Big Five Personality Traits. What is it and Why it matters?

Big Five Personality Traits

One of the hottest topics on the internet today is doing the big five personality traits test. Unfortunately, many people take the test for granted and manipulate their answers. Needless to say, their results often don't reflect their true nature. Many people refer to the test as the OCEAN or the CANOE test from the traits' initials. These traits come in a spectrum, so it's possible to score high or low in most categories. When you understand how you score in this big five, you will understand whether you are more impulsive or calculating, or whether you are more of a creative soul. This new knowledge will work great when you know when and how to utilize it. Anyway, let's understand this test and how to interpret the result.

A Quick History of The Big Five Personality Traits or the OCEAN

As you know, the big five traits refer to the five personality types with interconnecting traits. This theory first come up in 1949 as a result of one of the original sub-theories on traits psychology by Gordon Allport. Hans Eysenck introduced his three types of personality theory not long after Gordon Allport with his 4,000 traits.  D.W. Fiske was the one responsible for coining this theory. But since further research sees so many traits overlap each other. The big five personalities also work as a condensed version to see one's personality.

1. Openness
Being open to new experiences is not the same as being impulsive or reckless. It's also not to have a literal interpretation where you take scoring high on Openness as being a daredevil.
This personality trait focuses on how well you are to change. Are you accepting changes easily or do you put some resistance to them? When you score high, you show a preference to be more creative and adaptive to new ideas. However, scoring low doesn't mean you are being rigid on rules. The result is a spectrum, which shows the possibility of you leaning or even switching to a different side.

2. Conscientiousness
The easiest definition of this spectrum is being goal-driven and highly organized. Scoring low on the spectrum shows you have more tendencies to be impulsive. While scoring high can be seen as rigid and a stickler for rules. 

3. Extraversion
Many people conflate extraversion with being social. Some people may look to have a large social network, yet they score low on extraversion. The extraversion spectrum covers how well you are in a social setting. Again, it's possible to score in the middle with a leaning on either low or high. Scoring low on extraversion doesn't mean it's a bad thing. On the contrary, it shows that you put yourself above all. 

4. Agreeableness
It's easy to confuse extraversion with agreeableness since both covers how one acts around others. But agreeableness emphasizes the other people instead of the self. Altruism and having high empathy are the marks for scoring high on this spectrum.

5. Neuroticism
The last spectrum deals with emotional stability. Scoring high shows you are prone to have high anxiety and easily get stressed. On the contrary, when you score low in this spectrum, you are far more laid back on taking things.

A case study on interpretation

Interpreting the result can be quite daunting since there is no name on each side of the spectrum like in an MBTI test. And since each personality trait only has a high and low indicator, someone can score in the center spectrum. But it doesn't mean they have no distinctive personality. They can be don't know which to choose and require a future test, or they manipulate their answers.

Don't forget that the trait may go to the other end of the spectrum when they need to be. For example, someone who scores low on conscientiousness also can be organized and dependable sometimes. The same goes for someone who scores low on Neurocriticism and can be highly anxious. 

It's wise to take the interpretation as the reflection of your current state of mind. All spectrums cover both positive and negative adjectives that you can use to describe your condition. Use the adjective list to know which focus on which traits and characteristics you need to work on. 

What's the importance of knowing it?

Many people don't understand the massive edge the OCEAN gives. They can manipulate people's perceptions up to a certain degree. Of course, it depends on how they score on the personality test. But the general understanding of the result should be enough to make you improve yourself and your relationship with others. 

The big five also make it possible for anyone to break the stereotypes. A performer may score high on agreeableness, conscientiousness, and extraversion. This breaks the stereotype of a performer scoring high on openness, neuroticism, and extraversion. 

The test allows everyone to see the traits that correlate to them the most. At the same time, they also can see how others perceive them. But most importantly, they will understand how personality works as a spectrum. 
After completing the big test and knowing the score on each category, you can tell how you work with others and how open you are to new changes. This will help you build good interpersonal interaction with the people around you.

Is it the same with MBTI?

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is also a popular self-test on personality. This test uses the idea from Carl Jung's typology and separates the traits based on four indicators. Both the Myers-Briggs and Five Personality are sub-theories from Typology psychology. Both theories use types as the primary categories and use traits to give more depth to the personality. That is why many people often confuse and conflate the tests together. The only difference is MBTI puts a name on each end of the spectrum while the Big five doesn't do so.

Anyone can benefit a lot from doing personality tests. In addition to understanding themselves better. They also know what and where to improve. After taking the big five personality traits test, they also start to see their characters and traits as a spectrum.