The 5-Factor Model of Personality (2022)

Neuroticism vs. Emotional Stability

Those who score high on neuroticism often feel anxious, insecure and self-pitying. They are often perceived as moody and irritable. They are prone to excessive sadness and low self-esteem.

Those who score low on neuroticism are more likely to calm, secure and self-satisfied. They are less likely to be perceived as anxious or moody. They are more likely to have high self-esteem and remain resilient.

Stability of the Traits

People’s scores of the Big Five remain relatively stable for most of their life with some slight changes from childhood to adulthood. A study by Soto & John (2012) attempted to track the developmental trends of the Big Five traits.

They found that overall agreeableness and conscientiousness increased with age. There was no significant trend for extraversion overall although gregariousness decreased and assertiveness increased.

Openness to experience and neuroticism decreased slightly from adolescence to middle adulthood. The researchers concluded that there were more significant trends in specific facets (i.e. adventurousness and depression) rather than in the Big Five traits overall.

Factors that Influence the Big 5

Like with all theories of personality, the Big Five is influenced by both nature and nurture. Twin studies have found that the heritability (the amount of variance that can be attributed to genes) of the Big Five traits is 40-60%.

Jang et al. (1996) conducted a study with 123 pairs of identical twins and 127 pairs of fraternal twins. They estimated the heritability of conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience, and extraversion to be 44%, 41%, 41%, 61%, and 53%, respectively.

This finding was similar to the findings of another study, where the heritability of conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience and extraversion were estimated to be 49%, 48%, 49%, 48%, and 50%, respectively (Jang et al., 1998).

Such twin studies demonstrate that the Big Five personality traits are significantly influenced by genes and that all five traits are equally heritable. Heritability for males and females do not seem to differ significantly (Leohlin et al., 1998).

Studies from different countries also support the idea of a strong genetic basis for the Big Five personality traits (Riemann et al., 1997; Yamagata et al., 2006).

Differences in the Big Five personality traits between genders have been observed, but these differences are small compared to differences between individuals within the same gender.

Costa et al. (2001) gathered data from over 23,000 men and women in 26 countries. They found that “gender differences are modest in magnitude, consistent with gender stereotypes, and replicable across cultures” (p. 328).

Women reported themselves to be higher in Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Warmth (a facet of Extraversion), and Openness to Feelings compared to men. Men reported themselves to be higher in Assertiveness (a facet of Extraversion) and Openness to Ideas.

Another interesting finding was that bigger gender differences were reported in Western, industrialized countries. Researchers proposed that the most plausible reason for this finding was attribution processes.

(Video) The Big Five Personality Traits

They surmised that actions of women in individualistic countries would be more likely to be attributed to her personality whereas actions of women in collectivistic countries would be more likely to be attributed to their compliance with gender role norms.

Behavioral Outcomes

Relationships

In marriages where one partner scores lower than the other on agreeableness, stability, and openness, there is likely to be marital dissatisfaction (Myers, 2011).

Health

Neuroticism seems to be a risk factor for many health problems, including depression, schizophrenia, diabetes, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and heart disease (Lahey, 2009).

People high in neuroticism are particularly vulnerable to mood disorders such as depression. Low agreeableness has also been linked to higher chances of health problems (John & Srivastava, 1999).

There is evidence to suggest that conscientiousness is a protective factor against health diseases. People who score high in conscientiousness have been observed to have better health outcomes and longevity (John & Srivastava, 1999).

Researchers believe that such is due to conscientious people having regular and well-structured lives, as well as the impulse control to follow diets, treatment plans, etc.

Education

A high score on conscientiousness predicts better high school and university grades (Myers, 2011). Contrarily, low agreeableness and low conscientiousness predict juvenile delinquency (John & Srivastava, 1999).

Work

Conscientiousness is the strongest predictor of all five traits for job performance (John & Srivastava, 1999). A high score of conscientiousness has been shown to relate to high work performance across all dimensions.

The other traits have been shown to predict more specific aspects of job performance. For instance, agreeableness and neuroticism predict better performance in jobs where teamwork is involved.

However, agreeableness is negatively related to individual proactivity. Openness to experience is positively related to individual proactivity but negatively related to team efficiency (Neal et al., 2012).

Extraversion is a predictor of leadership, as well as success in sales and management positions (John & Srivastava, 1999).

Limitations of the Big Five

Descriptor Rather Than a Theory

The Big Five was developed to organize personality traits rather than as a comprehensive theory of personality.

Therefore, it is more descriptive than explanatory and does not fully account for differences between individuals (John & Srivastava, 1999). It also does not sufficiently provide a causal reason for human behavior.

Cross-Cultural Validity

Although the Big Five has been tested in many countries and its existence is generally supported by findings (McCrae, 2002), there have been some studies that do not support its model. Most previous studies have tested the presence of the Big Five in urbanized, literate populations.

(Video) The Five-Factor Model of Personality Traits aka "The Big Five"

A study by Gurven et al. (2013) was the first to test the validity of the Big Five model in a largely illiterate, indigenous population in Bolivia. They administered a 44-item Big Five Inventory but found that the participants did not sort the items in consistency with the Big Five traits.

More research in illiterate and non-industrialized populations is needed to clarify such discrepancies.

Is 5 Really the Magic Number?

A common criticism of the Big Five is that each trait is too broad. Although the Big Five is useful in terms of providing a rough overview of personality, more specific traits are required to be of use for predicting outcomes (John & Srivastava, 1999).

There is also an argument from psychologists that more than five traits are required to encompass the entirety of personality.

A new model, HEXACO, was developed by Kibeom Lee and Michael Ashton, and expands upon the Big Five Model. HEXACO retains the original traits from the Big Five Model but contains one additional trait: Honesty-Humility, which they describe as the extent to which one places others’ interests above their own.

About the Author

Annabelle Lim is a second-year student majoring in psychology and minoring in educational studies at Harvard College. She is interested in the intersections between psychology and education, as well as psychology and the law.

How to reference this article:

How to reference this article:

Lim, A (2020, June 15). The big five personality traits. Simply Psychology. www.simplypsychology.org/big-five-personality.html

APA Style References

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Fiske, D. W. (1949). Consistency of the factorial structures of personality ratings from different sources. The Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 44(3), 329-344. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0057198

(Video) The Big 5 OCEAN Traits Explained - Personality Quizzes

Grohol, J. M. (2019, May 30). The Big Five Personality Traits. PsychCentral. Retrieved 10 June 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-big-five-personality-traits

Gurven, M., von Rueden, C., Massenkoff, M., Kaplan, H., & Lero Vie, M. (2013). How universal is the Big Five? Testing the five-factor model of personality variation among forager-farmers in the Bolivian Amazon. Journal of personality and social psychology, 104(2), 354–370. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0030841

Jang, K. L., Livesley, W. J., & Vemon, P. A. (1996). Heritability of the Big Five Personality Dimensions and Their Facets: A Twin Study. Journal of Personality, 64(3), 577–592. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.1996.tb00522.x

Jang, K. L., McCrae, R. R., Angleitner, A., Riemann, R., & Livesley, W. J. (1998). Heritability of facet-level traits in a cross-cultural twin sample: Support for a hierarchical model of personality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(6), 1556–1565.

John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. (1999). The Big-Five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. In L. A. Pervin & O. P. John (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (Vol. 2, pp. 102–138). New York: Guilford Press.

Lahey B. B. (2009). Public health significance of neuroticism. The American psychologist, 64(4), 241–256. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015309

Loehlin, J. C., McCrae, R. R., Costa, P. T., & John, O. P. (1998). Heritabilities of Common and Measure-Specific Components of the Big Five Personality Factors. Journal of Research in Personality, 32(4), 431–453. https://doi.org/10.1006/jrpe.1998.2225

McCrae, R. R. (2002). Cross-Cultural Research on the Five-Factor Model of Personality. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 4(4). https://doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1038

Myers, David G. (2011). Psychology (10th ed.). Worth Publishers.

Neal, A., Yeo, G., Koy, A., & Xiao, T. (2012). Predicting the form and direction of work role performance from the Big 5 model of personality traits. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 33(2), 175–192. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.742

Riemann, R., Angleitner, A., & Strelau, J. (1997). Genetic and Environmental Influences on Personality: A Study of Twins Reared Together Using the Self‐ and Peer Report NEO‐FFI Scales. Journal of Personality, 65(3), 449-475.

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2012). Development of Big Five Domains and Facets in Adulthood: Mean-Level Age Trends and Broadly Versus Narrowly Acting Mechanisms. Journal of Personality, 80(4), 881–914. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2011.00752.x

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(Video) The Five Factor Model or Big Five (Intro Psych Tutorial #138)

Keep Learning

Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)Light Triad Personality TraitsDark Triad Personality TraitsIntroverts and ExtrovertsMcCrae, R. R., & Terracciano, A. (2005). Universal features of personality traits from the observer's perspective: data from 50 cultures. Journal of personality and social psychology, 88(3), 547. Cobb-Clark, DA & Schurer, S. The stability of big-five personality traits. Economics Letters. 2012; 115(2): 11–15. Marsh, H. W., Nagengast, B., & Morin, A. J. (2013). Measurement invariance of big-five factors over the life span: ESEM tests of gender, age, plasticity, maturity, and la dolce vita effects. Developmental psychology, 49(6), 1194. Power RA, Pluess M. Heritability estimates of the Big Five personality traits based on common genetic variants. Transl Psychiatry. 2015;5:e604. Personality TheoriesType A and B PersonalityPersonality Theories Book Chapter The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology

How to reference this article:

How to reference this article:

Lim, A (2020, June 15). The big five personality traits. Simply Psychology. www.simplypsychology.org/big-five-personality.html

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FAQs

What are the Big 5 personality models? ›

These five primary personality traits are extraversion (also often spelled extroversion), agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.

Who developed the 5 factor model of personality? ›

Robert McCrae and Paul Costa went on to develop the Five-Factor Model (FFM), describing the personality in terms of five broad factors. Psychologist Lewis Goldberg used the term the 'Big Five' and developed the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP), the first psychometric test.

What is the Five Factor Model of personality used for? ›

The Five Factor Model is used because it is a comprehensive measure of personality that is based on empirical evidence. The model has been found to be valid and reliable in predicting various outcomes, such as job performance, occupational interests, and personality disorders.

What are the five basic personality factors? ›

Personality traits are understood as patterns of thought, feeling, and behaviour that are relatively enduring across an individual's life span. The traits that constitute the five-factor model are extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

What is Big Five model explain with examples? ›

The Big Five Model, also referred to as the Five-Factor Model, is a famous personality theory that describes personality as the play between five personality traits or factors. These factors or characteristics include openness to experience, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion and neuroticism.

What is the most important Big 5 personality trait? ›

It has been shown over and over again that the two major personality traits most predictive of well-being in the Big Five model are high extraversion and low neuroticism.

What are the Big 5 personality traits quizlet? ›

The five factors have been defined as openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, often listed under the acronyms OCEAN or CANOE. Beneath each proposed global factor, a number of correlated and more specific primary factors are claimed.

Why is it called the Big 5 personality traits? ›

The Big Five is so named because the model proposes that human personality can be measured along five major dimensions, each of which is distinct and independent from the others. The Big Five model is also sometimes called OCEAN or CANOE, both acronyms of the five personality traits.

What are the Big 5 personality factors and how do they relate to leadership? ›

In a meta-analytic review of the research, the five-factor characteristics extraversion, intellectual curiosity (or openness to experience), emotional stability, and conscientiousness were also associated with leadership effectiveness and leadership emergence (Judge et al., 2002), making these traits particularly ...

What are the Big 5 and why are they called that? ›

The term “Big Five” originally referred to the difficulty in hunting the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo. These five large African mammal species were known to be dangerous and it was considered a feat by trophy hunters to bring them home.

What is an example of a big 5 personality trait? ›

The Big Five personality traits are broad domains/dimensions of personality and include the following traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (under the acronym, OCEAN).

What are the five factors on the Big Five personality test? ›

To assess standing along five major dimensions of personality: (1) extraversion, (2) agreeableness, (3) conscientiousness, (4) neuroticism, and (5) openness.

Why is the Big Five personality test reliable? ›

The test measures the five main dimensions of personality and the 30 underlying facets. This makes it a scientific instrument, which, moreover, has a high degree of reliability. has a high validity and a representative and recently assembled norm group used.

Can Big 5 change personality? ›

In particular, they talk about the "Big Five": openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Evidence suggests that these traits aren't fixed at all, and some research shows you can intentionally change these personality traits.

What are the Big 5 traits describe each of the 5? ›

The Big Five personality traits are extraversion (also often spelled extroversion), agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. Each trait represents a continuum. Individuals can fall anywhere on the continuum for each trait. The Big Five remain relatively stable throughout most of one's lifetime.

Does Myers Briggs use big 5? ›

The Enneagram and the Myers-Briggs pull from the science-based Big Five.

What is an example of a big 5 personality trait? ›

The Big Five personality traits are broad domains/dimensions of personality and include the following traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (under the acronym, OCEAN).

Is MBTI based on Big 5? ›

This five-factor model, or the Big 5, is said to be the foundation of personality characteristics, and the MBTI personality assessment and Enneagram typology system actually pull from the Big 5 theory. But this does not mean these personality assessments are the same.

What is Big 5 personality test describe the 5 factors OCEAN? ›

Big 5 personality traits tests

All in all, these tests are trying to discover how much your behaviour varies from high to low in the five traits which include; Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.

How do you read the Big 5 personality test? ›

Your results are presented on a scale from 1 to 10. This is a standard scale that reflects the normal distribution of the psychological trait in the population. In easier words, your score can tell how you compare to others. If you have a score of 5, it means that 50% of people scored lower, and 50% higher than you.

Is the Big 5 scientifically proven? ›

Strengths: The Big Five model has been studied by psychologists and is considered to have the most scientific validity and reliability. Big Five has been proven to have precise, accurate measurements for its individual traits.

Why is the Big 5 better than the MBTI? ›

Furthermore, unlike the MBTI, the Big Five has immense predictive power. The Big Five comprises the following traits; Openness-to-Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism.

What is the Big 5 personality test called? ›

This self-report test measures the big five personality traits using the IPIP Big-Five Factor Markers. The big five personality traits are the best accepted and most commonly used model of personality in academic psychology.

What are the Big 5 personality factors and how do they relate to leadership? ›

In a meta-analytic review of the research, the five-factor characteristics extraversion, intellectual curiosity (or openness to experience), emotional stability, and conscientiousness were also associated with leadership effectiveness and leadership emergence (Judge et al., 2002), making these traits particularly ...

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