” In various other words, if everyone who sassist that they were “friendly” likewise shelp that they were “sociable,” then this might expect that personality psychologists would certainly only require a single trait to capture individual differences in these qualities. Statistical techniques were provided to recognize whether a tiny number of dimensions can underlie all of the countless words we use to explain world.

The Five-Factor Model of Personality

Research that offered the lexical approach verified that many of the personality descriptors discovered in the dictionary perform indeed overlap. In various other words, many kind of of the words that we usage to describe civilization are synonyms. Hence, if we want to understand what a perkid is like, we carry out not necessarily should ask just how sociable they are, exactly how friendly they are, and exactly how gregarious they are. Instead, bereason sociable human being tfinish to be friendly and also gregarious, we have the right to summarize this personality dimension with a solitary term. Someone who is sociable, friendly, and gregarious would commonly be defined as an “Extravert.” Once we understand she is an extravert, we have the right to assume that she is sociable, friendly, and also gregarious.

Statistical approaches (especially, a technique dubbed aspect analysis) helped to determine whether a little number of dimensions underlie the diversity of words that world choose Allport and also Odbert established. The many commonly embraced device to emerge from this technique was “The Big Five” or “Five-Factor Model” (Goldberg, 1990; McCrae & John, 1992; McCrae & Costa, 1987). The Big Five comprises 5 major traits displayed in the Figure 2 below. A way to remember these 5 is with the acronym OCEAN (O is for Openness; C is for Conscientiousness; E is for Extraversion; A is for Agreeableness; N is for Neuroticism). Figure 3 gives descriptions of human being who would score high and low on each of these traits.

Figure 2. Descriptions of the Big Five Personality Traits
Figure 3. Example actions for those scoring low and high for the significant 5 traits

Scores on the Big Five traits are mostly independent. That implies that a person’s standing on one trait tells exceptionally bit about their standing on the various other traits of the Big Five. For instance, a perboy have the right to be extremely high in Extravariation and be either high or low on Neuroticism. Similarly, a perkid deserve to be low in Agreeableness and also be either high or low in Conscientiousness. Hence, in the Five-Factor Model, you need 5 scores to describe many of an individual’s personality.

In the Appendix to this module, we present a short range to assess the Five-Factor Model of personality (Donnellan, Oswald, Baird, & Lucas, 2006). You deserve to take this test to see where you stand in terms of your Big Five scores. John Johnchild has actually also developed a advantageous website that has personality scales that deserve to be supplied and also taken by the general public:

After seeing your scores, you have the right to judge for yourself whether you think such tests are valid.

Traits are necessary and also amazing because they define secure fads of actions that persist for long durations of time (Caspi, Roberts, & Shiner, 2005). Importantly, these steady fads have the right to have actually broad-varying after-effects for many locations of our life (Roberts, Kuncel, Shiner, Caspi, & Goldberg, 2007). For circumstances, think around the factors that determine success in college. If you were asked to guess what factors predict good qualities in college, you might guess somepoint favor knowledge. This guess would be correct, yet we know a lot even more around who is likely to carry out well. Specifically, personality researchers have actually additionally uncovered the personality traits prefer Conscientiousness play an important duty in college and also past, probably because extremely conscientious people examine hard, get their work done on time, and are much less distracted by nonimportant tasks that take time amethod from college work. In enhancement, highly conscientious people are regularly healthier than civilization low in conscientiousness because they are even more likely to preserve healthy and balanced diets, to exercise, and to follow fundamental safety and security measures prefer wearing seat belts or bicycle helmets. Over the lengthy term, this continuous pattern of actions deserve to add up to systematic distinctions in wellness and also longevity. Thus, personality traits are not just a valuable method to explain people you know; they actually aid psychologists predict exactly how good a worker someone will certainly be, exactly how lengthy he or she will live, and the forms of work and also tasks the perboy will gain. Hence, there is thriving interemainder in personality psychology among psychologists that occupational in used settings, such as health psychology or organizational psychology.

Facets of Traits (Subtraits)

So how does it feel to be told that your whole personality deserve to be summarized with scores on simply five personality traits? Do you think these 5 scores capture the intricacy of your very own and also others’ characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and also behaviors? Most human being would more than likely say no, pointing to some exemption in their habits that goes versus the general pattern that others might see. For circumstances, you might understand human being who are heat and also friendly and also discover it easy to talk with strangers at a party yet are terrified if they have to percreate in front of others or stop to large groups of people. The fact that tright here are different means of being extrescaped or conscientious reflects that tright here is worth in considering lower-level devices of personality that are more specific than the Big Five traits. These more certain, lower-level units of personality are frequently referred to as facets.

Figure 4. Facets of Traits

To offer you a sense of what these narrow systems are like, Figure 4 shows facets for each of the Big Five traits. It is necessary to note that although personality researchers mainly agree about the value of the Big Five traits as a means to summarize one’s personality, tbelow is no commonly accepted list of facets that need to be studied. The list checked out below, based on occupational by researchers Paul Costa and also Jeff McCrae, hence reflects simply one feasible list among many type of. It must, but, give you an idea of some of the facets making up each of the Five-Factor Model.

Facets have the right to be valuable because they provide more certain descriptions of what a perboy is prefer. For instance, if we take our friend who loves parties however hates public speaking, we could say that this perboy scores high on the “gregariousness” and “warmth” facets of extravariation, while scoring reduced on facets such as “assertiveness” or “excitement-seeking.” This specific profile of facet scores not just gives a better summary, it might also allow us to better predict just how this frifinish will certainly carry out in a selection of various work (for example, tasks that call for public speaking versus work that involve one-on-one interactions via customers; Paunonen & Ashton, 2001). Since various facets within a large, international trait like extravariation tend to go together (those that are gregarious are frequently however not constantly assertive), the broad trait regularly offers a helpful summary of what a perchild is prefer. But once we really desire to recognize a perchild, facet scores add to our knowledge in crucial methods.

Other Traits Beyond the Five-Factor Model

Regardless of the popularity of the Five-Factor Model, it is certainly not the only design that exists. Some imply that tbelow are more than five significant traits, or possibly also fewer. For example, in one of the initially comprehensive models to be proposed, Hans Eysenck said that Extravariation and also Neuroticism are a lot of essential. Eysenck thought that by combining people’s standing on these 2 major traits, we might account for many of the differences in personality that we see in people (Eysenck, 1981). So for instance, a neurotic introvert would certainly be shy and also nervous, while a steady introvert could stop social cases and favor solitary tasks, yet he might execute so via a calm, steady perspective and little bit tension or eactivity. Interestingly, Eysenck attempted to attach these two significant dimensions to underlying distinctions in people’s biology. For circumstances, he suggested that introverts knowledgeable too much sensory stimulation and also arousal, which made them desire to seek out quiet settings and also less stimulating atmospheres. More freshly, Jeffrey Gray suggested that these 2 broad traits are pertained to fundamental reward and avoidance devices in the brain—extraverts can be encouraged to seek reward and thus exhilittle bit assertive, reward-seeking actions, whereas people high in neuroticism might be motivated to avoid punishment and thus may endure stress and anxiety as a result of their heightened awareness of the risks in the world around them (Gray, 1981. This model has because been updated; view Gray & McNaughton, 2000). These early theories have caused a burgeoning interemainder in identifying the physiological underpinnings of the individual distinctions that we observe.

Anvarious other revision of the Big Five is the HEXACO version of traits (Ashton & Lee, 2007). This model is similar to the Big Five, yet it posits slightly various versions of some of the traits, and its proponents argue that one essential course of individual distinctions was omitted from the Five-Factor Model. The HEXACO adds Honesty-Humility as a sixth measurement of personality. People high in this trait are sincere, fair, and modest, whereas those low in the trait are manipulative, narcissistic, and also self-centered. Hence, trait philosophers are agreed that personality traits are vital in understanding actions, however tright here are still discussions on the exact number and also complace of the traits that are most necessary.

Tbelow are various other important traits that are not consisted of in comprehensive models choose the Big Five. Although the 5 determinants capture much that is vital around personality, researchers have suggested other traits that capture exciting aspects of our actions. In Figure 5 below we current just a few, out of hundreds, of the other traits that have been studied by personologists.

Figure 5. Other Traits Beyond Those Included in the Big Five

Not all of the over traits are currently renowned via scientists, yet each of them has competent popularity in the previous. Although the Five-Factor Model has actually been the taracquire of more rigorous research study than some of the traits over, these additional personality characteristics give a good principle of the wide selection of actions and also mindsets that traits can cover.

The Person-Situation Debate and Alternatives to the Trait Perspective
The way human being behave is just in part a product of their organic personality. Situations additionally influence just how a perboy behaves. Are you for instance a “different person” as a student in a classroom compared to as soon as you’re a member of a close-knit social group?

The ideas described in this module have to more than likely seem acquainted, if not apparent to you. When asked to think about what our friends, adversaries, family members, and colleagues are favor, some of the first points that concerned mind are their personality features. We can think about just how warmth and valuable our first teacher was, exactly how irresponsible and caremuch less our brother is, or just how demanding and insulting our initially boss was. Each of these descriptors mirrors a personality trait, and the majority of of us generally think that the descriptions that we usage for people accurately reflect their “characteristic pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors,” or in other words, their personality.

But what if this principle were wrong? What if our idea in personality traits were an illusion and also world are not continual from one case to the next? This was a opportunity that shook the foundation of personality psychology in the late 1960s once Walter Mischel publimelted a book called Personality and also Assessment (1968). In this book, Mischel suggested that if one looks very closely at people’s actions throughout many different instances, the consistency is really not that exceptional. In other words, children that cwarmth on tests at school might steadfastly follow all rules when playing games and may never before tell a lie to their parents. In other words, he suggested, tright here might not be any kind of basic trait of honesty that links these seemingly related habits. Additionally, Mischel suggested that observers may believe that wide personality traits like honesty exist, when in truth, this belief is an illusion. The dispute that followed the publication of Mischel’s book was called the person-situation conflict bereason it pitted the power of personality against the power of situational determinants as components of the behavior that world exhilittle bit.

Since of the findings that Mischel emphasized, many type of psychologists concentrated on an different to the trait perspective. Instead of researching wide, context-totally free descriptions, like the trait terms we’ve defined so far, Mischel believed that psychologists need to emphasis on people’s distinctive reactions to specific instances. For circumstances, although tright here might not be a vast and basic trait of honesty, some kids may be particularly likely to cwarmth on a test as soon as the threat of being caught is low and the rewards for cheating are high. Others might be urged by the sense of threat involved in cheating and also might do so also once the rewards are not incredibly high. Thus, the behavior itself outcomes from the child’s distinctive testimonial of the threats and also rewards present at that moment, together with her review of her abilities and also values. Because of this, the very same child can act extremely differently in different instances. Thus, Mischel believed that certain actions were driven by the interactivity in between exceptionally certain, psychologically meaningful attributes of the situation in which human being discovered themselves, the person’s distinctive method of perceiving that case, and his or her abilities for dealing with it. Mischel and also others argued that it was these social-cognitive processes that underlie people’s reactions to particular situations that administer some consistency when situational functions are the exact same. If so, then researching these wide traits might be even more fruitful than cataloging and also measuring narrow, context-free traits like Extravariation or Neuroticism.

In the years after the publication of Mischel’s (1968) book, debates raged about whether personality truly exists, and if so, exactly how it have to be stupassed away. And, as is frequently the case, it transforms out that a more moderate middle ground than what the situationists proposed could be reached. It is certainly true, as Mischel stated, that a person’s behavior in one particular case is not a good guide to how that person will behave actually in a very different certain case. Someone who is exceptionally talkative at one certain party may sometimes be reticent to sheight up during class and might also act like a wallflower at a different party. But this does not suppose that personality does not exist, nor does it mean that people’s habits is completely established by situational components. Indeed, research study performed after the person-situation dispute reflects that on average, the effect of the “situation” is around as huge as that of personality traits. However, it is likewise true that if psychologists assess a broad selection of behaviors across many type of different cases, there are general tendencies that emerge. Personality traits give an indication about exactly how world will act on average, but frequently they are not so excellent at predicting how a perkid will certainly act in a specific situation at a particular minute in time. Thus, to best capture broad traits, one have to assess aggregate actions, averaged over time and also across many kind of various kinds of cases. Most modern personality researchers agree that tbelow is a place for wide personality traits and also for the narrower devices such as those studied by Walter Mischel.


The Mini-IPIP Scale

(Donnellan, Oswald, Baird, & Lucas, 2006)

Instructions: Below are phrases describing people’s actions. Please usage the rating range listed below to describe how accurately each statement describes you. Describe yourself as you mostly are currently, not as you wish to be in the future. Describe yourself as you honestly check out yourself, in relation to other world you recognize of the exact same sex as you are, and also around your very same age. Please check out each statement closely, and also put a number from 1 to 5 beside it to explain just how accurately the statement describes you.

1 = Very inaccurate

2 = Moderately inaccurate

3 = Neither inspecific nor accurate

4 = Moderately accurate

5 = Very accurate

_______ Am the life of the party (E)_______ Sympathize through others’ feelings (A)_______ Get chores done best amethod (C)_______ Have constant mood swings (N)_______ Have a vivid creative thinking (O)_______Don’t talk a lot (E)_______ Am not interested in other people’s troubles (A)_______ Often forget to put things ago in their proper location (C)_______ Am relaxed most of the moment (N)______ Am not interested in abstract concepts (O)______ Talk to most various people at parties (E)______ Feel others’ emovements (A)______ Like order (C)______ Get upcollection quickly (N)______ Have obstacle expertise abstract concepts (O)______ Keep in the background (E)______ Am not really interested in others (A)______ Make a mess of things (C)______ Seldom feel blue (N)______ Do not have actually a great creativity (O)

Scoring: The first thing you have to perform is to reverse the items that are worded in the opposite direction. In order to do this, subtract the number you put for that item from 6. So if you put a 4, for instance, it will end up being a 2. Cross out the score you put once you took the scale, and also put the new number in representing your score subtracted from the number 6.

Items to be reversed in this way: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

Next off, you need to include up the scores for each of the five OCEAN scales (consisting of the reversed numbers wright here relevant). Each OCEAN score will certainly be the amount of four items. Place the amount next to each range below.

__________ Openness: Add items 5, 10, 15, 20

__________ Conscientiousness: Add items 3, 8, 13, 18

__________ Extraversion: Add items 1, 6, 11, 16

__________ Agreeableness: Add items 2, 7, 12, 17

__________ Neuroticism: Add items 4, 9,14, 19

Compare your scores to the standards listed below to view where you stand also on each scale. If you are low on a trait, it suggests you are the opposite of the trait label. For instance, low on Extraversion is Introversion, low on Openness is Conventional, and low on Agreeableness is Assertive.

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19–20 Extremely High, 17–18 Very High, 14–16 High,

11–13 Neither high nor low; in the middle, 8–10 Low, 6–7 Very low, 4–5 Extremely low

Outside Resources

Video 1: Gabriela Cintron’s – 5 Factors of Personality (OCEAN Song). This is a student-made video which cleverly describes, with song, common behavioral features of the Big 5 personality traits. It was one of the winning entries in the 2016-17 Noba + Psi Chi Student Video Award.