What is personality?
Personality is those psychological characteristics that contribute to a person’s relatively enduring and distinctive patterns of feeling, thinking, and behaving.
The most widely used models in modern psychology are the Five Factor Model of Personality (developed by Paul Costa and Robert McCrae), or the Big Five Model (developed by Lewis Goldberg).
When describing someone’s personality, you indicate the intensity of a trait – where on a given factor it falls.
These factors within the FFM (Costa and McCrae) are:
- Extraversion (opposite: introversion) – People with a high level of extraversion tend to be dominant, prefer to be in larger groups of people, are energetic and active, and see themselves more in leadership roles than insubordinate ones
- Agreeableness – People with high agreeableness tend to have positive attitudes towards others, are sensitive, trusting and strongly cooperative. People with a high intensity of this trait are very often rated as friendly, helpful, calm, truthful and modest.
- Conscientiousness – People characterized by high conscientiousness are seen as efficient, meticulous, reasonable, and rational decision-makers. They tend to be well organized, punctual, have a high sense of duty and high aspirations – and are highly motivated and persistent in their pursuit of goals.
- Neuroticism (Opposite: Emotional Stability) – People with high levels of neuroticism are characterized by anxiety and a tendency to worry. They often feel frustrated, annoyed or angry with other people. They are usually shy in social interactions, especially with people who are strangers to them and feel embarrassed in social situations. People with a high intensity of this trait are also characterized by impulsivity or difficulty in coping with stress in general.
- Openness to Experience – People with high openness to experience exhibit a rich imagination, sensitivity to aesthetic values, unconventionality, and a search for new and unusual experiences and life experiences. Such people have a strong need to experience diversity, are characterized by a rather liberal worldview, tolerance and curiosity about the world.
In the Big Five view (Goldberg), Openness to Experience is replaced by Intellect. People with a high intensity of this trait show great intellectual openness, imagination, creativity, tendency to reflection, rich inner life or wide horizons and interests.