Big Five Personality Traits and Meaning

Big Five Personality Traits and Meaning


There are five sets of words (Big Five Personality Traits) which used to describe the personality of a human. They are commonly known as Big Five. These traits are considered as the parameters which describe one’s personality. It is also known as the five-factor model (FFM). The Big Five are: Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. They can be remembered as OCEAN by using the first letter of each one. Each cluster of words includes their opposites also.

Psychologists now understand the personality as variations in these five scales. The scale is from the Opposite to these big five. So, every person will have a score in between big five and its opposites.

Some psychologists suggest to include one more trait along with it to make it six. The sixth factor is called H Factor (Honesty/Humility). This is a measure of the dimension of character maturity. The level of it varies from high selfishness to high integrity.

Big Five Personality Traits

Here we are going to describe each personality traits separately in detail.

Openness to experience:

Openness is a set of words that describe a tendency to enjoy variety, novelty, challenge and intellectual stimulation. Opposite of openness in closedness. So, the measure is from closedness to openness. Some of the sub-traits or facets of openness are intellect, imagination/creativity and perceptiveness.

People score high on openness to experience are generally open to new knowledge, experience, skills, broadminded and adaptive to new changes than who score low in this scale. Those who score low in this scale are conservative, reluctant to change, etc.


Conscientiousness includes words that describe tendency to show self-discipline and self-control. Opposite of conscientiousness is spontaneity. Facets includes orderliness, decisiveness-consistency, reliability, industriousness, etc.

Persons have conscientiousness are listen to others. They think before act, have self-control and discipline, and considered as successful in long run. They considered as goal oriented and strive hard to accomplish the goal.


Extroversion is a set of words describe tendency to be outgoing, energetic and sociable. Opposite of extroversion is introversion. Extroversion includes facets like sociability, unrestraint, assertiveness, activeness/adventurousness, etc.

Extroversion people give more concern to what is happening outside. But introversion represent people have concern only with his own life and nothing else.


Agreeableness is a set of words describe a tendency to be friendly, compassionate and cooperative. Opposite of agreeableness is hostility. Some of the facets of agreeableness are warmth/affection, gentleness, generosity, and modesty/humility.

Persons with high score on agreeableness are adjusting in almost all situations. They accept changes easily. These people easily accommodate themselves in almost all situations and friendly in nature.


Neuroticism is a set of words describe tendency to experience unpleasant emotions. Opposite of neuroticism is emotional stability. Facets or sub-traits includes, irritability, insecurity, emotionality, etc.

Those who score high in neuroticism are people prone to negative thoughts. They are mostly in depression state and not able to cope up with difficulty and stress. People with low score on neuroticism considered as persons with emotional stability.

You may like to read our Article “Factors Affecting Personality Development“.

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