The Five Big Factors of Personality

These refer to the five traits, dimensions or domains which broadly describes human personality. These are also known as the Big Five Factors or Five Factor Model or just FFM in short. Here is a list of the Big Five factors:

  1. Openness
  2. Conscientiousness
  3. Extroversion
  4. Agreeableness
  5. Neuroticism

There are also referred to by acronyms such as OCEAN, NEOAC or CANOE!

Each trait has an opposite trait and an individual may be anywhere at one end or between the two opposite traits. Here is a list of the Big Five Factors with each of the opposite traits.

  • Extroversion vs introversion
  • Agreeableness vs Antagonism
  • Conscientiousness vs Indirectness
  • Emotional Stability vs Neuroticism
  • Openness to Experience vs Not open to experience

The following table shows each trait dimension and endpoints of the Dimension.

Trait Dimension Endpoints of the Dimension
Emotional Stability Calm…..anxious
secure….insecure
Self-satisfied….Self-pitying
Extroversion Sociable….retiring
Fun-loving….sober
Affectionate….reserved
Openness Imaginative….practical
Preference for variety….preference for routine
Independent….conforming
Agreeableness Soft-hearted….ruthless
Trusting….suspicious
Helpful….uncooperative
Conscientiousness Organized….disorganized
Careful….careless
Disciplined….impulsive

Source: Adapted from McCrae & Costa (1986, p.1002)

Five Main Points

  1. A person who is independent and imaginative most clearly ranks high on the Big Five trait dimension known as openness.
  2. The tendency to show self-discipline, to be dutiful and to strive for achievement and competence is called Conscientiousness.
  3. A focus on describing, classifying, and measuring the ways in which individuals may differ from one another is most characteristic of the trait perspective.
  4. The three interactive factors that play a critical role in shaping our personality according to social learning theory are Cognitive factors, learning principles, and modeling.
  5. An individual’s scores on a personality inventory would be most useful for predicting how that person would typically behave across variety of different settings.
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