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Five Factor Model of Personality

Five Factor Model of Personality

Description:

This lesson will define the five factor model and identify the five universal dimensions of personality.

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Tutorial


What's Covered

This lesson is going to look at the Big Five trait theory of personality by covering:

  1. The Five Factor Model
  2. The Five Factors

1. The Five Factor Model

The Five Factor Model (or Big Five Theory), is one model in trait theory of personality. Personality is the basic, stable, and consistent quality that people show over time and in different kinds of situations. Personality traits are the building blocks of a person's sense of self, or who they are.

Term to Know

  • Five Factor Model of Personality (or Big Five Theory)
  • Based on collection of researchers data on hundreds of personality descriptions. Most can be grouped into five main categories.

Gordon Allport was one of the first major figures in trait theory, and he identified a list of over 4,500 different traits. This many traits proved difficult to identify and keep track of. Another psychologist named Raymond Cattell removed some of those uncommon traits from Allport's list and combined related ones. He, in the end, identified 16 factors. This led to the creation of the 16 personality factor questionnaire, or the 16 PF, which is a very commonly used personality test.

However, the most widely accepted of the trait theories, especially today, is the Big Five. This theory was first developed by Costa and McCrae in 1992, and has been developed upon by other personality theorists over time. The idea in this is to try to identify the basic important dimensions of personality. This is done by putting certain areas of personality within a scale from low to high.

Where a person falls on this scale in the five areas would indicate what type of traits they display. There is not necessarily a good side or a bad side to the Big Five scales, but it is important to know that there are definitely some aspects that are a bit more favorable than others. The five main areas are:

  • Openness to experience
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extroversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism

You can remember these different areas using an acronym like O.C.E.A.N. or C.A.N.O.E.


2. The Five Factors

Openess to Experience is how intellectually curious a person might be, or how appreciative they are of art, emotions, or fantasies; as well as how adventurous a person might be, how outgoing in terms of new experiences they are.

On the low side of openness, a person might be very down to earth, very routine, or very conventional. Someone very high in openness to experience might be very creative, imaginative, or prefer new experiences.

Example Thrill seekers.

Term to Know

  • Openness to Experience
  • Imaginative, likes variety, and independent

Conscientiousness refers to how organized, disciplined, or methodical someone might be. This scale also looks at how responsible someone is and how driven they are to succeed.

On the low side of conscientiousness, people are very disorganized, careless, easygoing, or relaxed. On the high end are people that are very efficient, well organized, and hard working.

ExampleA perfectionist is someone high in conscientiousness.

Term to Know

  • Conscientiousness
  • Organized, careful, and disciplined.

Extraversion refers to how socially outgoing a person might be as well as how expressive and talkative a person is. On the low end of extroversion, a person might be very quiet reserved or passive. They tend to sit back and tend not to express themselves very much.

Someone high in extroversion is very outgoing, very talkative, energetic, and affectionate. It is important to note that because someone is high is extroversion, it does not mean they are high is openness to experience as well.

ExampleSomeone high in extraversion would be the social butterfly or the life of the party.


Term to Know

  • Extraversion
  • Sociable, fun-loving, and affectionate

Agreeableness refers to how friendly, accepting, kind, and caring a person might be. This measures how positive someone is towards other people.

On the low end is somebody who's very cold, very withdrawn, suspicious, critical, or antagonistic towards other people. They are not just necessarily withdrawing from others, but are actively opposing them. Someone high in agreeableness is very trusting and very compassionate. They also tend to very cooperative.

ExampleA person who tries to sacrifice themselves for good causes.

Term to Know

  • Agreeableness
  • Softhearted, trusting, and helpful

Neuroticism/Emotional stability refers to how emotionally stable a person is and how likely a person is to experience negative or unpleasant emotions. On the low end, a person who is low in neuroticism is very calm, secure, confident, and even-tempered. They generally stay the same in terms of emotions. Somebody high in neuroticism is very sensitive to comments or to emotions. They are very self-conscious, temperamental, nervous and irritable.

ExampleSomeone who is neurotic may be nervous and constantly worried about other people's opinions.

Term to Know

  • Neuroticism/Emotional stability
  • Calm, secure, self-satisfied
  • Summary

The Five Factor Model is a model in trait theory of personality. This is the most widely accepted of the trait theories, and was developed by Costa and McCrae. It has five areas of personality on a scale from high to low. The Five Factors are: openness to new experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

Source: This work is adapted from Sophia Author Erick Taggart

TERMS TO KNOW
  • Five Factor Model of Personality(or Big Five Theory)

    Based on collection of researchers data on hundreds of personality descriptions Most can be grouped into five main categories:

  • Extraversion

    Sociable, fun-loving, and affectionate

  • Openness to Experience

    Imaginative, likes variety, and independent

  • Agreeableness

    Softhearted, trusting, and helpful

  • Conscientiousness

    Organized, careful, and disciplined.

  • Neuroticism/Emotional stability

    Calm, secure, self-satisfied