What Are the Big 5 Personality Traits?

What Are the Big 5 Personality Traits?

What Are the Big 5 Personality Traits?

Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism

The “Big 5” personality qualities are the five basic dimensions of personality, according to many modern personality psychologists. Extraversion (sometimes known as extroversion), agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism are the five main personality qualities.

Conscientiousness is thinking, openness is intrigue and creativity, extraversion is sociability, agreeableness is friendliness, openness is creativity, and neuroticism is frequently associated with melancholy or emotional instability.

Without taking a personality traits exam, you can gain insight into your own personality by understanding each personality trait and what it means to score well or poorly in that trait. Based on where they are on the continuum for each of the personality qualities described, it can also help you understand others better.

An Easy Way to Remember the Big 5

To remember the Big 5 personality qualities, some people use the abbreviation OCEAN (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism). Another choice is CANOE, which stands for conscientiousness, agreement, neuroticism, openness, and extraversion.

History of the 5-Factor Model of Personality

Long-standing trait theories of personality have sought to determine the precise number of qualities that exist. Different numbers have been proposed by earlier theories. For instance, Raymond Cattell identified 16 personality components, Gordon Allport provided a list of 4,000 personality qualities, and Hans Eysenck proposed a three-factor theory.

Many academics believed that Cattell’s theory was very complex and Eysenck’s was too constrained. As a result, the Big 5 personality traits emerged and are used to describe the broad traits that serve as building blocks of personality.

There are five key personality qualities, according to a number of researchers. Since D. W. Fiske’s research in 1949, which was later elaborated upon by others like Norman (1967), Smith (1967), Goldberg (1981), and McCrae & Costa, there has been rising evidence supporting this idea in psychology (1987).

The Big 5 Personality Traits

The Big 5 Personality Traits

It’s crucial to keep in mind that each of the five main personality qualities lies somewhere between two extremes. Extraversion, for instance, is a continuum that ranges from severe extraversion to extreme introversion. Most people in the actual world fall somewhere in the middle.

Although these core personality qualities are well supported by a large body of literature, researchers aren’t always in agreement on the precise names for each dimension. However, these five characteristics are typically explained as follows.


Of the five personality qualities, openness (also known as openness to experience) places the greatest emphasis on imagination and intuition. 1 High openness personality types frequently have a diverse range of interests. They are enthused to learn new things and relish new experiences because they are curious about the world and other people.

High performers in this personality attribute also frequently exhibit greater creativity and spontaneity. Conversely, those who score poorly on this personality attribute tend to be considerably more conventional and may have trouble thinking abstractly.


  • Really original
  • Willing to explore new avenues
  • Committed to taking on new challenges
  • I enjoy pondering abstract ideas.


  • Dislikes fluctuate
  • Doesn’t like trying new things
  • Resists innovation
  • Not terribly creative
  • Dislikes speculative or abstract concepts


Conscientiousness is a personality attribute characterised by high levels of thinking, effective impulse control, and goal-directed behaviours. People that are highly conscientious are usually well-organized and attentive to details. They are organised, considerate of others’ feelings, and deadline-conscious.

A person with a lower major personality attribute score is less ordered and structured. To finish tasks, they might put them off, perhaps entirely missing deadlines.


  • Invests time in planning
  • Completes vital things quickly
  • Pays attention to detail and finds a regular schedule enjoyable


  • Dislikes schedules and structure
  • Creates chaos and neglects to take care of things
  • Refuses to give things back or place them where they belong
  • Delays completing crucial tasks
  • Fails to finish required or assigned responsibilities


Extraversion, often known as extroversion, is a personality attribute characterised by high levels of emotional expressiveness, talkativeness, friendliness, and excitability. Extraverted individuals are gregarious and exude enthusiasm in social settings. They are invigorated and happy when they are around other people.

Those who score low on this personality trait or who are introverted typically exhibit greater reserve. They are less able to exert themselves in social situations, and social gatherings can be exhausting. Many times, introverts need some time alone and quiet to “recharge.”


  • Takes pleasure in being the centre of attention
  • Enjoys striking up discussions and meeting new individuals
  • Possesses a large network of friends and contacts
  • Has little trouble making new pals.
  • Energised by other people’s company
  • Say things before you give them any thought.


  • Prefers to be alone
  • Feels worn out after engaging in a lot of socialising
  • Struggles to strike up discussions
  • Dislikes chit-chatting
  • Speaks after carefully considering her words and dislikes being the centre of attention


Trustworthiness, benevolence, friendliness, affection, and other prosocial traits are included in this personality feature. 1 Individuals with high levels of agreeableness are more likely to be cooperative, whereas those with low levels of this personality trait are more likely to be aggressive and occasionally even manipulative.


  • Demonstrates a keen interest in people.
  • Respects others
  • Demonstrates compassion and concern for others
  • Enjoys assisting others and making a difference in their happiness
  • Helps those who are in need of assistance


  • Little interest in other people
  • Doesn’t give a damn about what others think
  • Has no concern in the issues that other people face
  • Belittles and insults others
  • Manipulates other people to achieve their goals


Sadness, irritability, and emotional instability are characteristics of neuroticism, a personality trait. High neurotic people frequently experience mood swings, anxiety, impatience, and melancholy. People who score lower on this personality trait tend to be more emotionally stable and resilient.


  • Is under a great deal of stress
  • Worry about a variety of issues
  • Gets irritated easily and experiences mood swings that are intense
  • Struggles to recover from traumatic experiences


  • Psychologically sound
  • Adapts well to stress
  • Hardly ever feels down or depressed
  • Has little anxiety and is very at ease

How to Use the Big 5 Personality Traits

It is possible to determine whether you are more or less likely to possess additional, more secondary personality qualities based on where you lie on the continuum for each of these five core traits.

Positive Personality Traits

Positivity is a quality that might be advantageous to possess. These qualities could improve your character or make it simpler for you to deal with difficulties you might encounter in life. Positive personality characteristics include:

  • Adaptable
  • Ambitious
  • Considerate
  • Cooperative
  • Friendly
  • Gracious
  • Humble
  • Insightful
  • Objective
  • Optimistic
  • Respectful
  • Steady
  • Thorough
  • Well-rounded

Negative Personality Traits

Characteristics with a negative outlook have the potential to cause more harm than good. These are characteristics that could make your life more difficult or harm your connections with others. (They’re also beneficial qualities to concentrate on for personal development.) The following are examples of unfavourable personality traits:

  • Aggressive
  • Arrogant
  • Cold
  • Deceptive
  • Egotistical
  • Guarded
  • Intolerant
  • Judgmental
  • Moody
  • Neglectful
  • Pompous
  • Selfish
  • Unreliable
  • Withdrawn

For instance, you are more likely to have the advantageous personality attribute of creativity if you score highly on openness. Low openness scores may increase your risk of having the unimaginative personality trait, which is a bad attribute.

Universality of Primary Personality Traits

Many psychologists now hold the view that the five personality dimensions are not only universal but also have biological roots as a result of this research. These five fundamental personality traits have an evolutionary basis, according to psychologist David Buss, who contends that they are the most significant characteristics that influence our social environment.

Factors Influencing Personality Traits

According to research, both biological and environmental factors contribute to the development of our personalities. According to twin studies, each of the five personality qualities is the result of both nature and upbringing.

One study examined 123 sets of identical twins and 127 sets of fraternal twins to examine the genetic and environmental bases of the five qualities. The results indicated that each personality trait’s heritability was as follows: extraversion was heritable in 53%, agreeableness in 41%, conscientiousness in 44%, neuroticism in 41%, and openness in 61%.

Additionally, longitudinal studies imply that these “big five” personality traits are generally quite stable throughout adulthood.

Studies suggest that the five personality qualities may change as people mature. People tend to become less neurotic, extraverted, and open to experiences as they become older. Conscientiousness and agreeableness, on the other hand, seem to rise with age.