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The Five Factors of Personality

What are the five factors of personality for a multicultural psychology class?

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What are the five factors of personality?

The Big Five are five broad factors (dimensions) of personality traits, including:

1. Extraversion (sometimes called Surgency). The broad dimension of Extraversion encompasses such more specific traits as talkative, energetic, and assertive.
2. Agreeableness. Includes traits like sympathetic, kind, and affectionate.
3. Conscientiousness. Includes traits like organized, thorough, and planful.
4. Neuroticism (sometimes reversed and called Emotional Stability). Includes traits like tense, moody, and anxious.
5. Openness to Experience (sometimes called Intellect or Intellect/Imagination). Includes traits like having wide interests, and being imaginative and insightful. (http://www.uoregon.edu/~sanjay/bigfive.html#whatisit)

Please see attached article as well as the extra information below for further discussion.


As you can see, each of the Big Five factors is quite broad and consists of a range of more specific traits. The Big Five structure was derived from statistical analyses of which traits tend to co-occur in people's descriptions of themselves or other people. The underlying correlations are probabilistic, and exceptions are possible. For example, talkativeness and assertiveness are both traits associated with Extraversion, but they do not go together by logical necessity: you could imagine somebody that is assertive but not talkative (the "strong, silent type"). However, many studies indicate that people who are talkative are usually also assertive (and vice versa), which is why they go together under the broader Extraversion factor.

For this reason, you should be clear about your research goals when choosing your measures. If you expect that you might need to make finer distinctions (such as between talkativeness and assertiveness), a broad-level Big Five instrument will not be enough. You could use one of the longer inventories that make facet-level distinctions (like the NEO PI-R or the IPIP scales - see below), or you could supplement a shorter inventory (like the Big Five Inventory) with additional scales that measure the specific dimensions that you are interested in.

It is also worth noting that there are many aspects of personality that are not subsumed within the Big Five. The term personality trait has a special meaning in personality psychology that is narrower than the everyday usage of the term. Motivations, emotions, attitudes, abilities, self-concepts, social roles, autobiographical memories, and life stories are just a few of the other "units" that personality psychologists study. Some of these other units may have theoretical or empirical relationships with the Big Five traits, but they are conceptually distinct. For this reason, even a very comprehensive profile of somebody's personality traits can only be considered a partial description of their personality.

1) What is the difference between the terms Big Five, Five-Factor Model, and Five-Factor Theory?

The Big Five are, collectively, a taxonomy of personality traits: a coordinate system that maps which traits go together. The Big Five are an empirically based phenomenon, not a theory of personality. The Big Five factors were discovered through a statistical procedure called factor analysis, which was used to analyze how various personality traits are ...