Big 5 Personality Traits

Big 5 Personality Traits

What Are the Big 5?

Psychological researchers sometimes use a five-factor model (FFM) to evaluate what are believed to be five core aspects, or traits, of an individual’s personality. Commonly referred to as the “Big 5,” these traits include openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion-introversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism; they are sometimes referred to collectively by the acronyms OCEAN or CANOE. Using a questionnaire-based testing, psychologists measure the degree to which each of these traits is individually expressed.

The FFM is used to help understand and predict relationships between various personality types and future success in social, academic, and professional relationships and circumstances. The model has been criticized for its limitations with respect to the number of personality traits evaluated, for the fact that it is a data-driven model and not based on any psychological theory, and for some inherent biases and other issues in methodology. Proponents of FFM say that this model delivers consistent study results, and that such a description of personality must come before, not after, a theory of personality. A more recently introduced six-factor model known as HEXACO adds the factor of honesty-humility to the original five traits, to incorporate a measure of ethical behavior into the mix when this trait is relevant to the research.

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