If you’ve ever wondered what makes up a balanced individual so have psychologists since the beginning of the discipline. Many renowned psychologists have put forth their view on what makes up a mature personality but after extensive research into the topic the following traits have become known as the Big 5 Personality Traits. How many do you have?
Extroversion can be quickly summarised as someone who is outgoing/energetic versus solitary/reserved. An extrovert tends to exhibit the following traits: energy, positive emotions, surgency, assertiveness, sociability and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others. Talkativeness is another trait of the extrovert. Be mindful that high extraversion is often perceived as attention-seeking and domineering even when the person doesn’t mean to be.
Low extroversion can be recognised in a person who exhibits a reserved, reflective personality, which unfortunately can be perceived as aloof or self-absorbed.
Agreeableness can be recognised in people who are friendly/compassionate versus analytical/detached. They have a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others. It is also a measure of one’s trusting and helpful nature, and whether a person is generally well-tempered or not. A down-side of having high agreeableness is that it is often perceived as being naive or submissive.
Conversely, low agreeableness personalities are often competitive or challenging people, which can be seen as argumentative or untrustworthy.
Conscientiousness, summarised as efficient/organized versus easy-going/careless, is a trait in a person who tends to be organized and dependable, they show self-discipline, act dutifully, aim for achievement, and prefer planned rather than spontaneous behavior. Unfortunately, if you rate high in conscientiousness people may perceive you as stubborn and obsessive.
A person scoring low on conscientiousness tends to be flexible and spontaneous, but can be perceived as sloppy and unreliable.
Neuroticism can be recognised in a person who is sensitive/nervous versus secure/confident. People who are high on the neuroticism scale tend to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and vulnerability. Neuroticism also refers to the degree of emotional stability and impulse control, sometimes termed ’emotional stability’. A high need for stability manifests as a stable and calm personality, but can be seen as uninspiring and unconcerned.
Conversely, a low need for stability causes a reactive and excitable personality. These individuals are often very dynamic but they can be perceived as unstable or insecure.
Openness to Experience
Openness to experience can be summarised as inventive/curious versus consistent/cautious. If you have a high degree of intellectual curiosity, creativity and a preference for novelty you are likely to score high in this personality trait. Openness to experience also takes into account if a person is imaginative or independent, and depicts a personal preference for a variety of activities over a strict routine. Something to be mindful of is a person with a high openness to experience can be perceived as unpredictable or have a lack of focus.
On the flip side, people with low openness generally seek to gain fulfillment through perseverance, and are characterized as pragmatic and data-driven. Scoring low on openness can lead to the perception of being dogmatic and closed-minded.
If you’re interested in finding out how you rate against the The Big 5, there’s a quick test you can take here.
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