Many modern and traditional psychology studies point to five basic dimensions of personality. The evidence for this theory has grown over the years with the principle theory emerging in 1949. The five general personality traits described by the theory are extraversion (also often spelled extroversion), agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.

The five basic personality traits is a theory developed in 1949 by DW Fiske (1949) and later extended by other researchers such as Norman (1967), Smith (1967), Goldberg (1981), and McCrae & Costa (1987).

Researchers had spent years before trying to pin down character traits as a way to analyze people's behavior. At one point, Gordon Allport found more than 4,000 traits. Even when he was reduced to 16, it was considered too complicated. This is where the Big Five Personality Traits began.

These broad categories have been researched and developed over the years, and although there is an extensive study in each area, researchers do not always agree on the definition of each characteristic.

What are the big five personality traits?


Openness is a characteristic that includes imagination and insight. This personality trait is particularly high for the world, other people, and the eagerness to learn and experience new thingsIt leads to having a wide range of interests and being more adventurous in making decisions.

Creativity also plays an important role in the openness trait; this leads to a greater comfort zone when it comes to abstract and lateral thinking.

Think of that person who is always ordering the most exotic thing on the menu, going to different places, and having interests that you would never have thought of… is someone who has a high openness trait.

Anyone low in this trait tends to be seen as having more traditional approaches to life and may struggle when it comes to solving problems outside of their comfort zone of knowledge.


Conscientiousness is a trait that includes high levels of thoughtfulness, reasonable impulse control, and goal-directed behaviors. This organized and structured approach is often found in people working in science and even high-level retail finance, where detailed organization and guidance are required as a skill set.

A highly conscientious person will plan ahead and regularly analyze their own behavior to see how it affects others. Project management teams and human resources departments often have very conscientious people working on their teams to help balance structural roles within the overall development of the team.

A good example of a conscientious person would be someone you know who is always planning ahead for the next time you meet and in the meantime keeping in touch regularly to check on your well-being. They like to organize themselves around certain dates and events and focus on you when you meet.

People with low conscientiousness tend to dislike structure and schedules, put off important tasks, and fail to complete them.


Extraversion (sometimes called extroversion) is a trait that many will have encountered in their own lives. He is easily identifiable and widely recognizable as "someone who gets energized in the company of others."

This, among other traits including talkativeness, assertiveness, and a great deal of emotional expressiveness, has made extraverted people widely recognizable over many years of social interaction.

We all have a friend or family member, or several, who are not exactly wallflowers in social interaction. They thrive on being the center of attention, enjoy meeting new people, and somehow tend to have the best friends and groups of acquaintances you've ever met.

The opposite is, of course, someone else in our lives that we might meet, an introvert. They prefer solitude and have less energy in social situations. Being in the spotlight or having small talk can be quite exhausting.

Extroverts tend to be in very public roles that include areas like sales, marketing, teaching, and politics. Seen as leaders, extroverted people will be more likely to lead than to stand in the crowd and be seen to be doing nothing.


People who exhibit great kindness will show signs of trust, altruism, kindness, and affection. Highly agreeable people tend to have highly prosocial behaviors, meaning they are more inclined to help other people.

Sharing, comforting, and cooperating are traits that lend themselves to highly agreeable personality types. Empathy towards others is commonly understood as another form of liking, even if the term doesn't quite fit.

The opposite of agreeableness is unpleasantness, but it manifests itself in behavioral traits that are socially unpleasant. Manipulation and meanness towards others, lack of care or sympathy, and lack of interest in others and their problems are all quite common.

Likable people tend to find careers in areas where they can help the most. Workers in charity, medicine, mental health, and even those who volunteer at soup kitchens and spend time in the third sector (social studies) rank high on the likeability table.


Neuroticism is characterized by sadness, moodiness, and emotional instability. Often mistaken for antisocial behavior or worse, a larger psychological problem, neuroticism is a physical and emotional response to perceived stress and threats in a person's daily life.

People who exhibit high levels of neuroticism will tend to experience mood swings, anxiety, and irritability. Some people who experience sudden changes in character from a day-to-day perspective can be very neurotic and respond to high levels of stress in their work and personal lives.

Anxiety, which plays a major role in the makeup of neuroticism, is about an individual's ability to cope with stress and perceived or real risk. People suffering from neuroticism will overthink many situations and find it difficult to relax even in their own space.

Of course, those who rank lower on the neurotic level will exhibit a more stable and emotionally resistant attitude to stress and situations. Low neurotic sufferers rarely feel sad or depressed, taking time to focus on the present moment and not engaging in mental arithmetic about possible stress-inducing factors.

Who Developed the Big 5 Personality Traits?

Originally developed in 1949, the Big 5 personality traits is a theory established by DW Fiske and later expanded upon by other researchers, including Norman (1967), Smith (1967), Goldberg (1981), and McCrae & Costa (1987).

It is suggested that as early as the late 19th century, social psychologists were attempting to gain a more scientific understanding of personality, but it was not until the first official study in the 1930s by Gordon Allport and Henry Odbert that personality had any recognition. scientific. They took 18,000 words from Webster's Dictionary to describe personality traits and found adjectives that described non-physical characteristics creating a 4,500-word bank of observable behavioral markers.

Later studies were able to identify many overlaps and person-specific traits, which has allowed for a more condensed and comprehensive review of personality traits. The Big 5 is still widely used today as the basis for global studies.

What factors influence the Big 5 traits?

From nature and nurture to age and maturation, the Big 5 traits have been extensively studied where we can see what influences their impact on a person's behavior and character.

It has often been hypothesized that personality is a matter of nurture or nature. One study, in particular, looked at 123 pairs of identical twins and 127 pairs of fraternal twins. "The findings suggested that the heritability of each trait was 53 percent for extraversion, 41 percent for agreeableness, 44 percent for conscientiousness, 41 percent for neuroticism, and 61 percent for openness. ».

It has also been widely recognized that the older we get, the more our behavioral traits will change. We become less extraverted, less neurotic, and less open to new experiences, while our agreeableness and conscientiousness will grow as we age.

Are men and women different from the 5 big traits?

The general consensus is that men and women are actually more alike than normative social science would have us believe. But as the title suggests, there are some exceptions.

Weinsberg and DeYoung 2011 studied the Big Five traits and, in particular, gender differences in personality across the ten aspects of the Big Five. They concluded that women tend to score higher on extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism than men.

Other studies have concluded that while differences may be present, some traits are not far apart. Getting older will tend to align behavioral traits like agreeableness and extraversion, with both genders tending to score lower as timpasseson.

Big 5 Personality Traits Tests

We can successfully measure personality traits with different tools and techniques. All in all, these tests are trying to find out how much your behavior varies from high to low on the five traits they include; Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.

How are traits measured?

Traditionally, a Big 5 personality test is done with a quiz and a multiple choice answer.

For example, these questions will ask how much a person agrees or disagrees with being someone who exemplifies several specific statements, such as:

  • "Is open to trying new experiences" (for openness or open-mindedness)
  • “He is always thinking of others” (by conscience)
  • “He is the center of attention at a party” (for extroversion)
  • "It's trusting others" (out of kindness)
  • "He is anxious about the future all the time" (due to neuroticism or negative emotionality)

The responses Strongly Agree to Strongly Disagree (with alternatives in between) will determine on which scale the person can be grouped into different personality traits.

Are the Big Five Personality Tests Reliable?

Assessments based on the Big Five personality tests are very reliable, provided enough research has been done and verified.

It is, to date, the most scientifically validated and most reliable psychological model for measuring personality. It is used to help predict behavior and personality.

It remains a reliable model that companies and scientific studies have been able to use consistently over a long period to help create new models that predict someone's behavior at work, response to stressful situations, and even understanding of aspects of registered social studies.

How do the Big Five personality traits predict behavior at work?

When hiring employees (or testing current ones), the Big Five personality traits help us understand behavior in the workplace and accurately predict, in many cases, future performance. Each personality type will have an impact on the work environment and on the rest of the staff. Being able to identify where there could be a positive or negative impact can help influence decisions about hiring or retaining staff.

A candidate with a high opening score would be willing to learn new skills and tools. If they are presented with more abstract problems, they are more likely to think of abstract solutions and will focus on tackling new problems that may have been overlooked before.

Candidates with a high conscientiousness score wouldn't necessarily be sitting at their desks until midnight every night. However, they would be willing to do their jobs, meet deadlines and be entrepreneurial; requiring little hand grip to perform the task. Someone with a low score, on the other hand, would need much more focus, time, and attention on the task at hand.

Ideal extraversion scores would depend on the position you're hiring for. Considered by many to be leaders in a team, a high extraversion score would work well in environments where they thrive on interaction with others:; sales, marketing, and public relations require a level of people skills. However, more technical work setups where a specific approach or degree of isolation is needed would not be a good fit.

A candidate who displays great friendliness would suit a position where personal skills and the ability to be of service to others are needed. Of course, the opposite would be bad in a strong team environment and cause significant problems in working towards a common goal or task.

Finally, a candidate who exhibits high neuroticism will not be well-suited for a role in which there is constant change, tasks that require strong self-initiative tendencies, or high levels of stress. Those with low neuroticism scores, however, will thrive in these types of work settings.

These traits help us understand how we may behave in the future, in our workplace, and in certain circumstances such as. Businesses, they can identify future talent, derailers, and even the potential for success.

How can Thomas help him find the right person for his role?

Thomas ' Workplace Personality   Test covers areas of personality testing based on the Big 5 theory. Also known as the High Potential Trait Indicator (or HPTI), it provides valuable insight into a person's strengths and potential derailers, including their leadership potential.

Developed by Ian MacRae and Adrian Furnham in 2006, the HPTI has been designed based on an 'optimality' model, which assumes that personality traits can be considered 'optimal' based on the requirements of a position or job particular as a senior executive. leadership.

Based on a self-report questionnaire, responses have 7 levels of agreement on a 1-7 Likert scale (1 'strongly disagree' to 7 'strongly agree') with 78 unique items, and the test takes as little as 8 minutes to complete. to complete.