By Edward Diener and also Richard E. Lucas

University of Utah, college of Virginia, Michigan State University

Personality traits reflect people’s characteristic trends of thoughts, feelings, and also behaviors. Personality traits indicate consistency and stability—someone that scores high ~ above a details trait prefer Extraversion is expected to it is in sociable in various situations and over time. Thus, trait psychology rests on the idea that civilization differ indigenous one an additional in terms of where they stand on a set of straightforward trait dimensions the persist gradually and across situations. The many widely used device of traits is called the Five-Factor Model. This system includes five large traits that deserve to be remembered through the acronym OCEAN: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and also Neuroticism. Every of the significant traits indigenous the huge Five can be split into facets to provide a more fine-grained evaluation of someone"s personality. In addition, some trait theorists argue that there are various other traits that cannot be totally captured through the Five-Factor Model. Movie critics of the trait ide argue that human being do not act consistently from one case to the next and also that world are really influenced by situational forces. Thus, one significant debate in the field comes to the loved one power the people’s traits matches the situations in i m sorry they find themselves as predictors of your behavior.

You are watching: A relatively consistent characteristic that exists across situations is called ________.

Learning Objectives

List and describe the “Big Five” (“OCEAN”) personality traits that comprise the Five-Factor version of personality.Describe exactly how the facet method extends wide personality traits.Explain a critique that the personality-trait concept.Describe in what ways personality traits may be shown up in daily behavior.Describe every of the large Five personality traits, and also the low and also high end of the dimension.Give instances of each of the huge Five personality traits, consisting of both a low and also high example.Describe just how traits and also social learning combine to predict her social activities.Describe your concept of how personality traits gain refined by social learning.Introduction

When us observe people roughly us, among the an initial things that strikes united state is just how different people are native one another. Some people are really talkative while rather are really quiet. Some are active whereas others are couch potatoes. Some issue a lot, others almost never it seems ~ anxious. Every time us use one of these words, words favor “talkative,” “quiet,” “active,” or “anxious,” to describe those about us, we space talking around a person’s personalitythe characteristic methods that civilization differ from one another. Personality psychologists try to describe and also understand this differences.

“Are friend an introvert”? In popular society it’s usual to talk around people being introverts or extroverts as if these were precise descriptions that meant the exact same thing because that everyone. But research mirrors that this traits and others are rather variable in ~ individuals.

Although there are many ways come think around the personalities that civilization have, Gordon Allport and other “personologists” asserted that us can ideal understand the differences in between individuals by understanding their personality traits. Personality characteristics reflect basic dimensions on which world differ (Matthews, Deary, & Whiteman, 2003). According to characteristics psychologists, there room a limited number of these dimensions (dimensions favor Extraversion, Conscientiousness, or Agreeableness), and each individual falls somewhere on each dimension, meaning that they could be low, medium, or high on any details trait.

An crucial feature that personality traits is that they reflect constant distributions rather than distinct personality types. This method that once personality psychologists talk about Introverts and Extraverts, they are not really talking around two distinct types of civilization who are totally and qualitatively various from one another. Instead, they are talking around people that score relatively low or relatively high follow me a consistent distribution. In fact, as soon as personality psychologists measure traits choose Extraversion, they frequently find the most world score what in the middle, with smaller sized numbers showing more extreme levels. The figure below shows the distribution of Extraversion scores from a survey of countless people. Together you can see, most people report gift moderately, but not extremely, extraverted, through fewer civilization reporting very high or very low scores.

Figure 1. Circulation of Extraversion Scores in a Sample higher bars median that much more people have scores of that level. This figure shows the most civilization score towards the center of the extraversion scale, with fewer people who are highly extraverted or extremely introverted.

There space three criteria that space characterize personality traits: (1) consistency, (2) stability, and also (3) individual differences.

To have actually a personality trait, people must be somewhat consistent across situations in their behaviors related come the trait. Because that example, if they room talkative at home, lock tend likewise to be talkative in ~ work.Individuals with a trait are also somewhat stable gradually in habits related to the trait. If they are talkative, for example, at period 30, castle will also tend to it is in talkative at age 40.People different from one an additional on behaviors related to the trait. Making use of speech is no a personality trait and neither is go on 2 feet—virtually all people do this activities, and there are practically no individual differences. But people differ on how generally they talk and how active they are, and thus personality characteristics such as Talkativeness and task Level do exist.

A an obstacle of the trait approach was to find the major traits on i beg your pardon all civilization differ. Scientists for plenty of decades created hundreds of new traits, so the it was soon difficult to save track and also make feeling of them. For instance, one psychologist could focus top top individual distinctions in “friendliness,” whereas one more might focus on the extremely related ide of “sociability.” Scientists started seeking means to reduce the variety of traits in some systematic way and to find the simple traits that describe most of the differences in between people.

The way that Gordon Allport and also his colleague Henry Odbert approached this was to find the thesaurus for every descriptors the personality (Allport & Odbert, 1936). Their approach was guided by the vocabulary hypothesis, which claims that all necessary personality qualities should be reflect in the language the we use to explain other people. Therefore, if we want to know the basic ways in which human being differ indigenous one another, we have the right to turn come the native that people use to explain one another. Therefore if we desire to know what words people use to explain one another, where need to we look? Allport and Odbert looked in the most apparent place—the dictionary. Specifically, they took every the personality descriptors the they might find in the thesaurus (they began with nearly 18,000 words but quickly reduced that list to a an ext manageable number) and then used statistical techniques to recognize which words “went together.” In various other words, if everyone who said that they were “friendly” likewise said that they were “sociable,” then this might mean the personality psychologists would only require a solitary trait to record individual distinctions in this characteristics. Statistical techniques were provided to recognize whether a small number of dimensions could underlie all of the countless words we use to describe people.

The Five-Factor version of Personality

Research that offered the lexical method showed that many of the personality descriptors uncovered in the thesaurus do undoubtedly overlap. In other words, countless of the words that we use to describe world are synonyms. Thus, if we want to know what a person is like, we execute not necessarily have to ask exactly how sociable lock are, exactly how friendly they are, and how gregarious they are. Instead, since sociable world tend to it is in friendly and also gregarious, we have the right to summarize this personality measurement with a single term. Someone that is sociable, friendly, and gregarious would typically be defined as one “Extravert.” once we know she is an extravert, we have the right to assume that she is sociable, friendly, and gregarious.

Statistical approaches (specifically, a an approach called variable analysis) aided to recognize whether a small variety of dimensions underlie the diversity of words that civilization like Allport and Odbert identified. The many widely embraced system to emerge from this strategy was “The large Five” or “Five-Factor Model” (Goldberg, 1990; McCrae & John, 1992; McCrae & Costa, 1987). The big Five comprises five significant traits shown in the figure 2 below. A method to mental these 5 is with the acronym ocean (O is for Openness; C is for Conscientiousness; E is because that Extraversion; A is for Agreeableness; N is for Neuroticism). Number 3 offers descriptions of human being who would certainly score high and low on each of this traits.

Figure 2. Descriptions of the big Five Personality Traits
Figure 3. Example habits for those scoring low and also high for the huge 5 traits

Scores ~ above the large Five properties are largely independent. That method that a who standing ~ above one trait speak very small about their standing ~ above the various other traits of the huge Five. For example, a person have the right to be very high in Extraversion and be either high or low on Neuroticism. Similarly, a person have the right to be short in Agreeableness and also be either high or short in Conscientiousness. Thus, in the Five-Factor Model, you need five scores to define most of an individual’s personality.

In the Appendix come this module, we present a short scale to evaluate the Five-Factor version of personality (Donnellan, Oswald, Baird, & Lucas, 2006). You have the right to take this test to check out where you stand in regards to your huge Five scores. Man Johnson has additionally created a advantageous website that has actually personality scale that can be used and taken by the basic public:

After seeing her scores, you deserve to judge for you yourself whether friend think together tests space valid.

Traits space important and interesting due to the fact that they explain stable trends of behavior that persist for lengthy periods of time (Caspi, Roberts, & Shiner, 2005). Importantly, these steady patterns have the right to have broad-ranging consequences for many areas of our life (Roberts, Kuncel, Shiner, Caspi, & Goldberg, 2007). Because that instance, think about the determinants that identify success in college. If you to be asked to guess what components predict good grades in college, you can guess something like intelligence. This guess would be correct, but we know much much more about that is most likely to perform well. Specifics personality researcher have likewise found the personality traits like Conscientiousness play vital role in college and beyond, probably because highly conscientious people study hard, obtain their job-related done ~ above time, and are less distracted through nonessential activities that take it time away from college work. In addition, very conscientious human being are often healthier than civilization low in conscientiousness since they are more likely come maintain healthy and balanced diets, come exercise, and to follow basic safety measures like wearing seat belts or bicycle helmets. Over the long term, this continual pattern of behaviors can include up to systematic differences in health and longevity. Thus, personality traits are not just a useful way to describe human being you know; they actually help psychologists suspect how good a worker someone will be, exactly how long he or she will certainly live, and also the varieties of jobs and activities the human will enjoy. Thus, over there is farming interest in personality psychology among psychologists who work in used settings, together as health and wellness psychology or business psychology.

Facets of traits (Subtraits)

So just how does it feeling to be told that your entire personality deserve to be summarized through scores on just 5 personality traits? carry out you think these five scores catch the intricacy of her own and others’ characteristic trends of thoughts, feelings, and also behaviors? Most human being would probably say no, pointing to some exception in their habits that goes against the basic pattern that others could see. For instance, you may know human being who room warm and also friendly and find it easy to talk with strangers at a party yet space terrified if they have to perform in front of others or speak to large groups that people. The reality that there are different ways of gift extraverted or conscientious shows that over there is value in considering lower-level units of personality the are much more specific than the huge Five traits. These much more specific, lower-level units of personality room often dubbed facets.

Figure 4. Facets of Traits

To give you a sense of what these small units are like, number 4 shows facets for each of the large Five traits. It is crucial to note that return personality researchers generally agree around the value of the large Five traits together a way to summary one’s personality, there is no widely welcomed list the facets that need to be studied. The list seen here, based upon work by researchers Paul Costa and Jeff McCrae, hence reflects simply one feasible list amongst many. It should, however, offer you an idea of some of the facets making up each that the Five-Factor Model.

Facets can be useful due to the fact that they provide much more specific descriptions of what a human being is like. For instance, if we take our friend that loves parties but hates windy speaking, we could say the this person scores high ~ above the “gregariousness” and “warmth” facets of extraversion, if scoring lower on facets such as “assertiveness” or “excitement-seeking.” This precise profile of page scores not only offers a better description, it could also permit us to better predict just how this girlfriend will execute in a variety of various jobs (for example, work that call for public speak versus jobs that show off one-on-one interactions with customers; Paunonen & Ashton, 2001). Due to the fact that different facets within a broad, global trait like extraversion have tendency to go together (those who are gregarious space often but not always assertive), the large trait frequently provides a useful an overview of what a human being is like. But when we really desire to understand a person, side scores include to our expertise in vital ways.

Other Traits beyond the Five-Factor Model

Despite the popularity of the Five-Factor Model, the is definitely not the only model that exists. Some indicate that over there are much more than five major traits, or perhaps even fewer. Because that example, in one of the first comprehensive models to it is in proposed, Hans Eysenck said that Extraversion and Neuroticism are many important. Eysenck thought that by combining people’s standing on these two major traits, we could account for countless of the differences in personality the we check out in people (Eysenck, 1981). So because that instance, a neurotic introvert would be shy and also nervous, while a secure introvert can avoid social situations and prefer solitary activities, but he may do so v a calm, steady perspective and small anxiety or emotion. Interestingly, Eysenck check to link these two significant dimensions come underlying differences in people’s biology. Because that instance, he argued that introverts skilled too lot sensory stimulation and arousal, which made them want to look for out quiet settings and less stimulating environments. More recently, Jeffrey Gray argued that these two wide traits are associated to basic reward and avoidance equipment in the brain—extraverts might be urged to seek reward and thus exhibition assertive, reward-seeking behavior, whereas human being high in neuroticism can be motivated to avoid punishment and thus may experience tension as a an outcome of your heightened awareness of the dangers in the world about them (Gray, 1981. This version has due to the fact that been updated; check out Gray & McNaughton, 2000). These early theories have led to a burgeoning interest in identifying the physiological underpinnings the the individual distinctions that we observe.

Another review of the large Five is the HEXACO model of traits (Ashton & Lee, 2007). This model is comparable to the huge Five, however it posits slightly different versions of some of the traits, and also its advocates argue the one important course of individual distinctions was omitted from the Five-Factor Model. The HEXACO adds Honesty-Humility as a sixth dimension of personality. Human being high in this trait space sincere, fair, and also modest, conversely, those short in the trait room manipulative, narcissistic, and also self-centered. Thus, trait theorists are agreed that personality characteristics are necessary in knowledge behavior, but there are still discussions on the precise number and also composition the the traits the are many important.

There are other essential traits that are not contained in an extensive models prefer the large Five. Back the 5 factors capture much the is important around personality, researcher have said other traits that record interesting elements of ours behavior. In number 5 listed below we current just a few, out of hundreds, that the other traits that have been learned by personologists.

Figure 5. Various other Traits past Those included in the huge Five

Not every one of the above traits are right now popular through scientists, yet each that them has experienced popular in the past. Return the Five-Factor Model has been the target of an ext rigorous study than few of the characteristics above, these added personality features give a good idea of the wide selection of behaviors and also attitudes the traits have the right to cover.

The Person-Situation dispute and alternatives to the properties Perspective
The means people act is just in part a product that their natural personality. Situations also influence just how a human behaves. Are you for circumstances a “different person” as a student in a classroom compared to once you’re a member of a close-knit society group?

The principles described in this module should more than likely seem familiar, if not apparent to you. When asked come think around what our friends, enemies, household members, and colleagues space like, some of the very first things that pertained to mind space their personality characteristics. We might think about how warm and also helpful our first teacher was, just how irresponsible and also careless our brothers is, or just how demanding and also insulting our very first boss was. Every of this descriptors mirrors a personality trait, and also most the us usually think that the descriptions the we usage for people accurately reflect your “characteristic pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors,” or in various other words, your personality.

But what if this idea to be wrong? What if our id in personality traits were an illusion and people space not continuous from one situation to the next? This to be a possibility that shook the structure of personality psychology in the late 1960s once Walter Mischel published a book called Personality and also Assessment (1968). In this book, Mischel said that if one looks carefully at people’s behavior across many different situations, the consistency is really not that impressive. In other words, children who cheat ~ above tests in ~ school may steadfastly follow every rules as soon as playing games and also may never tell a lie to their parents. In various other words, the suggested, there may not be any kind of general trait of honesty that links these seemingly related behaviors. Furthermore, Mischel argued that observers may think that wide personality traits prefer honesty exist, when in fact, this belief is one illusion. The controversy that complied with the publishing of Mischel’s book was dubbed the person-situation debate since it pitted the strength of personality against the power of situational factors as factors of the behavior that human being exhibit.

Because the the findings that Mischel emphasized, plenty of psychologists concentrated on an alternate to the characteristics perspective. Rather of studying broad, context-free descriptions, like the trait state we’ve defined so far, Mischel believed that psychologists should emphasis on people’s distinctive reactions to details situations. For instance, although there might not be a vast and basic trait the honesty, some kids may be particularly likely come cheat top top a test when the threat of being recorded is low and the rewards because that cheating space high. Others can be urged by the feeling of risk affiliated in cheating and also may do so also when the rewards space not really high. Thus, the habits itself outcomes from the child’s distinctive evaluation the the risks and rewards present at the moment, in addition to her evaluation of she abilities and values. Since of this, the same child could act really differently in different situations. Thus, Mischel thought that details behaviors were pushed by the interaction between really specific, psychologically coherent features of the situation in which human being found themselves, the person’s unique method of perceiving the situation, and also his or she abilities for dealing with it. Mischel and others said that it to be these social-cognitive procedures that underlie people’s reaction to certain situations that carry out some consistency once situational functions are the same. If so, then studying these large traits can be an ext fruitful 보다 cataloging and measuring narrow, context-free traits prefer Extraversion or Neuroticism.

In the year after the publication of Mischel’s (1968) book, disputes raged about whether personality important exists, and also if so, just how it should be studied. And, together is regularly the case, it turns out the a much more moderate center ground than what the situationists proposed can be reached. That is certainly true, as Mischel spicy out, that a person’s behavior in one specific situation is no a an excellent guide to just how that human being will law in a an extremely different specific situation. Someone that is very talkative in ~ one particular party may sometimes be reticent to speak up throughout class and also may also act prefer a wallflower at a various party. However this go not median that personality does no exist, no one does it average that people’s habits is fully determined by situational factors. Indeed, research conducted after the person-situation debate shows the on average, the result of the “situation” is around as big as that of personality traits. However, that is likewise true that if psychologists evaluate a broad selection of behaviors throughout many various situations, there are basic tendencies the emerge. Personality traits offer an indication about how people will action on average, however frequently they are not so an excellent at predicting how a human will act in a particular situation at a specific moment in time. Thus, to finest capture large traits, one need to assess aggregate behaviors, averaged over time and across many different types of situations. Most modern-day personality researcher agree the there is a location for wide personality traits and for the narrower systems such together those learned by Walter Mischel.


The Mini-IPIP Scale

(Donnellan, Oswald, Baird, & Lucas, 2006)

Instructions: below are phrases describing people’s behaviors. Please usage the rating scale listed below to define how accurately every statement describes you. Define yourself together you usually are now, no as you great to be in the future. Define yourself as you honestly check out yourself, in relationship to other world you know of the very same sex as you are, and roughly your exact same age. Please check out each explain carefully, and also put a number from 1 come 5 next to it to describe how correctly the statement defines you.

1 = really inaccurate

2 = moderately inaccurate

3 = neither inaccurate no one accurate

4 = center accurate

5 = very accurate

_______ am the life the the party (E)_______ Sympathize through others’ feelings (A)_______ gain chores done ideal away (C)_______ Have regular mood ferris wheel (N)_______ have a vivid creativity (O)_______Don’t talk a lot (E)_______ Am not interested in various other people’s difficulties (A)_______ regularly forget to put things back in their appropriate place (C)_______ to be relaxed most of the moment (N)______ Am not interested in abstract ideas (O)______ speak to a lot of different human being at parties (E)______ feeling others’ emotions (A)______ prefer order (C)______ obtain upset quickly (N)______ Have difficulty understanding abstract principles (O)______ keep in the elevator (E)______ Am not really interested in others (A)______ make a mess of points (C)______ seldom feel blue (N)______ perform not have actually a great imagination (O)

Scoring: The an initial thing you must do is to reverse the item that space worded in the contrary direction. In order to perform this, subtract the number you placed for that item from 6. For this reason if you put a 4, because that instance, that will come to be a 2. Cross the end the score you put when you took the scale, and put the brand-new number in representing her score subtracted indigenous the number 6.

Items to be reversed in this way: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

Next, you require to add up the scores because that each the the five OCEAN scales (including the reversed numbers wherein relevant). Each ocean score will be the amount of four items. Ar the sum alongside each scale below.

__________ Openness: include items 5, 10, 15, 20

__________ Conscientiousness: add items 3, 8, 13, 18

__________ Extraversion: include items 1, 6, 11, 16

__________ Agreeableness: add items 2, 7, 12, 17

__________ Neuroticism: add items 4, 9,14, 19

Compare your scores to the norms listed below to view where you stand on every scale. If you room low ~ above a trait, it way you space the the contrary of the properties label. Because that example, low on Extraversion is Introversion, low on Openness is Conventional, and low on Agreeableness is Assertive.

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19–20 very High, 17–18 very High, 14–16 High,

11–13 no high no one low; in the middle, 8–10 Low, 6–7 an extremely low, 4–5 extremely low

Outside Resources

Video 1: Gabriela Cintron’s – 5 components of Personality (OCEAN Song). This is a student-made video which cleverly describes, through song, common behavior characteristics the the big 5 personality traits. The was among the to win entries in the 2016-17 Noba + Psi Chi Student video clip Award.