What is personality? How do we define personality? Personality can be defined as all the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make a person unique. It is the characteristics that help define each person. It is the integration between one’s experience, heredity, and how those two things are interrelated. Many of the characteristics remain stable throughout a person’s lifespan. We use adjectives to describe ourselves. People use these same words to help explain and define our personality, thus helping each person understand who they are in the context of their interactions with others and the experiences unique to each individual.

Different theoretical perspectives have been postulated regarding defining personality. One such theory is the Big 5 Personality Traits, also referred to as the Five Factor Model. The five concepts inherent in this theoretical perspective help define and explain personality. The Big 5 Personality Traits encompass Opennness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism otherwise known as the acronym OCEAN. These traits can be effectively measured and ones that tell us more about the development of our personality. 

Openness is reflected in a strong intellectual curiosity, a preference for novelty and variety, or being inventive vs. consistent or cautious. People that score high in openness appreciate the arts, are more emotive, adventurous, may have unusual ideas, and have had a variety of experiences. Conscientiousness is defined as being organized, efficient, and/or achievement oriented vs. easy going or careless. A person who scores high in Conscientiousness often demonstrates self discipline, acts dutifully, having planned rather than spontaneous behavior, and has self discipline. Extraversion is defined as a higher degree of sociability, assertiveness, and talkativeness. People are energetic and outgoing vs. reserved or preferring solitary activities. People who score high on Extraversion have energy, positive emotions, seek stimulation, and prefer the company of others. Agreeableness is defined as being compassionate and friendly as well as being helpful, cooperative, and sympathetic towards others  vs. cold and unkind. A person who scores high on Agreeableness has a tendency to be cooperative and compassionate rather than antagonistic or suspicious of others. Neuroticism is defined as being nervous or sensitive vs. secure and confident. A person who scores high on this scale will more than likely experience unpleasant emotions more easily and be affected by them and having difficulty managing or modulating their emotions, especially anxiety and vulnerability. People scoring low on this trait indicate an ability to manage their emotions more appropriately and effectively, as well as manage the “ebbs and flows” of life, and are better at problem solving.

All five factors show an influence from both heredity and environment. From a heredity perspective, openness to experience has a 57% heredity factor, Extraversion, 54%, Conscientiousness, 49%, Neuroticism, 48%, Agreeableness, 42%.

Interested in taking the Big 5 Personality Test? Just go to The Big 5 Personality Test. There is no cost involved and the information is confidential. The test takes about 5-10 minutes and the results are instantaneously.

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