The Big Five model refers to five personality dimensions, which define human nature and account for an individual’s behavior and cognition. Note that the study of personality traits is a leading research topic in psychology; with Gordon Allport’s Trait Theory (Allport and Odbert, 1936), Raymond Cattell’s 16 Personality Factors (Raymond Catell, 1957), and Lewis Goldberg’s Five Factor Model (Goldberg, 1990) defined as major foundations in trait theory.
The Big Five personality traits are categorized as openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism:
- Openness to experience, as a personality trait, features characteristics, such as receptivity to new ideas and imagination. People with high levels of openness reveal robust levels of creativity and abstract thinking. Those who score low tend to be analytical and rigid.
- Conscientiousness refers to characteristics, such as goal-directed behavior, thoughtfulness, and impulse control. People with high levels of conscientiousness are considerate, organized, and self-aware individuals. Those who score low in conscientiousness act on impulse and may procrastinate on important tasks.
- Extraversion is characterized by high levels of emotional expressiveness, sociability, and assertiveness. People high in this trait are impulsive and social individuals. People low in extraversion, known as introverts, prefer solitude and avoid small talk.
- Agreeableness is characterized by attributes, such as kindness, affection, and trustworthiness. People who score high in this trait are very cooperative and empathetic. In contrast, those low in agreeableness often act competitively.
- Neuroticism features characteristic traits, such as emotional instability and sadness. People who score high in neuroticism may suffer from anxiety, mood swings, and depression. Those low in this trait tend to be more resilient and emotionally stable.
Thus, the Big Five personality test is a powerful tool to assess an individual’s personality traits. The test is a computer-based task, implemented into the PEBL (Psychology Experiment Building Language) system.