January 10, 2013
The 1 thing to Learn about Personality: The Big 5 Traits
Three Big Questions in this Course
• What is the most useful and economical way to organize our personality judgments?
• How much do people change in their personality?
• How does personality affect what happens in our life?
o Occupational success
Question of the Day
• How can we (start to) describe an individual’s personality?
Film Clip from the Office
• How would you describe Pam’s personality?
o Tries to portray a positive attitude even though she doesn’t feel that way
o She is not quarrelsome
o She is calm, likeable, shy, good-natured, and calm, spontaneous
• How would you describe Jim’s personality?
o High on extravertedness, high on agreeableness
There are 18,000 traits in the English dictionary that describe other people
• Only about 4,000-5000 describe stable personality traits
• Can be reduced when you look for synonyms and antonyms
o E.g. likeable, goodnatured, gentle all practically mean the same thing
• Can come up with about 180 unique personality attributions that are captured by adjectives,
however this is still too many still
o Factor analysis
Have everyone in class divide self into 180 adjectives
Then factor our which ones group together on the same dimension
• Can group together because they are similar or they are opposites
Can boil own 180 adjectives into a smaller limited number of clusters
• Research has shown that you can boil all those terms into 5 basic
Formal Definitions of Traits
• Traits: Dimensions of individual differences in tendencies to show consistent patterns of
thoughts, feelings, and actions
o Best way of capturing differences of groups but also have descriptions that are
independent of the others
o Consistency is very important
The Big Five Trait Taxonomy
• Extraversion: tendency to be outgoing, sociable and assertive
o Opposite: introversion
• Neuroticism: tendency to experience negative emotions • Openness to Experience: tendency to b receptive to new ideas, approaches and experiencesjj
o The higher your IQ, the higher your score on openness to experience, etc
• Agreeableness: tendency to have concern for others, to have warm and trusting and sentiments
o would be like
• Conscientiousness: tendency toward organization, persistence and motivation in goal-directed
• Mnemomic: OCEAN, prof believes it should be ENOAC
If you use the big 5, you can easily set those 20 random traits to a person.
Cultural also has a role on the traits
e.g. in Japan, you are expected to be introverted but in the states, you are expected to be extrpverted
Pam on the Big 5 Traits
• Low extroversion
• Low neuroticism
• Super high agreeableness
• Moderate open to experience
• Moderate high conscientiousness
How are the Big 5 traits assessed>
• Not in handwriting
• Online test that Koestner tried
o By William Revelle, prof from north western
3) Openness to experience
When designing a questionnaire, you should have a balance where