Personality traits & personality types: What is personality?

What makes them who? Each person has an idea of ​​the type of personality — whether they are bubbling or modest, sensitive or thick skin. Psychologists who seek to teach the science of who we are define personality as individual differences in the tendency of people to think, feel, and act.

You can find many quizzes and tests online that claim to measure your personality. Most of these are supported by very little evidence, and if you come across a system that claims to put all of humanity into just a handful of categories, it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that it’s oversimplified. .. Psychologists focus on personality traits rather than trying to break people down into “types.” Each trait occurs along the spectrum, the traits are independent of each other, creating an infinite constellation of human personality.

The feature with the most powerful research to support them is the Big Five:

  • Openness
  • Honesty
  • Extraversion
  • Cooperativeness
  • Neuroticism

Conveniently, these characteristics can be remembered in a convenient OCEAN mnemonic (or CANOE also works if needed).

The Big Five was developed by two research teams in the 1970s. These teams were led by Paul Costa and Robert R. McRae of the National Institutes of Health, Warren Norman and Lewis Goldberg of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of Oregon. Scientific American..

How universal is the Big Five? Evidence suggests that these traits are successfully translated across cultures. Led by McCrae Journal of Personality and Social Psychology The structure of the Big Five was found to be similar in 50 countries, and a 2017 survey was published in the journal. PLOS ONE The breakdown of personality traits was found to be very similar among the 22 countries. In fact, a person’s nationality contributes only 2% to his or her personality.

Still, there may be cultures that do not consider human characteristics from the perspective of the Big Five.For example, 2013 study Journal of Personality and Social Psychology It turns out that within the Bolivian foraging horticulturist Chimane, personality was considered only in line with two characteristics: sociality and diligence. This suggests that while the Big Five personality traits can be a by-product of living in large and complex societies, people in small traditional societies differ from other sets of traits. I will. One possibility is to allow societies that provide more social niches to people to produce more types of personality traits. Paul Smallino, a psychologist at the University of California, Merced, and Michael Gurven, an anthropologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Proposed..

But if you live in a large industrial society, the Big Five can do a pretty good job of summarizing you. You may have a little openness, a lot of honesty, an average amount of extroversion, a lot of pleasure, and little neuroticism. Or you may be very conscientious, a little introverted, uncomfortable, neurotic, and almost unopened. The following are associated with each characteristic.


Openness is an abbreviation for “openness to experience.” People with a high degree of openness enjoy adventures. They are curious and appreciate art, imagination, and new things. The motto of an open individual may be “diversity is the spice of life.”

People with low openness are the exact opposite. They prefer to stick to habits, avoid new experiences, and are probably not the most adventurous dieters.

According to a 2011 survey, openness may correlate with lifelong language intelligence and knowledge acquisition. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology. Open people enjoy novelty, which may motivate them to continue learning new things as they grow older.

Openness refers to how open a person is to a new experience. (Image credit: Getty Images / Naoi Ippei)


Conscientious people are organized and have a strong sense of duty. They are reliable, disciplined and focused on achievement. Without an itinerary, a conscientious type would not embark on a journey around the world. They are planners.

People with low integrity are more spontaneous and freewheeling. In extreme cases, they tend to be careless. Conscientiousness is a property that is useful to have because it is linked. Achievements at school and work..


Extraversion and introversion are probably the most recognizable personality traits of the Big Five. The more extroverted they are, the more they become social butterflies. Extra Baht is talkative and sociable, drawing energy from the crowd. They tend to be assertive and cheerful in their social interactions.

Introverts, on the other hand, need enough time alone. Introversion is often confused with shyness, but the two are not the same. Shyness means fear of social interaction or inability to function socially. Introversion can be completely attractive at a party — they prefer activities alone or in small groups.


Coordination measures the degree of warmth and kindness of a person. The more pleasant someone is, the more likely they are to be trustworthy, helpful and compassionate. Disgusting people are cold and suspicious of others, and are less likely to cooperate.

As you can imagine, there are benefits to collaboration.In a 25-year study published in Developmental psychology In 2002, cooperative children had fewer behavioral problems than less cooperative children, and cooperative adults had less depression and less work stability than less cooperative adults. it was high.

However, it is not always rewarded to be in favor. According to a 2011 survey, unpleasant men are better than pleasant men. (On the other hand, disgusting women did not see much increase in salary, probably because people are more strict about nonsense women than nonsense men. Researcher said.. ) Published in 2018 Personnel Psychology He suggested that disgusting men could reduce the pitch at home and spend more time and energy on work, thus making more than unpleasant men.


George Costanza of Sitcom’s “Seinfeld” for many years is the only way to understand neuroticism. George is famous for his neurosis, and Shaw blames his dysfunctional parents. He quit his job once because he was so worried about everything, obsessed with bacteria and illness, and overwhelmed by the anxiety of not having access to his private bathroom.

People who are prone to neurosis are often worried and more likely to develop anxiety and depression. People with neurosis tend to find anxiety if everything is going well. According to a 2012 study, salary increases for high-paying people with neurosis generate extra income. Did not really make them happy..People with a high neuroticism tend to experience many negative emotions, so the neuroticism is Onset of emotional disorders..

In contrast, people with a low neuroticism tend to be emotionally stable and calm.

Can I change my personality?

Changing personality was once thought to be very difficult, but there is accumulating evidence that personality can change in adulthood. In a 2011 study, people who took psilocybin, or Hallucinogen “Magic Mushroom” After the experience, it became more open.Recently, the hallucinogen MDMA Increases openness when used therapeutically, May help treat post-traumatic stress.

Psilocybe mexicana mushrooms (two in the center) and Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms (left and right) in Washington, DC, February 5, 2020, including Garin Doi variations.

Silo urinal mushrooms have hallucinogenic effects. (Image credit: Jahi Chikwendiu / Washington Post via Getty Images)

And you don’t necessarily have to go on a hallucinogen trip to make a real change. A study published in the January 2017 journal Psychological Bulletin integrated 207 published research papers. Personality may change with treatment.. Brent Roberts, a researcher and social and personality psychologist at the University of Illinois, said: But he goes on to say, “There is growing optimism that if you are willing to focus on one aspect of yourself and work on it systematically, you can influence changes in that area. “Continued.

Researchers have recently found that neuroticism is associated with mental health challenges. Relieve neuroticism through treatment.. Targeting neuroticism is expected to prevent the onset of disorders such as depression.

Personality also seems to change slowly but naturally in the course of a person’s life...As people get older, They will be more extroverted, less neurotic, more comfortable and more conscientious.

Other personality measures

The Big Five is the most research-backed, science-based personality trait ever identified, but there are other schemas for measuring personality. These don’t always tend to correlate with life outcomes like the Big Five, but people find them interesting and sometimes helpful in thinking about their attributes and goals. (Advanced Tip: If you claim that the system describes your personality based on your constellation, blood type, or Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, it’s just fun.)

Some of the most popular are 16 “types” of people based on their level of introversion or extroversion, information gathering style (sense for those who stick to the facts of nakedness or intuition for others). There are Myers Briggs type indicators to categorize (prefer to find patterns), their decision-making preferences (for those who prefer to think for those who like objectivity and facts, or for those who prefer to weigh personal concerns (I feel) and the tolerance of ambiguity when dealing with the outside world (things settled and recognized people accepting new information).

You may come across a version of Myers-Briggs online or at work retreats. These are very popular in the United States of America.But Studies on Myers Briggs Unreliable (meaning that taking a few tests will give different answers) and not particularly effective (meaning that people’s answers do not match very well with actual behavior or work results) I understand.

Another popular personality test is the Enneagram type indicator. It divides people into nine personality types and features additional “wing” types that cover other traits that people may sometimes view. However, the Enneagram does not have much of the scientific theory behind it, and few studies have shown it to be valid or reliable. The opposite.

Finally, you might run the 16Personalities test online. This test is based on Myers Briggs, but instead of identifying people with a four-letter string, it categorizes people into 16 categories suitable for social media, such as “diplomat” and “explorer.”

If you want to investigate personality tests other than the Big Five in detail, HEXACO personality test, Aims to be more internationally relevant than the Big Five. In personality studies, researchers found that outside the United States, the sixth trait continues to emerge. This property is in line with the spectrum of honesty-humility. An honest and humble person is humble, fair and sincere. People with low characteristics of bragging, greed, and glitz. Other than that, HEXACO’s inventory overlaps with the Big Five, measuring openness, integrity, coordination, extroversion, and emotion (similar to neuroticism).

Another personality test based on scientific theory Hogan personality test, Drawn from the Big Five, but with a particular focus on interpersonal relationships. This inventory measures people for characteristics such as ambition, sociability, sensitivity, and prudence.

Additional resources

Personality traits & personality types: What is personality? Source link Personality traits & personality types: What is personality?

Related Articles

Back to top button