The Big 5 Personality Traits

Tell me about yourself?
The ice-breaking, yet important question asked by every interviewer. You could answer by stating your name, where you’re from, your job status, your hobby, etc.
There are billions of people in the world with a billion different answers to this question. Each one can tell a different story about themselves and who they are. We may have a lot in common with our fellow humans like sexual orientation, eye colour, race, religion, skills, etc. but there is one thing that makes us unique and that’s our personality.
You may meet hundreds and thousands of people in the world and still not find any two humans who are exactly the same. Personality refers to an individual’s difference in characteristics patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. It’s what makes you “you”.
In the world of psychology, personality has a more complex meaning to it. But however, you describe personality it’s clear that it has a big impact on our lives. Today, many researchers believe that there are five core personality traits. These five traits are sometimes called the “Big 5”.
The “Big 5” are broad categories of personality traits. Each five personality factors represents a range between two extremes. In the real world, most people lie between the two polar ends of each dimension.

  1. Openness– This trait features characteristics such as imagination and insight. It has been described as the complication of an individual’s mental life and experiences. Openness concerns an individual’s willingness to try new things, be vulnerable, and the ability to think outside the box.
  2. Conscientiousness -This is the tendency to control impulses and act in socially acceptable ways by showcasing self-discipline, act dutifully. People who have this personality trait excel in their ability to delay events of satisfaction, work within the rules, plan and organise effectively.
  3. Extroversion– This describes positive emotions, energy, assertiveness, sociability, talkativeness and the tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others. This factor has two extreme ends: extroversion and introversion. In general, extroverts draw energy from interacting with others whereas introverts get tired while interacting with others and replenish their energy from solitude.
  4. Agreeableness – This personality dimension includes attributes such as trust, altruism, kindness, affection and pro-social behaviours. This factor concerns how well people get along with others. People high in agreeableness tend to be well liked by everyone, respected and sensitive are to others needs. They barely have few enemies, are sympathetic, and affectionate to not only their loved ones but also strangers.
  5. Neuroticism – This is one of the Big Five factors in which a high score indicates more negative traits. This trait describes vulnerability to unpleasant emotions like anger, anxiety and depression. Neuroticism is not a factor of incompetence but being confident and comfortable in one’s own skin.

Based on this research, many psychologists now believe that the five personality dimensions are not only universal; they also have biological origins.

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