The Big Five Personality Traits

The Big Five Personality Traits

The Big Five personality traits refer to five personality dimensions used to describe the

personality of individuals. The Big Five model, also referred to as the Five Factor Model was

researched and developed by various independent researchers. These researchers defined the five

personality traits. Luis Thurstone came up with 60 adjectives to describe human personality in

1933. In 1936, Allport and Odbert found about 4500 adjectives in the English language that can

describe personality. Later, Raymond Cattell created the 16 personality factors model. In 1949,

Fiske discovered the five personality factors. In 1961, Tupes and Christal built on the work of

Cattell and Fiske to come up with the five personality factors used today. In 1963, the work of

Tupes and Christal was replicated by Norman who confirmed the five personality traits (Wiggins

9). Personality researchers have continued to acknowledge that the Five Factor Model is

fundamental in personality research. The Big Five traits include openness, conscientiousness,

extraversion, neuroticism and agreeableness. Each of the five traits encompasses other sub traits

(Matthews, Deary and Whiteman 34).

Openness to experience describes curious and inventive individuals versus cautious and

consistent ones. Open individuals appreciate beauty and art. They are curious and are more

conscious of their feelings. People who are not open to experience do not like complex situations

but tend to opt for simple and familiar ones. They are conservative and prefer the obvious. Their

interests are narrow and they are resistant to change. Although both open and closed thinking

styles are applicable in different settings, psychologists prefer openness (Judge, Heller and

Mount 530). The sub traits of openness include intellect, emotionality, imagination, liberalism,

adventurousness and artistic interests. Individuals with high intellect are open-minded and like

puzzles, debates and riddles. People with low intellect do not enjoy mind games and debates.


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