Complete guide on defining personalities


define personalities

Personality traits are characteristics of a person that remain fairly stable over time. They include such things as attitudes, values, and preferences, and the way we behave in different situations. Our personalities are shaped by our genes and life experiences.

Important features

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Some of the most important features of personality include openness to new experiences; agreeableness; conscientiousness; extroversion or introversion; emotional stability; and risk-taking propensity.

Personality is often assessed using self-report instruments, although peer reports and third-party observation are also used. The Big Five personality traits model consists of five broad dimensions which define human personality and account for individual differences. This article will focus on the Big Five personality traits.

A person’s scores on each of these dimensions are combined to produce a total score – each dimension is weighted equally. A high level of one trait usually means a low level (or at least a lessened level) of another.

Big Five traits

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The Big Five traits are not considered to be exhaustive; both Cattell and Eysenck have produced models with more traits. The scientific consensus is that the Big Five traits are the most important dimensions of personality and that they are biologically based.

Openness to new experiences is one of the Big Five personality traits. People who score high on openness are imaginative, creative, and curious. They like to try new things and explore new ideas. They are flexible and adaptable, and they are not afraid of change.

People who score low on openness are more conventional and less flexible. They prefer the familiar, and they are not as interested in new experiences or ideas.

Agreeableness is another of the Big Five personality traits. People who score high on agreeableness are warm, friendly, and cooperative. They get along well with others, and they are generally considerate and sympathetic.

People who score low on agreeableness are less warm and friendly, and they are more likely to be competitive and aggressive. They may also be less cooperative and more critical of others.

Conscientiousness is another of the Big Five personality traits. People who score high on conscientiousness are responsible and reliable. They are good at completing tasks and meeting deadlines. They are also disciplined and organized.

People who score low on conscientiousness are less responsible and reliable. They are more likely to procrastinate, and they may be less disciplined and organized.

Extroversion or introversion is another of the Big Five personality traits. People who score high on extroversion are outgoing and sociable. They enjoy being around other people, and they are typically energetic and active.

People who score low on extroversion are more introverted. They prefer to be alone, and they are typically quieter and more reserved.

Emotional stability is another of the Big Five personality traits. People who score high on emotional stability are calm and even-keeled. They are not easily upset or stressed, and they generally have a positive outlook on life.

People who score low on emotional stability are more emotionally reactive. They are more likely to feel anxious or stressed, and they may have a more negative outlook.

Risk-taking propensity is the final Big Five personality trait. People who score high on risk-taking propensity are venturesome and spontaneous. They like to explore, and they take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.

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