What are the big five traits?

The Big Five personality traits are Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. These traits are widely considered to be the most fundamental dimensions of personality, and they are often used to assess and predict an individual's behavior.

Openness is characterized by traits such as imagination, creativity, and a willingness to try new things. Conscientiousness is characterized by traits such as organization, reliability, and a strong sense of responsibility. Extraversion is characterized by traits such as sociability, talkativeness, and assertiveness. Agreeableness is characterized by traits such as kindness, empathy, and a desire to get along with others. Neuroticism is characterized by traits such as anxiety, moodiness, and emotional instability.

History and Development of the Big Five Model

The Big Five personality traits model, also known as the Five-Factor Model (FFM), is a widely accepted framework in the field of psychology for describing and understanding human personality. The model is based on the premise that individuals possess five broad, underlying personality traits that are relatively stable over time and across situations. These five traits are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (commonly referred to by the acronym OCEAN or CANOE).

The development of the Big Five model can be traced back to the work of several researchers in the mid-20th century. In the 1940s and 1950s, psychologists began to develop personality questionnaires that aimed to measure a broad range of personality traits. One such questionnaire was the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), which was developed by J.C. Hathaway and J.C. McKinley in 1943. The MMPI contained scales that measured traits such as neuroticism, extraversion, and psychoticism.

In the 1960s, a group of researchers led by Paul Costa and Robert McCrae began to develop a new personality questionnaire that would measure a broader range of personality traits. This questionnaire, which became known as the NEO Personality Inventory, was based on the earlier work of Raymond Cattell, who had proposed a model of personality that included 16 underlying traits.

Costa and McCrae's research led to the development of the Big Five model, which they described in a seminal paper published in 1985. The Big Five model proposed that there are five broad personality traits that can account for most of the variation in human personality. These traits were based on factor analysis of data from a large sample of individuals who had completed the NEO Personality Inventory.

The Big Five model has since become one of the most widely accepted models of personality in psychology, with a large body of research supporting its validity and reliability. The model has been used in a wide range of fields, including clinical psychology, organizational psychology, and social psychology, and has been applied to a variety of research questions, such as predicting job performance, understanding the development of personality disorders, and exploring the links between personality and health.


Openness is typically defined as the extent to which a person is open to new experiences, ideas, and perspectives. People who are high in openness are generally imaginative, curious, and open-minded, while those who are low in openness are more conventional and resistant to change. Openness is related to several other psychological traits, such as creativity, intelligence, and emotional stability.

Openness trait breaks down to sub-traits:

  • Imagination - the capacity for vivid and original thought, including fantasy and creativity.
  • Artistic Interests - appreciation and interest in the arts, music, and aesthetics.
  • Emotionality - sensitivity to emotions and emotional experiences. Adventurousness - a willingness to try new things and take risks.
  • Intellect - the capacity for abstract and complex thought, as well as an openness to new ideas and perspectives.
  • Imagination: Fantasy Originality Creativity Artistic Interests: Appreciation for Music Aesthetics Fine Arts
  • Emotionality: Empathy Emotional Expressiveness Sensitivity to Others' Emotions
  • Adventurousness: Curiosity Risk-taking Exploratory Behavior
  • Intellect: Analytical Thinking Broad-mindedness Reflectiveness


Conscientiousness is a personality trait that is characterized by organization, attention to detail, and the ability to plan and follow through on tasks. People who are high in conscientiousness are typically organized, responsible, and reliable, while those who are low in conscientiousness may be more disorganized and impulsive. This trait is thought to be related to an individual's level of self-discipline and their ability to control their impulses and behave in a responsible manner.

  • Orderliness - being organized and paying attention to details.
  • Dutifulness - a strong sense of responsibility and obligation to fulfill tasks and duties.
  • Achievement striving - a strong drive to set and achieve personal and professional goals.
  • Self-discipline - the ability to control impulses and maintain focus towards goals.
  • Cautiousness - being prudent and avoiding risks.


These Sub-traits also break down to sub-sub-traits


  • Organization skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Neatness
  • Reliability



  • Responsibility
  • Dependability
  • Duty fulfillment
  • Obligation fulfillment


Achievement striving

  • Ambition
  • Drive
  • Determination
  • Goal orientation



  • Self-control
  • Impulse control
  • Delay of gratification
  • Willpower



  • Prudence
  • Risk aversion
  • Carefulness
  • Thriftiness



Industriousness is often considered a sub-trait of Conscientiousness in the Big Five personality model. It refers to the tendency to be hardworking and productive, characterized by persistence, diligence, and a strong work ethic. In some frameworks, it may be considered a subcategory of the Achievement Striving sub-trait of Conscientiousness. In others, it may be considered a separate sub-trait within Conscientiousness, reflecting an individual's drive to engage in productive and meaningful work. Regardless of its exact categorization, Industriousness is closely related to Conscientiousness and is often used as a measure of an individual's work-related motivation and drive.

Disgust sensitivity

Disgust sensitivity is not typically considered a sub-trait of Conscientiousness in the Big Five personality model. The Big Five model focuses on five broad domains of personality that are believed to capture the most fundamental dimensions of individual differences in personality: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Disgust sensitivity refers to an individual's tendency to experience strong feelings of disgust in response to certain stimuli, such as physical or moral impurities, and it is not considered a part of the Conscientiousness domain.

However, it's possible that in some models or frameworks, disgust sensitivity may be related to or interact with Conscientiousness in some way. Personality is a complex and multi-faceted construct, and different models and frameworks may offer different ways of parsing and categorizing the various traits and sub-traits that make up an individual's personality.


Extraversion is one of the five major traits of personality, according to the five-factor model of personality. People who are high in extraversion are generally outgoing, talkative, energetic, and sociable. They tend to enjoy being around other people and seek out social situations, whereas people who are low in extraversion may be more introverted and reserved. Extraversion is often considered to be the opposite of introversion, and the two traits are thought to exist on a continuum.


Agreeableness is a trait that describes a person's tendency to be cooperative and compassionate towards others. People who are high in agreeableness tend to be more empathetic, generous, and kind. They are more likely to put the needs of others before their own and to be willing to compromise in order to get along with others. People who are low in agreeableness, on the other hand, tend to be more independent and less concerned with the feelings of others. They may be seen as more cold, calculating, and unemotional.


Gregariousness: tendency to enjoy the company of others and seek out social situations.
Assertiveness: tendency to be confident and bold in social situations.
Activity level: tendency to have a high energy level and be busy.
Excitement-seeking: tendency to enjoy taking risks and pursuing new experiences.
Positive emotions: tendency to experience and express positive emotions.


  • Affiliation
  • Cooperation
  • Friendliness


  • Self-Confidence
  • Dominance
  • Self-Assuredness


  • Adventure-seeking
  • Novelty-seeking
  • Thrill-seeking

Positive Emotions

  • Enthusiasm
  • Joyfulness
  • Cheerfulness


  • Talkativeness
  • Gregariousness
  • Interpersonal attraction


Neuroticism measures an individual's tendency to experience negative emotions, such as anxiety, fear, anger, and depression. People who are high in neuroticism tend to be more emotionally reactive and less resilient to stress, while those who are low in neuroticism tend to be more emotionally stable and less prone to negative emotions. In general, neuroticism is thought to be a relatively stable trait that is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors.

Anxiety - feeling nervous, worried, or afraid in response to perceived threats or stressors.
Angry Hostility - experiencing feelings of anger and irritation, as well as having an increased likelihood of acting on these feelings.
Depression - experiencing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
Self-consciousness - being self-aware and sensitive to others' opinions and evaluations.
Impulsiveness - acting on urges and desires without fully thinking through the consequences.


  • Worry
  • Phobia
  • Panic

Angry Hostility

  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Hostility


  • Low Mood
  • Guilt
  • Suicidal Thoughts


  • Self-doubt
  • Shame
  • Embarrassment


  • Risk-taking
  • Impulsiveness
  • Lack of Restraint

How do personality traits show in the body?

Personality traits can manifest in a person's body language and behavior. For example, someone who is shy (low in trait extroversion) may avoid eye contact and have tense body language, while someone who is outgoing (high in trait extroversion) may make strong eye contact and have more relaxed body language. Additionally, the way a person dresses and presents themselves can also be an expression of their personality.

One line of research has examined the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and the Big Five traits. For example, some studies have found that higher levels of neuroticism are associated with higher BMI, while others have found that higher levels of conscientiousness are associated with lower BMI. Additionally, some studies have found that higher levels of extraversion and openness to experience are associated with lower BMI, while others have found no significant relationship.

Other research has focused on the relationship between body shape and the Big Five traits. For example, some studies have found that individuals with an apple-shaped body (i.e., carrying weight in the abdomen) are more likely to score higher on neuroticism and lower on conscientiousness, while those with a pear-shaped body (i.e., carrying weight in the hips and thighs) are more likely to score higher on agreeableness and conscientiousness.

It is worth noting that the evidence in this area is still limited and more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between body types and the Big Five model. Additionally, it is important to recognize that correlations between body types and personality traits do not necessarily imply causality, and that other factors (such as genetics, upbringing, and cultural influences) may also play a role in shaping both body types and personality traits.