ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Five-Factor Personality Model

Updated on September 29, 2013

For millennia humans have tried to classify personalities in terms of a small number of attributes.

Frequently they turn to the heavens, taking the state of the stats as the predictor of personality and the future: Western Astrology uses the star sign as indicating the dominant attribute with other features of the horoscope indicating subordinate features that modify the attributes indicated by the star sign. Chinese Astrology uses the year of birth, in a twelve year cycle, to find the dominant personality attributes, and has a complicated system for modifiers that among other things assigns everyone the characteristics of a secondary animal, and there are other systems for example that used in India

In the West in Medieval times personalities were, following theories developed in Ancient Greece, described in terms of humours: sanguine, choleric, phlegmatic and melancholic, which were envisioned as fluids filling the body and determining temperament. In the Twentieth Century some psychologists described personality in terms of a Neurotic-extraverted axis, where Neuroticism describes a tendency to experience negative emotions and Extraversion the tendency to experience positive emotions in response to a given stimulus, and when the dimensions were paired the results resembled the four humour model of the middle ages and this led to a Four_Temperaments model which was expanded to a Five Temperament model and, as with Astrology, both Western and Chinese, was made more complex to describe mixtures of these temperaments.

The Five Factor Model: simplification

All these models assume that personality is a given from birth, and resembles the idea that personality is inherited. Since about 1930 a model of personality based on Five traits or factors has been developed that seems to give a good description of personality, backed by an increasing knowledge of the neural mechanisms correlated with each trait, though, as tends to happen, each of these traits has been assigned facets ( which I will not discuss here). The traits are Neuroticism, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness. Neuroticism describes the tendency to react to threats and negative emotions, Extraversion is the response to positive emotions, and predicts risk taking, Agreeableness predicts the harmony of one's social relationships, conscientiousness the ability to follow rules, and openness tends to predict creativity and innovation. I have not yet tried to relate the five factors tot he five Chinese elements though provisionally I would say Fire relates to extraversion, Water to Neuroticism, Metal to conscientiousness, Wood, to Agreeableness and Wind to Openness.

While not perfect this model can be used to produce personality profiles that predict the longevity of a marriage and professional success in particular careers. I have also argued that personality can affect success in esoteric endeavours such as Magic and Manifestation.

There is considerable variation in the levels of each trait in humans and some of the traits, particularly Neuroticism and extraversion also seem to occur in animals. Note that while 50% of personality seems to be inherited, the non-inheritable 50% gives the chance of overcoming the disadvantages of each trait and, with a lot of hard work, taking control of your mind. Also note that different aspects of your personality may dominate in different arenas. You may be in a job where you have to be disagreeable to people, but at home you may be known as a soft caring teddy bear. Many notorious “hard men” match this pattern


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)