The five factors of the OCEAN models are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism.
Agreeableness is a personality trait manifesting itself in individual behavioral characteristics that are perceived as kind, sympathetic, cooperative, warm and considerate. In contemporary personality psychology, agreeableness is one of the five major dimensions of personality structure, reflecting individual differences in cooperation and social harmony. People who score high on this dimension tend to believe that most people are honest, decent, and trustworthy.
People scoring low on agreeableness are generally less concerned with others' well-being and report having less empathy. Therefore, these individuals are less likely to go out of their way to help others. Low agreeableness is often characterized by skepticism about other people's motives, resulting in suspicion and unfriendliness. People very low on agreeableness have a tendency to be manipulative in their social relationships. They are also more likely to compete than to cooperate.
Agreeableness is considered to be a superordinate trait, meaning that it is a grouping of personality sub-traits that cluster together statistically. The lower-level traits, or facets, grouped under agreeableness are: trust, straightforwardness, altruism, compliance, modesty, and tender-mindedness.
Like all Big Five personality traits, the roots of the modern concept of agreeableness can be traced to a 1936 study by Gordon Allport and Henry S. Odbert. Seven years later, Raymond Cattell published a cluster analysis of the thousands of personality-related words identified by Allport and Odbert. The clusters identified in this study served as a foundation for Cattell's further attempts to identify fundamental, universal, human personality factors. He eventually settled on 16 personality factors through the use of factor analysis. Further factor analyses revealed five higher-order, or "global", factors to encompass these 16. Although labelled "independence" by Cattell, a global factor defined by high scores on the E, H, L, and Q1 factors of the 16PF Questionnaire was an early precursor to the modern concept of agreeableness.
Extent of agreeableness in the five factor model of personality is most commonly assessed through self-report measures, although peer-reports and third-party observation can also be used. Self-report measures are either lexical or based on statements. Which measure of either type is used is determined by an assessment of psychometric properties and the time and space constraints of the research being undertaken.
Lexical measures use individual adjectives that reflect agreeableness or disagreeableness traits, such as sympathetic, cooperative, warm, considerate, harsh, unkind, rude. Words representing disagreeableness are reverse coded. Goldberg (1992) developed a 20-word measure as part of his 100-word Big Five markers, and Saucier (1994) developed a briefer 8-word measure as part of his 40-word mini-markers. Thompson (2008) systematically revised and improved these markers to develop a 40-word measure with better psychometric properties in both American and non-American populations, the International English Mini-Markers. This brief measure has good internal consistency reliabilities and other validity for assessing agreeableness and other five factor personality dimensions, both within and, especially, without American populations. Internal consistency reliability of the Agreeableness measure for native English-speakers is reported as .86, that for non-native English-speakers is .80.
Statement measures tend to comprise more words, and hence consume more research instrument space, than lexical measures. Respondents are asked the extent to which they, for example, Am on good terms with nearly everyone, Am not interested in other people's problems or Sympathize with others' feelings.
Cattell's factor analytic approach, used to identify the universal personality structures, inspired countless studies in the decades following the introduction of the 16PF. Using Cattell's original clusters, the 16 Personality Factors, and original data, multiple researchers independently developed a five factor model of personality over this period. From the early 1960s on, these explorations typically included a factor called "agreeableness" or "sociability." Despite repeated replications of five stable personality factors following Cattell's pioneering work, this framework only began to dominate personality research in the early 1980s with the work of Lewis Goldberg. Using lexical studies similar to those of Allport and Odbert, Goldberg chose the term "Big Five" to reflect the sheer number of personality-related terms encompassed by each of these five distinct factors. One of these, agreeableness, was defined by a number of personality-related words similar to those present in earlier and more recent manifestations of the construct; examples include "friendly," "good-natured," "cooperative," "trustful," "nurturing," "sociable," and "considerate."
Beginning in the 1970s, Paul Costa and Robert McCrae began researching the development of personality assessments based on factor models. Beginning with cluster analyses of Cattell's 16 Personality Factors, Costa and McCrae initially settled on a three-factor model of personality. These three factors were neuroticism (vs. emotional stability), extraversion (vs. introversion), and openness (vs. closedness) to experience, resulting in the acronym "NEO." Due to similarities between their three-factor NEO Personality Inventory and Goldberg's Big Five, Costa and McCrae began to develop scales to assess agreeableness and conscientiousness in the early 1980s. This work culminated in the 1985 publication of the first NEO PI Manual to be based on the full Five Factor Model. Although this marked the introduction of agreeableness to the NEO PI, Costa and McCrae worked for an additional seven years to identify and elaborate on the facets comprising this factor in the Revised NEO Personality Inventory.
In the NEO PI, each of the five factors identified by Costa and McCrae are identified with six lower-level traits. Known as facets, the lower-level traits subsumed by agreeableness were first introduced with the 1992 publication of the revised version of the NEO PI. Based on the modern NEO PI-R, the six facets of agreeableness are: Trust, straightforwardness, Altruism, Compliance, Modesty, and Tender-Mindedness.
Trust is a defining feature of psychosocial development, personality theory, and folk psychological conceptions of personality. Individuals who score high on this facet generally believe others' intentions to be benevolent. Those scoring low on this facet tend to be cynical and view others as suspicious, dishonest, or dangerous.
Despite a long history in moral philosophy, straightforwardness is not as vital to personality theory as the other facets of agreeableness. Those scoring high on straightforwardness tend to interact with others in a direct and frank manner. Low scorers are less direct, tend to be high in self-monitoring, and are generally deceitful or manipulative. Although the two concepts are not identical, those who score low on this trustworthiness tend to be high in Machiavellianism. According to Michael C. Ashton and Kibeom Lee, straightforwardness is similar to the honesty aspect of honesty-humility in the HEXACO Model.
Similar to altruism in animals and ethical altruism, this facet is defined by measures of selflessness, self-sacrifice, generosity, and consideration, courtesy, and concern for others. Altruism is similar to Alfred Adler's concept of social interest, which is a tendency to direct one's actions toward the betterment of society. Individuals who score low on Altruism tend to be discourteous, selfish, or greedy, a pattern of behaviors known as "self-interest" in Adlerian psychology.
As a facet of agreeableness, compliance is defined as an individual's typical response to conflict. Those who score high on compliance tend to be meek and mild, and to prefer cooperation or deference as a means of resolving conflict. Low scorers tend to be aggressive, antagonistic, quarrelsome, and vindictive.
While trust, straightforwardness, altruism, and compliance all refer to interpersonal or social behaviors, modesty refers to an individual's self-concept. Those who score high on modesty tend to be humble and other-focused, while low scorers tend to be arrogant and self-aggrandizing. Low modesty is otherwise known as conceitedness or Narcissism and, in extreme cases, can manifest as Narcissistic personality disorder. Otherwise known as "humility" in the Revised NEO Personality Inventory, modesty resembles the humility aspect of Honesty-Humility in the HEXACO Model.
Tender-mindedness is defined as the extent to which an individual's judgments and attitudes are determined by emotion. Coined by William James, this term was also prominent in early versions of the 16PF. Tender-mindedness is primarily defined by sympathy and corresponds to the International Personality Item Pool's "sympathy" scale. In contrast, "tough minded" is a trait associated with Psychoticism on the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire.
Models based on psychobiological theories of personality have each incorporated a factor similar to agreeableness. In Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory the character trait known as cooperativeness is highly similar to and positively correlated with agreeableness. In Zuckerman's alternative five model of personality the trait known as Aggression-hostility is inversely related to agreeableness.
To address the absence of measures of Dark triad traits (i.e., narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy), Michael Ashton and Kibeom Lee proposed the addition of a sixth factor to the Five Factor Model. Validated with psycholexical studies similar to those used in the development of the Five Factor Model, the HEXACO Model adds Honesty-Humility to five factors resembling those in the NEO PI. Although Honesty-Humility does not directly correspond to any Big Five trait, it is strongly correlated with the Straightforwardness and Modesty facets of Big Five Agreeableness. As both of these facets are only weakly correlated with Big Five Agreeableness, Ashton and Lee suggest dividing NEO PI Agreeableness into two factors similar to those in the HEXACO Model: Honesty-Humility (i.e., Straightforwardness and Modesty) and a redefined Agreeableness (Trust, Altruism, Compliance, and Tender-Mindedness). Reflecting this conception of Honesty-Humility and HEXACO Agreeableness as unique though similar concepts, Ashton and Lee propose that they represent different aspects of reciprocal altruism: fairness (Honesty-Humility) and tolerance (Agreeableness).
Despite suggesting this reconceptualization of Agreeableness for the NEO PI, Ashton and Lee do not believe HEXACO Agreeableness is accurately captured by Trust, Altruism, Compliance, and Tender-Mindedness. In addition to accounting for these four facets of Big Five Agreeableness, the HEXACO Model's construction of Agreeableness includes content categorized under Neuroticism in the NEO PI (i.e., temperamentalness and irritability). To reflect the negative emotional content at the low end of HEXACO Agreeableness, this factor is also referred to as "Agreeableness (versus Anger)." The inclusion of anger in the definition of HEXACO Agreeableness further helps to differentiate this factor from Honesty-Humility. In response to offensive or transgressive actions, individuals who score low on Honesty-Humility tend not to respond immediately. Instead, they defer their response by planning their revenge and waiting for the perfect opportunity to enact it. Although those who score low on HEXACO Agreeableness also employ this premeditated strategy, they also tend to respond immediately with anger.
To help capture the numerous distinctions between the Big Five and HEXACO models, Ashton and Lee propose four new facet labels in their conceptualization of Agreeableness: Forgiveness, Gentleness, Flexibility, and Patience. In addition to these four Agreeableness-specific facets, Lee and Ashton have proposed an additional "interstitial" facet located in a space shared by Agreeableness, Honesty-Humility, and Emotionality: Altruism versus Antagonism.
Agreeableness is an asset in situations that require getting along with others. Compared to disagreeable persons, Agreeable individuals display a tendency to perceive others in a more positive light. Research does not necessarily support the notion that agreeable individuals are more conforming or that they are more easily influenced by others in making choices.][
Because agreeable children are more sensitive to the needs and perspectives of others, they are less likely to suffer from social rejection. Specifically, research indicates that children who are less disruptive, less aggressive, and more skilled at entering play groups are more likely to gain acceptance by their peers.
One study found that people high in agreeableness are more emotionally responsive in social situations. This effect was measured on both self-report questionnaires and physiological measures, and offers evidence that extraversion and neuroticism are not the only Big Five personality factors that influence emotion. The effect was especially pronounced among women.
Research also shows that people high in agreeableness are more likely to control negative emotions like anger in conflict situations. Those who are high in agreeableness are more likely to use constructive tactics when in conflict with others, whereas people low in agreeableness are more likely to use coercive tactics. They are also more willing to give ground to their adversary and may "lose" arguments with people who are less agreeable. From their perspective, they have not really lost an argument as much as maintained a congenial relationship with another person.
A monk who'd trained extensively in compassion meditation (and accordingly changed his brain to experience more positive emotion) named Matthieu Ricard engaged in a debate with a hot-tempered professor while both were connected to machines that monitored their physiological and mental states. At the beginning of the debate, the professor was very upset and angry while Matthieu Ricard was calm. As the debate continued, the professor became calmer and calmer while Matthieu Ricard stayed calm. At the end of the discussion the professor was having such a good time that he didn't want to stop!
A central feature of agreeableness is its positive association with altruism and helping behaviour. Across situations, people who are high in agreeableness are more likely to report an interest and involvement with helping others. Experiments have shown that most people are likely to help their own kin, and help when empathy has been aroused. Agreeable people are likely to help even when these conditions are not present. In other words, agreeable people appear to be "traited for helping" and do not need any other motivations.
While agreeable individuals are habitually likely to help others, disagreeable people may be more likely to cause harm. Researchers have found that low levels of agreeableness are associated with hostile thoughts and aggression in adolescents, as well as poor social adjustment. People low in agreeableness are also more likely to be prejudiced against stigmatized groups such as the overweight.
When mental illness is present, low agreeableness may be associated with narcissistic and anti-social tendencies. In theory, individuals who are extremely high in agreeableness are at risk for problems of dependency. Empirical studies show that many more problems are associated with low agreeableness.
Agreeableness is of fundamental importance to psychological well-being, predicting mental health, positive affect, and good relations with others. In both childhood and adolescence agreeableness has been tied to externalizing issues. Along with this it has also been implicated in outcomes to conflict management skills, school adjustment, peer-social status and self-esteem. Some work has been done looking into whether agreeableness levels through childhood have effects on adjustment and agreeableness into adulthood. Among young adults, individuals that have been diagnosed with either externalizing as well as internalizing disorders present lower levels of agreeableness and communion, and higher levels of negative emotionality, than those young adults without such disorders. Agreeableness also is reported to mediate links between anger and depression in young adults. Among college students, agreeableness is often associated with self-reports of emotional experience and control along with psycho-physiological responses to affectively charged stimuli. Across adulthood, low agreeableness has been found to be a health risk. High agreeableness, especially trust and honesty, has been linked to longevity.
A study done by Caspi, Elder, and Bem (1987) found that explosive and ill-tempered children were found to have higher rates of divorce as adults when compared with their even-tempered peers. Further, ill-tempered men had lower educational attainment, occupational status, and work stability, and ill-tempered women married men with similar low achievement profiles A second and more recent study by Shiner (2000) found that composite variables describing middle-childhood agreeableness and friendly compliance predicted adolescent academic performance, behavioral conduct, and social competence 10 years later
Most recent is a study done by Larsen, Pulkkinen, and Adams (2002) in which they looked at many different levels of childhood behavior and emotion and the correlation into adulthood agreeableness. In their first analyses, structure coefficients showed that childhood compliance, aggression, and self-control discriminated high-agreeableness from low-agreeableness in adults better than did activity versus passivity, constructiveness, and anxiety. In their second analyses, structure coefficients indicated that adulthood socialization and impulsivity discriminated high-agreeableness from low-agreeableness in adults better than did inhibition of aggression and anxiety. In linking childhood behavioral profiles to adulthood personality profiles, high-compliant, high-self-control, and low-aggressive children were most likely to become high-agreeable, high-socialized, and low-impulsive adults. These children were more unlikely to become low-agreeable, low-socialized, and high-impulsive adults. Further, low-compliant, low-self-control, and high-aggressive children were likely to become low-agreeable, low-socialized, and high-impulsive adults and these children were unlikely to become high-agreeable, high-socialized, and low-impulsive adults. In addition to this, children classified as low-compliance, low-self-control, low-aggression types and children classified as high-compliance, high-self-control, low-aggression types had a greater probability of becoming adults with high-agreeableness, high-socialization, high-impulsivity profiles. Looking at stability of agreeableness they found results that indicated that stable low agreeable individuals reported less career stability and more depression when compared with stable high agreeable individuals and low to high agreeable individuals. Further, stable high agreeable individuals reported lower levels of alcoholism than did the other groups and fewer arrests than did stable low agreeable individuals.
In the United States, people in the West, Midwest, and South tend to have higher average scores on agreeableness than people living in other regions. According to researchers, the top ten most agreeable states are North Dakota, Minnesota, Mississippi, Utah, Wisconsin, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. These findings are consistent with well known expressions in these states, such as "southern hospitality" and "Minnesota nice." Because these states are generally less urbanized than the east and west coasts, people may be more likely to live in small communities and know their neighbors. Consequently, they may be more willing to care about and help their neighbours.
In a study done by Albright et al. (1997) groups of college students from China and the United States rated strangers from both countries on the "Big Five" personality traits, external traits, and how well they were dressed. They found that both Chinese and U.S. students rated faces as showing similar levels of agreeableness and extroversion. The people who were thought to be the most agreeable wore smiles, a facial expression that is recognized around the world. The findings of the research seem to suggest that the trait of agreeableness is attributed to people in a universal way.
Personality and career choices—Study published in the African Journal of Business Management
The two-factor model of personality is a widely used psychological factor analysis measurement of personality, behavior and temperament. It most often consists of a matrix measuring the factor of introversion and extroversion with some form of people versus task orientation.
The Roman physician Galen mapped the four temperaments (sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric and melancholic) to a matrix of hot/cold and dry/wet, taken from the four classical elements. Two of these temperaments, sanguine and choleric, shared a common trait: quickness of response (corresponding to "heat"), while the melancholic and phlegmatic shared the opposite, a longer response (coldness). The melancholic and choleric, however, shared a sustained response (dryness), and the sanguine and phlegmatic shared a short-lived response (wetness). This meant that the choleric and melancholic both would tend to hang on to emotions like anger, and thus appear more serious and critical than the fun-loving sanguine, and the peaceful phlegmatic. However, the choleric would be characterized by quick expressions of anger (like the sanguine, with the difference being that the sanguine cools off); while the melancholic would build up anger slowly, silently, before exploding. Also, the melancholic and sanguine would be sort of "opposites", as the choleric and phlegmatic, since they have opposite traits.
These are the basis of the two factors that would define temperament in the modern theory.
In the last few centuries, various psychologists would begin expressing the four temperaments in terms of pairs of behaviors that were held in common by two temperaments each.
Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936), from his work with dogs, came up with the factors of "passivity" (active or passive) and "extremeness" (extreme response or moderate response). His view of the temperaments in dogs was:
This theory would also be extended to humans.
Alfred Adler (1879–1937) measured "activity" (connected with "energy") against "social interest", yielding the four "styles of life":
These he compared to the choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic and sanguine respectively.
Erich Fromm's (1900–1980) factors were acquiring and assimilating things ("assimilation"), and reacting to people ("socialization"). These two factors form four types of character, which he calls Receptive, Exploitative, Hoarding and Marketing.
Also deserving mention is a single scale invented in the 1940s by Karen Horney (1885–1952). This one dimension measured "movement" towards, against and away from people. This would result in the coping strategies, in which these three "neurotic" patterns would be paired with a fourth, "healthy" one called "movement with people". These would describe behaviors associated with both extroversion and reacting to people, in which people attempt to avoid getting hurt, by either distancing themselves from others or maintaining self-sufficiency and independence on one hand; or approaching others, attempting to control or exploit them, and otherwise gain power and recognition; or "give in" to them to gain acceptance and approval, on the other.
As the twentieth century progressed, numerous other instruments were devised measuring not only temperament, but also various individual aspects of personality and behavior, and several began using forms of extroversion and the developing category of people versus task focus as the factors.
In 1928, William Moulton Marston identified four primary emotions, each with an initial feeling tone of either pleasantness or unpleasantness. This led to his viewing people's behavior along two axes, with their attention being either "passive" or "active", depending on the individual's perception of his or her environment as either "favorable" or "antagonistic". By placing the axes at right angles, four quadrants form with each describing a behavioral pattern:
This would be further developed in the 1970s by John G. Geier into the DiSC assessment System, which grades individual scales of "Dominance", "Influence", "Steadiness", and "Conscientiousness". By now, it would be classified in terms of the two factors; consisting of pairs of Extroverted or "Assertive" aspects (D, I), Introverted or "Passive" aspects (S, C), Task-oriented or "Controlled" aspects (D, C) and social or "Open" aspects (I, S).
The California Psychological Inventory's CPI 260 Instrument also has similar scales, of "Initiates action, Confident in social situations" versus "Focuses on inner life, Values own privacy"; and "Rule-favoring, Likes stability, Agrees with others" versus "Rule-questioning, Has personal value system, Often disagrees with others" and the four "lifestyles": Leader, Supporter, Innovator, and Visualizer.
Galen also had intermediate scales for "balance" between the hot/cold and wet/dry poles, yielding a total of nine temperaments. Four were the original humors, and five were balanced in one or both scales.
Another addition to the two factor models was the creation of a 10 by 10 square grid developed by Robert R. Blake and Jane Mouton in their Managerial Grid Model introduced in 1964. This matrix graded, from 0-9, the factors of "Concern for Production" (X-axis) and "Concern for People" (Y-axis), allowing a moderate range of scores, which yielded five "leadership styles":
The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI) used a version of this with "Assertiveness" and "Cooperativeness" as the two factors, also leading to a fifth mode:
FIRO-B would call the two dimensions Expressed Behavior and Wanted Behavior, and use three separate matrices for the respective areas of Inclusion (social skills) Control (leadership and responsibility-taking) and Affection (deep personal relationships). In 1977, "locator charts" were produced for each area by Dr. Leo Ryan, providing a map of the various scores, following the Managerial Grid model, with unofficial names assigned to different score ranges. They were generally grouped into five main types for each area, in the vein of the Managerial Grid and TKI, except that moderate scores (generally 4, 5) in only one dimension (with the other dimension being high or low) were given separate names, creating nine basic groups for each area (low e/w, low e/high w, low e/moderate w, etc). In the control area, there is a tenth group created by a further division of the low e/high w range.
This would form the basis of the Five Temperaments theory by Dr. Richard G. and Phyllis Arno, in which the ancient temperaments were mapped to the FIRO-B scales (in all three areas), with Phlegmatic becoming the moderate e/w instead of low e/high w, which was now taken to constitute a fifth temperament called "Supine", which has many of the "introverted and relationship oriented" traits of the other types defined as such, above. (The "Wanted behavior" scale is generally renamed "Responsive behavior"). The moderate scores mixed with high or low are designated "Phlegmatic blends" and divided with 4 being a blend of Phlegmatic with the lower adjacent temperament, and 5 being a blend with the higher adjacent temperament. This results in 13 separate ranges in each area.
Other factors devised along the way measured other aspects of personality, mostly cognitive aspects. This would form a second strain of temperament theory, one which enjoys the most popularity today.
Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) defined his typology by a duality of the beautiful and sublime, and concluded it was possible to represent the four temperaments with a square of opposition using the presence or absence of the two attributes. He determined that the phlegmatic type has no interest in either the beautiful or the sublime, so there was an absence of both (sb). The melancholic had a feeling for both (SB), and the sanguine had a predominating feeling for the beautiful (sB), while the choleric, he determined after comparing with the melancholic, lacked a sense of beauty and had only a sense of the sublime (Sb).
Hans Eysenck (1916–1997) was one of the first psychologists to analyze personality differences using a psycho-statistical method (factor analysis), and his research led him to believe that temperament is biologically based. In his book Dimensions of Personality (1947) he paired Extraversion (E), which was "the tendency to enjoy positive events", especially social ones, with Neuroticism (N), which was the tendency to experience negative emotions. By pairing the two dimensions, Eysenck noted how the results were similar to the four ancient temperaments.
He later added a third dimension, psychoticism, resulting in his "P-E-N" three factor model of personality. This has been correlated with two separate factors developed by the Big Five personality traits (Five Factor Model), called "agreeableness" and "conscientiousness"; the former being similar to the people/task orientation scale elaborated above. Neuroticism in Eysenck's case acted like the people/task-orientation scale (except for being inverted as to which temperaments were "high" or "low"), but was later separated as a distinct factor in the Big Five.
Carl Jung, in the early 20th century, introduced the four factors that would become a part of the later MBTI, and these included extroversion/introversion, sensing and intuition, and thinking/feeling, which would be correlated to Agreeableness, with Judging-Perceiving roughly as Conscientiousness.
Ernst Kretschmer (1888–1964) divided personality into two "constitutional groups": Schizothymic, which contain a "Psychaesthetic proportion" between sensitive and cold poles, and Cyclothymic which contain a "Diathetic" proportion between gay and sad. The Schizoids consist of the Hyperesthetic (sensitive) and Anesthetic (Cold) characters, and the Cycloids consist of the Depressive (or "melancholic") and Hypomanic characters.
David W. Keirsey would make the connection of the two groups with Myers' Sensors and iNtuitors, providing the two factors for his four temperaments. He would rename Sensing to "Observant" or "Concrete", and Intuiting to "Introspection" or "Abstract", and pair it with "Cooperative" versus "Pragmatic" (or "Utilitarian") which would be the "Conscientiousness" scale; to form:
Keirsey also divided his temperaments by "Role-Informative"/"Role Directive" to form eight "intelligence types"; and finally by E/I, to yield the 16 types of the MBTI. It was when his former student, Berens, paired the latter two factors separately that she yielded here Interaction Styles, discussed above. Keirsey also divided the intelligence types by I/E into "roles of interaction".
The Enneagram of Personality would map its nine types to a matrix, whose scales are "Surface Direction" and "Deep Direction". These are similar to Extroversion and people/task-orientation, but instead of the types being plotted on a scale of 0-9, Horney's original three grades of "towards", "away", and "against" were retained, and now used in both dimensions (graded respectively, as "+", "0" and "-"). This changes the criteria, as the "moderate" (0) grade is considered "away", but this does not necessarily correspond to the moderate extroversion or agreeableness scores of the other instruments.
Openness to experience is one of the domains which are used to describe human personality in the Five Factor Model. Openness involves active imagination, aesthetic sensitivity, attentiveness to inner feelings, preference for variety, and intellectual curiosity. A great deal of psychometric research has demonstrated that these qualities are statistically correlated.][ Thus, openness can be viewed as a global personality trait consisting of a set of specific traits, habits, and tendencies that cluster together.
Openness tends to be normally distributed with a small number of individuals scoring extremely high or low on the trait, and most people scoring moderately.][ People who score low on openness are considered to be closed to experience. They tend to be conventional and traditional in their outlook and behavior. They prefer familiar routines to new experiences, and generally have a narrower range of interests. People high in openness tend to have more liberal political views, whereas those who are low in openness tend to be more conservative, and are more likely to endorse authoritarian, ethnocentric and prejudiced views.
Openness has moderate positive relationships with creativity, intelligence and knowledge. Openness is related to the psychological trait of absorption, and like absorption has a modest relationship to individual differences in hypnotic susceptibility.
Openness has more modest relationships with aspects of subjective well-being than other Five Factor Model personality traits. On the whole openness appears to be largely unrelated to symptoms of mental disorders. Religious fundamentalism and to a lesser extent general traditional religiosity tend to be associated with low openness, whereas open mature religiosity and spirituality tend to be associated with high openness.][
Openness to experience is usually assessed with self-report measures, although peer-reports and third-party observation are also used. Self-report measures are either lexical or based on statements. Which measure of either type is used is determined by an assessment of psychometric properties and the time and space constraints of the research being undertaken
According to research by Sam Gosling, it is possible to assess openness by examining people's homes and work spaces. Individuals who are highly open to experience tend to have distinctive and unconventional decorations. They are also likely to have books on a wide variety of topics, a diverse music collection, and works of art on display.
Openness to experience has both motivational and structural components. People high in openness are motivated to seek new experiences and to engage in self-examination. Structurally, they have a fluid style of consciousness that allows them to make novel associations between remotely connected ideas. Closed people by contrast are more comfortable with familiar and traditional experiences.
Openness to experience correlates with creativity, as measured by tests of divergent thinking. Openness has been linked to both artistic and scientific creativity as professional artists and scientists have been found to score higher in openness compared to member of the general population.
Openness correlates with intelligence, correlation coefficients ranging from about r = .30 to r = .45. Openness is moderately associated with crystallized intelligence, but only weakly with fluid intelligence. A study examining the facets of openness found that the Ideas and Actions facets had modest positive correlations with fluid intelligence (r=.20 and r=.07 respectively). These mental abilities may come more easily when people are dispositionally curious and open to learning. Several studies have found positive associations between openness to experience and general knowledge. People high in openness may be more motivated to engage in intellectual pursuits that increase their knowledge. Openness to experience, especially the Ideas facet, is related to need for cognition, a motivational tendency to think about ideas, scrutinize information, and enjoy solving puzzles, and to typical intellectual engagement (a similar construct to need for cognition).
Openness to experience is strongly related to the psychological construct of absorption defined as "a disposition for having episodes of 'total' attention that fully engage one's representational (i.e. perceptual, enactive, imaginative, and ideational) resources.” The construct of absorption was developed in order to relate individual differences in hypnotisability to broader aspects of personality. The construct of absorption influenced Costa and McCrae's development of the concept of openness to experience in their original NEO model due to the independence of absorption from extraversion and neuroticism. A person's openness to becoming absorbed in experiences seems to require a more general openness to new and unusual experiences. Openness to experience, like absorption has modest positive correlations with individual differences in hypnotisability. Factor analysis has shown that the fantasy, aesthetics, and feelings facets of openness are closely related to absorption and predict hypnotisability, whereas the remaining three facets of ideas, actions, and values are largely unrelated to these constructs. This finding suggests that openness to experience may have two distinct yet related subdimensions: one related to aspects of attention and consciousness assessed by the facets of fantasy, aesthetics, and feelings; the other related to intellectual curiosity and social/political liberalism as assessed by the remaining three facets. However, all of these have a common theme of ‘openness’ in some sense. This two-dimensional view of openness to experience is particularly pertinent to hypnotisability. However, when considering external criteria other than hypnotisability, it is possible that a different dimensional structure may be apparent, e.g. intellectual curiosity may be unrelated to social/political liberalism in certain contexts.
Although the factors in the Big Five model are assumed to be independent, openness to experience and extraversion as assessed in the NEO-PI-R have a substantial positive correlation. Openness to experience also has a moderate positive correlation with sensation-seeking, particularly, the experience seeking facet. In spite of this, it has been argued that openness to experience is still an independent personality dimension from these other traits because most of the variance in the trait cannot be explained by its overlap with these other constructs. A study comparing the Temperament and Character Inventory with the Five Factor model found that Openness to experience had a substantial positive correlation with self-transcendence (a "spiritual" trait) and to a lesser extent novelty seeking (conceptually similar to sensation seeking). It also had a moderate negative correlation with harm avoidance. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) measures the preference of "intuition," which is related to openness to experience. Robert McCrae pointed out that the MBTI sensation versus intuition scale "contrasts a preference for the factual, simple and conventional with a preference for the possible, complex, and original," and is therefore similar to measures of openness.
There are social and political implications to this personality trait. People who are highly open to experience tend to be politically liberal and tolerant of diversity. As a consequence, they are generally more open to different cultures and lifestyles. They are lower in ethnocentrism, right-wing authoritarianism, social dominance orientation, and prejudice. Openness has a stronger (negative) relationship with right-wing authoritarianism than the other five-factor model traits (conscientiousness has a modest positive association, and the other traits have negligible associations). Openness has a somewhat smaller (negative) association with social dominance orientation than (low) agreeableness (the other traits have negligible associations). Openness has a stronger (negative) relationship with prejudice than the other five-factor model traits (agreeableness has a more modest negative association, and the other traits have negligible associations). However, right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation are each more strongly (positively) associated with prejudice than openness or any of the other five-factor model traits.
In regards to conservatism, studies have found that cultural conservatism was related to low openness and all its facets, but economic conservatism was unrelated to total openness, and only weakly negatively related to the Aesthetics and values facets. The strongest personality predictor of economic conservatism was low agreeableness (r= -.23). Economic conservatism is based more on ideology whereas cultural conservatism seems to be more psychological than ideological and may reflect a preference for simple, stable and familiar mores.
Openness to experience has been found to have modest yet significant associations with happiness, positive affect, and quality of life and to be unrelated to life satisfaction, negative affect, and overall affect in people in general. These relationships with aspects of subjective well-being tend to be weaker compared to those of other five-factor model traits, that is, extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. Openness to experience was found to be associated with life satisfaction in older adults after controlling for confounding factors. Openness appears to be generally unrelated to the presence of mental disorders. A meta-analysis of the relationships between five-factor model traits and symptoms of psychological disorders found that none of the diagnostic groups examined differed from healthy controls on openness to experience.
At least three aspects of openness are relevant to understanding personality disorders: cognitive distortions, lack of insight and impulsivity. Problems related to high openness that can cause problems with social or professional functioning are excessive fantasising, peculiar thinking, diffuse identity, unstable goals and nonconformity with the demands of the society.
High openness is characteristic to schizotypal personality disorder (odd and fragmented thinking), narcissistic personality disorder (excessive self-valuation) and paranoid personality disorder (sensitivity to external hostility). Lack of insight (shows low openness) is characteristic to all personality disorders and could explain the persistence of maladaptive behavioral patterns.
The problems associated with low openness are difficulties adapting to change, low tolerance for different worldview or lifestyles, emotional flattening, alexithymia and a narrow range of interests. Rigidity is the most obvious aspect of (low) openness among personality disorders and that shows lack of knowledge of one's emotional experiences. It is most characteristic of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, the opposite of it known as impulsivity (here: an aspect of openness that shows a tendency to behave unusually or autistically) is characteristic of schizotypal and borderline personality disorders.
Openness to experience has mixed relationships with different types of religiosity and spirituality. General religiosity has a weak association with low openness. Religious fundamentalism has a somewhat more substantial relationship with low openness. Open, mature religiosity and spirituality on the other hand tend to be associated with high openness.
A study examining gender differences in big five personality traits in 55 nations found that across nations there were negligible average differences between men and women in openness to experience. By contrast, across nations women were found to be significantly higher than men in average neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. In 8 cultures, men were significantly higher than women in openness, but in 4 cultures women were significantly higher than men. Previous research has found that women tend to be higher on the feelings facet of openness, whereas men tend to be higher on the ideas facet, although the 55 nation study did not assess individual facets.
A study on individual differences in the frequency of dream recall found that openness to experience was the only big five personality trait related to dream recall. Dream recall frequency has also been related to similar personality traits, such as absorption and dissociation. The relationship between dream recall and these traits has been considered as evidence of the continuity theory of consciousness. Specifically, people who have vivid and unusual experiences during the day, such as those who are high on these traits, tend to have more memorable dream content and hence better dream recall.
Openness is related to many aspects of sexuality. Men and women high in openness are more well-informed about sex, have wider sexual experience, stronger sex drives, and more liberal sexual attitudes. In married couples, wives' but not husbands' level of openness is related to sexual satisfaction. This might be because open wives are more willing to explore a variety of new sexual experiences, leading to greater satisfaction for both spouses.
Openness to experience, like the other traits in the five factor model, is believed to have a genetic component. Identical twins (who have the same DNA) show similar scores on openness to experience, even when they have been adopted into different families and raised in very different environments. One genetic study with 86 subjects found Openness to experience related to the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism associated with the serotonin transporter gene.
Higher levels of openness have been linked to activity in the ascending dopaminergic system and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Openness is the only personality trait that correlates with neuropsychological tests of dorsolateral prefrontal cortical function, supporting theoretical links among openness, cognitive functioning, and IQ.
An Italian study found that people who lived on Tyrrhenian islands tended to be less open to experience than those living on the nearby mainland, and that people whose ancestors had inhabited the islands for twenty generations tended to be less open to experience than more recent arrivals. Additionally, people who emigrated from the islands to the mainland tended to be more open to experience than people who stayed on the islands, and than those who immigrated to the islands.
People living in the eastern and western parts of the United States tend to score higher on openness to experience than those living in the midwest and the south. The highest average scores on openness are found in the states of New York, Oregon, Massachusetts, Washington, and California. Lowest average scores come from North Dakota, Wyoming, Alaska, Alabama, and Wisconsin.
Psychologists in the early 1970s used the concept of openness to experience to describe people who are more likely to use marijuana. Openness was defined in these studies as high creativity, adventuresomeness, internal sensation novelty seeking, and low authoritarianism. Several correlational studies confirmed that young people who score high on this cluster of traits are more likely to use marijuana. More recent research has replicated this finding using contemporary measures of openness.
Cross-cultural studies have found that cultures high in Openness to Values have higher rates of use of the drug ecstasy, although a study at the individual level in the Netherlands found no differences in openness levels between users and non-users. Ecstasy users actually tended to be higher in extraversion and lower in conscientiousness than non-users.
A 2011 study found Openness (and not other traits) was increased by psilocybin. The study found that individual differences in levels of mystical experience while taking psilocybin were correlated with increases in Openness. Participants who met criteria for a 'complete mystical experience' experienced a significant mean increase in Openness, whereas those participants who did not meet the criteria experienced no mean change in Openness. Five of the six facets of Openness (all except Actions) showed this pattern of increase associated with having a mystical experience. Increases in Openness (including facets as well as total score) among those whose had a complete mystical experience were maintained more than a year after taking the drug. Participants who had a complete mystical experience changed more than 4 T-score points between baseline and follow up. By comparison, Openness has been found to normally decrease with ageing by 1 T-score point per decade.
Neuroticism is a fundamental personality trait in the study of psychology characterized by anxiety, moodiness, worry, envy and jealousy. Individuals who score high on neuroticism are more likely than the average to experience such feelings as anxiety, anger, envy, guilt, and depressed mood. They respond more poorly to environmental stress, and are more likely to interpret ordinary situations as threatening, and minor frustrations as hopelessly difficult. They are often self-conscious and shy, and they may have trouble controlling urges and delaying gratification. Neuroticism is a risk factor for the "internalizing" mental disorders such as phobia, depression, panic disorder, and other anxiety disorders, all of which are traditionally called neuroses.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, individuals who score low in neuroticism are more emotionally stable and less reactive to stress. They tend to be calm, even-tempered, and less likely to feel tense or rattled. Although they are low in negative emotion, they are not necessarily high on positive emotion. Being high on positive emotion is an element of the independent trait of extraversion. Neurotic extraverts, for example, would experience high levels of both positive and negative emotional states, a kind of "emotional roller coaster". Individuals who score low on neuroticism (particularly those who are also high on extraversion) generally report more happiness and satisfaction with their lives.
Like other personality traits, neuroticism is typically viewed as a continuous dimension rather than distinct. Neuroticism test scores approximate a normal distribution given a large enough sample of people.
Extent of neuroticism is generally assessed using self-report measures, although peer-reports and third-party observation can also be used. Self-report measures are either lexical or based on statements. Deciding which measure of either type to use in research is determined by an assessment of psychometric properties and the time and space constraints of the study being undertaken.
Lexical measures use individual adjectives that reflect neurotic traits, such as anxiety, envy, jealously, moodiness, and are very space and time efficient for research purposes. Goldberg (1992) developed a 20-word measure as part of his 100-word Big Five markers. Saucier (1994) developed a briefer 8-word measure as part of his 40-word mini-markers. Thompson (2008) systematically revised these measures to develop the International English Mini-Markers which has superior validity and reliability in populations both within and outside North America. Internal consistency reliability of the International English Mini-Markers for the Neuroticism (emotional stability) measure for native English-speakers is reported as .84, that for non-native English-speakers is .77.
Statement measures tend to comprise more words, and hence consume more research instrument space, than lexical measures. Respondents are asked the extent to which they, for example, Remain calm under pressure, or Have frequent mood swings. While some statement-based measures of neuroticism have similarly acceptable psychometric properties in North American populations to lexical measures, their generally emic development makes them less suited to use in other populations. For instance, statements in colloquial North American English like Seldom feel blue and Am often down in the dumps are sometimes hard for non-native English-speakers to understand.
Neuroticism has also been studied from the perspective of Gray's biopsychological theory of personality, using a scale that measures personality along two dimensions: the Behavioural Inhibition System (BIS) and the Behavioural Activation System (BAS). The BIS is thought to be related to sensitivity to punishment as well as avoidance motivation, while the BAS is thought to be related to sensitivity to reward as well as approach motivation. Neuroticism has been found to be positively correlated with the BIS scale, and negatively correlated with the BAS scale.
Research has found that a wide range of clinical mental disorders are associated with elevated levels of neuroticism compared to levels in the general population. Disorders associated with elevated neuroticism include mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, dissociative identity disorder, and hypochondriasis. Mood disorders tend to have a much larger association with neuroticism than these other disorders. Personality disorders as listed in DSM-IV in general tend to be associated with elevated neuroticism. A meta-analysis found that Borderline, Paranoid, Schizotypal, Avoidant, and Dependent Personality disorders were each associated with substantial levels of neuroticism (correlations ranging from .28 to .49). The remaining personality disorders had either modest positive or non-significant (in the case of narcissistic and histrionic) associations with neuroticism.
Neuroticism is a higher-personality dimension related to poor stress coping, irrational thinking, poor impulse control, and worry. It is a strong predictor of psychological problems, especially those related to affective disturbance.
Neuroticism is related to the different levels of depression. Studies have shown that a high level of neuroticism is the first incidence of depression and is the result of future recurrences. Researchers have found that genetic factors that contribute to neuroticism account for close to half of the genetic variance of depression (Roberts and Kendler). In addition, neuroticism is an expression of an underlying genetic vulnerability disorder and is a trait that accounts for anxiety and depression.
Research on psychological outcomes of stress has focused predominantly on major life events, with strong evidence suggesting that the risk of depression is significantly increased following the occurrence of these stressors (Kessler). Researchers have also examined the stresses of daily living. Part of the reason for this shift is due to the evidence that daily hassles mediate the effects of major life events on ones mental and physical well being (Delongis).
Many studies have examined the relationships between neuroticism and stress. Kendler, Kuhn, and Prescott (2004) found that those who score high in neuroticism are more susceptible to long-term depression compared to those who score low in neuroticism. In addition, neuroticism was discovered to prospectively predict changes in depressive symptoms in those who experience a significant change in their lives. Neuroticism controls how one handles a change in their life situation by the inclusion of depression thus suggesting that neuroticism correlates between daily hassles and depression symptoms.
When one does not have a choice in the environment one lives in is the result of the relationship between stress and depression.][ It is important to consider the effect that neuroticism may have on an individual depending on whether they are exposed to more or less daily hassles when looking into relationship between neuroticism, hassles, and depression symptoms. The existence of daily hassles suggests that it does mediate to some degree the relationship between neuroticism and depressive symptoms. These daily hassles include job loss, marital problems, financial difficulties, and personal conflicts.
Neuroticism appears to be related to physiological differences in the brain. Hans Eysenck theorized that neuroticism is a function of activity in the limbic system, and his research suggests that people who score highly on measures of neuroticism have a more reactive sympathetic nervous system, and are more sensitive to environmental stimulation. Behavioral genetics researchers have found that a significant portion of the variability on measures of neuroticism can be attributed to genetic factors.
A study with positron emission tomography has found that healthy subjects that score high on the NEO PI-R neuroticism dimension tend to have high altanserin binding in the frontolimbic region of the brain — an indication that these subjects tend to have more of the receptor2A5-HT in that location. Another study has found that healthy subjects with a high neuroticism score tend to have higher DASB binding in the thalamus; DASB is a ligand that binds to the serotonin transporter protein.
Another neuroimaging study using magnetic resonance imaging to measure brain volume found that the brain volume was negatively correlated to NEO PI-R neuroticism when correcting for possible effects of intracranial volume, sex, and age.
Other studies have associated neuroticism with genetic variations, e.g., with 5-HTTLPR — a polymorphism in the serotonin transporter gene. However, not all studies find such an association. A genome-wide association study (GWA study) has associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the MDGA2 gene with neuroticism, however the effect sizes were small. Another GWA study gave some evidence that the rs362584 polymorphism in the SNAP25 gene was associated with neuroticism.
A 2008 experiment investigated the neurophysiological responses to uncertainty (which individuals high in neuroticism find aversive) using an event-related potential framework. Participants received positive, negative and uncertain feedback on a task while the feedbackrelated negativity (FRN), an evoked potential that peaks approximately 250 ms after the receipt of feedback information, was measured. For all participants, it was found that a larger FRN occurred after negative feedback than after positive feedback. However, for participants high on neuroticism, uncertain feedback resulted in a larger neural response than did negative feedback.
A 2009 study has found that higher neuroticism is associated with greater loss of brain volume with increasing age.
Studies have found that the mean reaction times will not differ between individuals high in neuroticism and those low in neuroticism, but that there is considerably more trial-to-trial variability in performance reflected in reaction time standard deviations. In other words, on some trials neurotic individuals are faster than average, and on others they are slower than average. It has been suggested that this variability reflects noise in the individual's information processing systems or instability of basic cognitive operations (such as regulation processes), and further that this noise originates from two sources: mental preoccupations and reactivity processes.
Flehmig et al. (2007) studied mental noise in terms of everyday behaviours using the Cognitive Failures Questionnaire which is a self-report measure of the frequency of slips and lapses of attention. A slip is an error by commission, and a lapse is an error by omission. This scale was correlated with two well-known measures of neuroticism (the BIS/BAS scale and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire). Results indicated that the CFQ-UA subscale was most strongly correlated with neuroticism (r = .40) and explained the most variance (16%) compared to overall CFQ scores which only explained 7%. The authors interpret these findings as suggesting that mental noise is "highly specific in nature" as it is related most strongly to attention slips triggered endogenously by associative memory. In other words, this may suggest that mental noise is mostly task-irrelevant cognitions such as worries and preoccupations.
The results of one study has found that on average, women score moderately higher than men on neuroticism. This study examined sex differences in the 'Big Five' personality traits across 55 nations. It found that across the 55 nations studied, the most pronounced difference was in neuroticism. This study found that: In 49 of the 55 nations studied, women scored higher in neuroticism than men. In no country did men report significantly higher neuroticism than women. In Botswana and Indonesia, men scored slightly higher than women. Sex differences in neuroticism within nations ranged from very small to quite large - large in 17 and moderate in 29. Differences were negligible in Bangladesh, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Greece, Japan, Botswana and Indonesia. Large differences were recorded in Israel and Morocco. African and Asian/South Asian world regions tended to have smaller sex differences in personality overall than did western world regions (Europe, and North and South America). Women tended to record similar levels of neuroticism across the regions covered in the study. The men's scores differed widely: men in the Western regions scored lower on neuroticism compared to men in African and Asian world regions. In countries with higher levels of human development, the men recorded significantly lower levels of neuroticism.
Neuroticism, along with other personality traits, has been mapped across states in the USA. People in eastern states such as New York, New Jersey, West Virginia, and Mississippi tend to score high on neuroticism, whereas people in many western states, such as Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, Oregon, and Arizona score lower on average. People in states that are higher in neuroticism also tend to have higher rates of heart disease and lower life expectancy.
One of the theories regarding evolutionary approaches to depression focuses on neuroticism. A moderate amount of neuroticism may provide benefits, such as increased drive and productivity, due to greater sensitivity to negative outcomes. Too much, however, may reduce fitness by producing, for example, recurring depressions. Thus, evolution will select for an optimal amount and most people will have neuroticism near this optimum. However, because neuroticism likely has a normal distribution in the population, a minority will be highly neurotic.
Neuroticism has been included as one of the four dimensions that comprise core self-evaluations, one's fundamental appraisal of oneself, along with locus of control, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. The concept of core self-evaluations was first examined by Judge, Locke, and Durham (1997), and since found evidence to suggest these have the ability to predict several work outcomes, specifically, job satisfaction and job performance.
Cross-cultural psychology as a discipline examines the way that human behavior is different and/or similar across different cultures. One important and widely studied area in this subfield of psychology is personality, particularly the study of Big Five. The Big Five personality traits are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. The Big Five model of personality (also known as the Five Factor Model) has become the most extensively studied model of personality and has broad support, starting in the United States and later in many different cultures.][ However, there is also some evidence which suggests that the Big Five traits may not be sufficient to completely explain personality in other cultures.
Research suggests that the same five-factor structure of personality can be found in multiple other countries, based on a translated version of the Revised NEO Personality Inventory. Over the past decade, studies on the validity of the Five-Factor Model using translations of the Revised NEO Personality Inventory have found broad support across many different studies and in many different countries; in earlier studies, Extraversion and Neuroticism were reported as stable personality scales across several cultures, including German, Dutch, French, Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino samples.
Further research found support for the entire Five-Factor Model in Chinese, Dutch, Italian, Hungarian, German, Australian, South African, Canadian, Finnish, Polish, Portuguese, Israeli, Korean, Japanese, and Filipino samples, in addition to other samples. Across multiple studies, factor analyses of translations of the Revised NEO Personality Inventory in languages from different language families consistently load on five factors that largely correspond to the Big Five personality traits. Additionally, the Big Five traits have been found in the personality ratings of observers in over 50 cultures, indicating that the previous findings were not dependent merely on ratings of the self. Overall, this body of work has established the validity of the Five-Factor model cross-culturally, potentially providing evidence for the Five-Factor Model as a universal taxonomy of personality structure.
One approach psychologists have taken when examining Big Five traits in different cultures has been to examine either similarities or differences between cultures. Generally, researchers examine the average levels of a trait (or multiple traits) across an entire culture to make comparisons cross-culturally.
There are many similarities in Big Five trait expression across cultures. For example, differences between men and women in Big Five traits, although small compared to variation within gender, do seem to exist consistently across a number of cultures. In general, women tend to score higher on neuroticism and agreeableness. Additionally, longitudinal studies have found consistency in personality changes that occur across the lifetime, in both adults and adolescents. Research in Big Five traits in American and Flemish teens showed similar changes in personality from ages 12 to 18. In addition, the period from young adulthood to middle adulthood is associated with increases in Conscientiousness and Agreeableness and decreases in Neuroticism, Openness, and Extraversion in several countries, including the United States, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, and South Korea.
It is also important to note that when examining the average personality traits of individuals in cultural groups, differences between cultures seem to exist. Some research compares one culture against another culture on a specific Big Five personality trait; Filipinos, for example, score relatively low on Neuroticism on average, compared to other cultures measured, while scoring in the middle of the scale on Extraversion. Americans, New Zealanders, and Canadians score higher on Extraversion, while scoring moderately on Neuroticism. These differences, however, exist on average, and there is still a large amount of variability in Big Five personality traits that exists within a particular culture. Gender differences in personality tend to be larger in developed societies (such as France and the United States) compared to less-developed cultures (such as Zimbabwe and Malaysia). However, although these findings are quite robust, one consideration is that these differences between cultures might be the result of translation errors, differences in self-presentation styles, or even genetic differences.
Furthermore, although broad evidence suggests that the Big Five traits do measure meaningful constructs across a great deal of cultures, it is also true that expressions of mean levels of personality are necessarily influenced by culture. That is to say, all individuals scoring high on a certain Big Five personality trait such as Extraversion are likely to enjoy socialization with others, but where, when, and with whom they socialize is necessarily influenced by their cultural milieu. Thus, it may be most productive to think of the Five Factor Model as a framework for beginning to explore systematically individual differences behavior within a particular culture.
Some controversy exists over whether or not the Big Five are relevant to all other cultures, especially given that the Big Five were developed via factor analysis from English words. Although support for the Big Five across cultures is quite robust, it is unclear whether or not the Big Five personality traits are the best possible measure of personality across all cultures. Some researchers suggest that important aspects of certain cultures are not captured by the Five Factor Model.
One proposed alternative to the Big Five that has been developed via cross-cultural research is the HEXACO model. This model builds on the research of the Big Five traits, with the novel addition of a trait named Honesty-Humility. Individuals high in the trait of honesty-humility are associated with the characteristics of straightforwardness, modesty, and fairness. In addition, the HEXACO model contains slightly rotated versions of two of the Big Five traits (Agreeableness and Neuroticism) such that sentimentality/toughness becomes part of the old Neuroticism trait (and renamed Emotionality) and anger/even-temper becomes associated with the new Agreeableness trait. This rotation creates less overlap among the six personality traits of the HEXACO, and allows for better prediction of behaviors such as deceit without hostility (e.g. social monitoring). Support for the HEXACO model has been found in multiple countries, including Dutch, French, German, Italian, Korean, Polish, and English samples.
Chinese psychologists have attempted to develop an indigenous measure of personality, named the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory (CPAI). Traits in the CPAI model have also collectively been referred to as "Interpersonal Relatedness," and include:
Support for this model of personality was originally developed in studies in mainland and Hong Kong, China, but the existence of the Interpersonal Relatedness dimension of personality has also been found in samples from Singapore, Hawaii, and the Midwestern United States.
Other researchers have found different personality dimensions that may exists in different cultural contexts. For example, one study of a Filipino sample used both indigenous Filipino personality scales and the NEO-PI-R, and although there was overlap between the Filipino scales and the Five Factor Model, researchers also found indigenous factors such as Pagkamadaldal (Social Curiosity) and Pagkamapagsapalaran (Risk-Taking) that had predictive power greater than the Five Factor Model alone. Other research using indigenous approaches to traits has taken place in countries such as India, Korea, and Greece. A Chinese factor analysis of traits in 2009 found seven factors (three or four of which resembled Big Five traits). A similar study in Spain in 1997 found seven Spanish personality factors. However, the seven factors were not the same across the two countries. Thus, it is clear that although there is strong support for the Big Five across cultures, some research suggests the existence of other traits besides simply the Big Five, which may ultimately improve our understanding of personality across different cultures.
Conscientiousness is the trait that denotes being thorough, careful, or vigilant; it implies a desire to do a task well. Conscientiousness is one trait of the five-factor model of personality, and is an aspect of what has traditionally been called character. It is manifested in characteristic behaviors such as being efficient, organized, neat, and systematic, also including such elements as self-discipline, carefulness, thoroughness, self-organization, deliberation (the tendency to think carefully before acting), and need for achievement. Conscientious individuals are generally hard working and reliable. When taken to an extreme, they may also be "workaholics", perfectionists, and compulsive in their behavior. People who score low on conscientiousness tend to be more laid back, less goal-oriented, and less driven by success; they also are more likely to engage in antisocial and criminal behavior.][
Conscientiousness is one of five superordinate traits in the "Big Five model" of personality, which also consists of extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, and agreeableness. Two personality tests that assess these traits are Costa and McCrae's NEO PI-R and Goldberg's NEO-IPIP. According to these models, conscientiousness is considered to be a continuous dimension of personality, rather than a categorical "type" of person. Scores on conscientiousness follow a normal distribution.][
Conscientiousness is related to impulse control, but it should not be confused with the problems of impulse control associated with other personality traits, such as (high) extraversion, (low) agreeableness, (high) openness and (high) neuroticism. Individuals low on conscientious are unable to motivate themselves to perform a task that they would like to accomplish. Recently, conscientiousness has been broken down, further, into two "aspects": orderliness and industriousness, the former which is associated with the desire to keep things organized and tidy and the latter which is associated more closely with productivity and work ethic. Conscientiousness, along with (lower) openness, is also one of the trait markers of political conservatism.
The trait cluster of conscientiousness overlaps with other models of personality, such as C. Robert Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory, in which it is related to both self-directedness and persistence. It also includes the specific traits of rule consciousness and perfectionism in Cattell's 16 PF model. It is negatively associated with impulsive sensation-seeking in Zuckerman's alternative five model. Traits associated with conscientiousness are frequently assessed by self-report integrity tests given by various corporations to prospective employees.
Extent of conscientiousness is generally assessed using self-report measures, although peer-reports and third-party observation can also be used. Self-report measures are either lexical or based on statements. Deciding which measure of either type to use in research is determined by an assessment of psychometric properties and the time and space constraints of the study being undertaken.
Lexical measures use individual adjectives that reflect conscientiousness traits, such as efficient and systematic, and are very space and time efficient for research purposes. Goldberg (1992) developed a 20-word measure as part of his 100-word Big Five markers. Saucier (1994) developed a briefer 8-word measure as part of his 40-word mini-markers. Thompson (2008) systematically revised these measures to develop the International English Mini-Markers which has superior validity and reliability in populations both within and outside North America. Internal consistency reliability of the International English Mini-Markers for the Conscientiousness measure for native English-speakers is reported as .90, that for non-native English-speakers is .86.
Statement measures tend to comprise more words than lexical measures, so hence consume more research instrument space and more respondent time to complete. Respondents are asked the extent to which they, for example, Often forget to put things back in their proper place, or Am careful to avoid making mistakes. Some statement-based measures of conscientiousness have similarly acceptable psychometric properties in North American populations to lexical measures, but their generally emic development makes them less suited to use in other populations. For instance, statements in colloquial North American English like Often forget to put things back in their proper place or Am careful to avoid making mistakes can be hard for non-native English-speakers to understand, suggesting internationally validated measures might be more appropriate for research conducted with non-North Americans.
People who score high on the trait of conscientiousness tend to be more organized and less cluttered in their homes and offices. For example, their books tend to be neatly shelved in alphabetical order, or categorized by topic, rather than scattered around the room. Their clothes tend to be folded and arranged in drawers or closets instead of lying on the floor. The presence of planners and to-do lists are also signs of conscientiousness. Their homes tend to have better lighting than the homes of people who score low on this trait. Recently, ten behaviors strongly associated with conscientiousness were scientifically categorized (the number at the end of each behavior is a correlation coefficient; a negative number means conscientious people were less likely to manifest the behavior):
Conscientiousness is importantly related to successful academic performance in students and workplace performance among managers and workers. Low levels of conscientiousness are strongly associated with procrastination. A considerable amount of research indicates that conscientiousness is one of the best predictors of performance in the workplace, and indeed that after general mental ability is taken into account, the other four of the Big Five personality traits do not aid in predicting career success.:169 Conscientious employees are generally more reliable, more motivated, and harder working. They also have lower rates of absenteeism and counterproductive work behaviors such as stealing and fighting with other employees. Furthermore, conscientiousness is the only personality trait that correlates with performance across all categories of jobs. However, agreeableness and emotional stability may also be important, particularly in jobs that involve a significant amount of social interaction.
In general, conscientiousness has a positive relationship with subjective well-being, particularly satisfaction with life, so highly conscientious people tend to be happier with their lives than those who score low on this trait. Although conscientiousness is generally seen as a positive trait to possess, recent research has suggested that in some situations it may be harmful for well-being. In a prospective study of 9570 individuals over four years, highly conscientiousness people suffered more than twice as much if they became unemployed. The authors suggested this may be due to conscientious people making different attributions about why they became unemployed, or through experiencing stronger reactions following failure. This finding is consistent with perspectives which see no trait as inherently positive or negative, but rather the consequences of the trait being dependent on the situation and concomitant goals and motivations.
Low conscientiousness has been linked to antisocial and criminal behaviors, as well as unemployment, homelessness, and imprisonment. Low conscientiousness and low agreeableness taken together are also associated with substance abuse. People low in conscientiousness have difficulty saving money and have different borrowing practices from more conscientious people. High conscientiousness is associated with more careful planning of shopping trips and less impulse buying of unneeded items.
According to an 80-year old and ongoing research started in 1921 by psychologist Lewis Terman on over 1,500 ten-year-old Californians, "The strongest predictor of long life was conscientiousness." Specific behaviors associated with low conscientiousness may explain its influence on longevity. Nine different behaviors that are among the leading causes of mortality - alcohol use, disordered eating (including obesity), drug use, lack of exercise, risky sexual behavior, risky driving, tobacco use, suicide, and violence - are all predicted by low conscientiousness. Health behaviors are more strongly correlated with the conventionality rather than the impulse-control aspect of conscientiousness. Apparently, social norms influence many health-relevant behavior, such as healthy diet and exercise, not smoking and moderate drinking, and highly conscientiousness people adhere the most strongly to these norms. Additionally, conscientiousness is positively related to health behaviors such as regular visits to a doctor, checking smoke alarms, and adherence to medication regimes. Such behavior may better safeguard health and prevent disease.
Relationship quality is positively associated with partners' level of conscientiousness, and highly conscientious people are less likely to get divorced. Conscientiousness is associated with lower rates of behavior associated with divorce, such as extramarital affairs, spousal abuse, and alcohol abuse. Conscientious behaviors may have a direct influence on relationship quality, as people low in conscientiousness are less responsible, less responsive to their partners, are more condescending, and less likely to hold back offensive comments. On the other hand, more conscientious people are better at managing conflict and tend to provoke fewer disagreements, perhaps because they elicit less criticism due to their well-controlled and responsible behavior.
Average levels of conscientiousness vary by state in the United States. People living in the central part of the country, including the states of Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Missouri tend to have higher scores on average than people living in other regions. People in the southwestern states of New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona also have relatively high average scores on conscientiousness. Among the eastern states, Florida is the only one that scores in the top ten for this personality trait. The four states with the lowest scores on conscientiousness on average were, in descending order, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maine, and Alaska.
The Big Five personality traits are a commonly used set of traits in psychology for describing individual differences in personality. These traits include extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and openness. Recent research has provided evidence that suggests that personality traits may have predictive value for personal, interpersonal, and occupational outcomes. In addition to those outcomes, Big Five personality traits have been shown to be just as powerful in predicting occupational success, mortality, and divorce rates as other predictors such as socioeconomic status and cognitive ability. Big Five personality traits have also been linked to academic success of high-school students. Romantic relationship satisfaction, in dating, engaged, and married couples, is also predicted by Big Five personality traits.
Personality traits predict life outcomes in three major domains: personal, interpersonal, and social or institutional. Personal outcomes predicted by personality include subjective well-being (predicted by extraversion and neuroticism), spirituality (predicted by conscientiousness, openness, and agreeableness), and health (predicted by conscientiousness, neuroticism, and agreeableness). Research suggests that being highly conscientious may add as much as five years to one's life. The Big Five personality traits also predict positive health outcomes. In an elderly Japanese sample, conscientiousness, extraversion, and openness were related to lower risk of mortality. Interpersonal outcomes predicted by personality include childhood relationships (predicted by extraversion and agreeableness), young adult relationships with their parents (predicted by conscientiousness, neuroticism, and extraversion), and romantic relationships (predicted by neuroticism and agreeableness). Research has also provided evidence that personality predicts occupational outcomes. Extraversion predicts choosing an occupation in the social or enterprising field. Agreeableness predicts choosing to work in jobs related to social interest groups as well as predicting volenteerism. Generally, conscientiousness predicts work performance. Openness predicts pursuit of artistic and investigative careers.
Certain Big Five personality traits are positively related to longevity while others are negatively related. Research suggests that there are three processes which underlie this phenomenon:
Using ratings by Big Five personality traits experts, personality trait levels were determined for 32 US Presidents from George Washington to Richard Nixon. Detailed health records of the 32 Presidents were obtained, and the relationship between health behaviors and personality traits was examined. Once these health behaviors, including smoking, drinking, and exercise, as well as other factors such birth year and inauguration age were statistically controlled for, conscientiousness remained the only significant predictor of US President longevity.
In a longitudinal study which measured trait levels of Harvard graduates immediately following graduation and then again 45 years post graduation, researchers found a positive correlation between neuroticism and number of packs of cigarettes smoked per year. Additional relationships between personality traits and health behaviors were found as well:
Academic achievement may also be predicted by Big Five personality traits. A recent study of Israeli high-school students found that those in the gifted program systematically scored higher on openness and lower on neuroticism than those not in the gifted program. While not a measure of the Big Five, gifted students also reported less state anxiety than students not in the gifted program. Specific Big Five personality traits predict learning styles in addition to academic success.
Career path is not the only vocational outcome predicted by Big Five personality traits. Conscientiousness predicts job performance in general. In addition, research has demonstrated that Agreeableness is negatively related to salary. Those high in trait Agreeableness make less, on average, than those low in the same trait. Neuroticism is also negatively related to salary while Conscientiousness and Extraversion are positive predictors of salary. Occupational self-efficacy has also been shown to be positively correlated with conscientiousness and negatively correlated with Neuroticism. Significant predictors of career-advancement goals are: Extraversion, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness.
Research designed to investigate the individual effects of Big Five personality traits on work performance via worker completed surveys and supervisor ratings of work performance has implicated individual traits in several different work roles performances. A "work role" is defined as the responsibilities an individual has while they are working. Nine work roles have been identified, which can be classified in three broader categories: proficiency (the ability of a worker to effectively perform their work duties), adaptivity (a workers ability to change working strategies in response to changing work environments), and proactivity (extent to which a worker will spontaneously put forth effort to change the work environment). These three categories of behavior can then be directed towards three different levels: either the individual, team, or organizational level leading to the nine different work role performance possibilities.
Two theories have been integrated in an attempt to account for these differences in work role performance. Trait-activation theory posits that within a person trait levels predict future behavior, that trait levels differ between people, and that work-related cues active traits which leads to work relevant behaviors. Role theory suggests that role senders provide cues to elicit desired behaviors. In this context, role senders (i.e.: supervisors, managers, et cetera) provide workers with cues for expected behaviors, which in turn activates personality traits and work relevant behaviors. In essence, expectations of the role sender lead to different behavioral outcomes depending on the trait levels of individual workers and because people differ in trait levels, responses to these cues will not be universal.
The predictive power of the Big Five personality traits extends to satisfaction in romantic relationships. Recent research demonstrates that personality trait levels may predict relationship quality in dating, engaged, and married couples via measures of the Big Five, self-reported measures of personality traits and relationship quality by participants in romantic relationships, partner-reported measures of participating partner's personality traits and relationship quality, physiological measures, and ratings of relationship quality by a qualified observer.
The predictive power of the Big Five personality traits is robust across life domains: personal, interpersonal, and social or institutional. Recent research indicated that personality traits may be equally strong predictors of mortality (adding as much as five years to one's life), divorce, and job performance as socioeconomic status and cognitive ability. However, research in support of this finding is limited and further evidence is required to fully uncover the strength of the predictive power of personality traits on life outcomes. Social and contextual parameters also play a role in outcomes and the interaction between the two is not yet fully understood.
Big Five personality traits
Newcastle Personality Assessor
Extraversion and introversion