Personality

Personality Traits

The Big 5 Personality Factors

Last updated:
18 Dec 2006

The Big Five Personality Factors

A strong consensus has emerged since the mid-1980's about the number and nature of personality traits. Five superordinate factors have emerged, often referred to to as the "Big Five" or the 5-factor model. These presence of these five factors is well supported by a wide variety of research.

Early evidence supporting a 5-factor model was published by Fiske, in 1949. During the 1980s and 1990s a vast array of research combined to support the five factor model. Not everyone however agrees in the naming of the five supertraits.

The 5-factor model is commonly measured by the NEO by McCrae and Costa (2003).

The Big 5 according to the NEO are Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness
to Experience, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness (Remember OCEAN, or NEOAC):

  • Neuroticism (Emotional Stability)

  • Extraversion (Introversion)

  • Openness to experience (Closedness to experiences)

  • Agreeableness (Disagreeableness)

  • Conscientiousness (Lack of conscientiousness)

Each Supertrait is measured by 6 facets (or subordinate traits). These are:

N

E

O

A

C

Anxiety

Warmth

Fantasy

Trust

Competence

Angry hostility

Gregariousness

Aesthetics

Straightforward-ness

Order

Depression

Assertiveness

Feelings

Altruism

Dutifulness

Self-consciousness

Activity

Actions

Compliance

Achievement striving

Impulsiveness

Excitement-seeking

Ideas

Modesty

Self Discipline

Vulnerability

Positive emotion

Values

Tender-mindedness

Deliberation

The "big 5" model is not without its criticisms, e.g., see Criticisms (Wikipedia).

References

McCrae, R. R., Costa, P. T. (2003). Personality in adulthood, a five-factor theory perspective (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press.