What is the Big Five and what features does our character consist of? This was told by psychologist Olga Siverchenko.

Bricks of personality: the main character traits of a person

Personality traits reflect the characteristic ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving people. They imply consistency and stability in their manifestation - someone who scores high on a scale of specific indicators, for example, extraversion, must be sociable in different situations and not change this quality over time.

We can say that the psychology of character is based on the fact that people differ in a set of basic features that do not change, and also appear in different situations. Character influences actions and patterns of behavior.

The most widely used feature system is called the five-factor model. This system includes five general character traits (a list of positive and negative) that can be remembered through the decoding of the OCEAN abbreviation: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Pleasantness, Neuroticism (Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism).

More about the Big Five

1. Openness to experience

Sometimes it is called intelligence or imagination, means the willingness to try new things, to think outside the box. Includes insight, originality, curiosity.

2. Conscientiousness

Desire to be careful, diligent, and regulate immediate gratification through self-discipline. Includes ambition, discipline, consistency, reliability.

3. Extraversion

A state in which a person draws energy from others and seeks social connections or interaction rather than loneliness (introversion). Includes sociability, energy, self-confidence.

4. Conformity (softness)

The measure of how a person interacts with others is characterized by the degree of compassion and cooperation. Includes tact, kindness, loyalty.

5. Neuroticism

Tendency towards negativism, emotional instability and self-destructive thinking. Includes pessimism, anxiety, uncertainty, fear.

Each of the main character traits of a person on the Big Five list can be divided into facets in order to make a more detailed character analysis. Critics of the concept argue that people do not act the same in all cases, that behavior is strongly influenced by the situation.

If you fall on the continuum for any of these five primary traits, you can determine if you have secondary traits. These traits often fall into two categories: positive and negative.

Positive personality traits

Positive traits include traits that are useful for communication and existence in society. They can help or make it easier to solve the problems you face in life.

List of positive personality traits:

  • adaptability
  • ambition
  • Attentiveness
  • friendliness
  • Modesty
  • Insight
  • purposefulness
  • Optimism
  • respectfulness
  • Fortitude

Negative personality traits

Negative traits are those traits that can hold you back in your life or hurt your relationships with others. It is desirable to limit or work them out. You can only do this if you are aware of their presence.

List of negative personality traits:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Arrogance
  • Cold
  • Deceitfulness
  • Selfishness
  • closeness
  • Pessimism
  • neglect
  • Pomposity
  • Unreliability

The problem of characterizing personality traits

Psychologists who study the formation of personality say that neither parents nor the quantitative order of birth play an important role in the formation of a person.

“I have noticed that people often overestimate the influence of the environment on our behavior. If you were to look at two siblings raised by the same parents in terms of personality, they are no more alike than any random person,” says Peter O'Connor, associate professor at QUT Business School.

When we observe the people around us, it is amazing how different they are from each other. Some of us are very talkative, active, while others are silent, passive. Some are very worried about everything, others almost never seem to be anxious.

Whenever we use epithets such as "talkative", "quiet", "active" or "restless" to describe those around us, we are talking about a  person's personality - good or bad character traits of a person that distinguish people from each other.

Psychologists try to describe and understand these differences. While there are many ways to describe a personality, we can best understand the differences between people by referring to a list of a person's good character traits.

According to psychologists, the list of bad character traits of a person has a limited number, but they can manifest themselves with different strengths. The task of psychologists was to discover the main features in which people differ from each other. Hundreds of new traits were described over the decades, so that it was soon difficult to sort them out.

For example, one psychologist might focus on individual differences in "friendliness" while another might focus on the closely related idea of ​​altruism . Scientists began to look for ways to reduce the number of traits and identify core traits that describe the main differences between people.

Research using a lexical approach has shown that many of the personality traits found in the dictionary overlap. In other words, many of the words we use to describe people are synonyms. Therefore, we can summarize this personality dimension in one term, such as "extrovert". Once we know that someone is an extrovert, we can assume that they are outgoing, friendly and open.

Why are personality traits important?

Personality traits are important and interesting because they describe stable patterns of behavior that we can focus on. Considering human behavior in certain situations, modeling various situations, psychologists have noticed that there is a connection between success in school and work, the ability to lead a healthy lifestyle and perform various practical activities in the long term.

So personality traits are not just an interesting way to describe people you know; they also help psychologists predict how good a worker will be, what activities he or she will enjoy doing, and even how long a person may live.

There is a growing interest in personality psychology among psychologists who work in applied settings such as health psychology or organizational psychology. On the other hand, a review of the literature on the study of the Big Five and their application in marketing from the University of Vienna points to some reasons why marketers and researchers are being cautious. In particular:

  • Personality traits do not take into account cross-cultural or demographic differences in behavior.
  • The OCEAN structure is a simplification of a complex topic and should never be taken as the ultimate truth.
  • The theory of personality traits and assessment methods change frequently, it is important to understand the assessment methodology.

Thus, while like most methods, the Big Five personality trait theory has both advantages and disadvantages, it represents the most consistent and researched model of personality.

As a final note, many of us tend to think of personality as something fixed and stable, but research shows that personality can be quite fluid.

“As you age, you may become more conscientious and your neuroticism may decrease, so you may be less restless and more stable,” says Dr. Gardiner.

There is also evidence that we can change our own personality traits. One recent research paper has found evidence that people can deliberately increase one or more of their Big Five traits over a 16-week training period.

The problem with seeing a person as fixed or static is that it can create an excuse for bad behavior or refusing to change. If you know that your personality is fixed and you act thoughtlessly or immorally, then you can justify yourself with “this is my personality” and you will be less likely to try to change.

However, remember that your personality is not, after all, a battlefield, and it is often our quirks—and our flaws  — that make us who we are.