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Personalities Big Five Personality Traits of People in Social Situations

Updated on May 11, 2013

Personality Factors and Social Gatherings

The Psychology of People’s Personality Traits and Their Behavior in Social Situations

For a moment, let’s people watch in our mind’s eye. Let’s imagine we are at a party and we are meeting people for the first time. Let’s try to guess which personality trait we can recognize in the various people we meet. The psychology of personality is a very interesting aspect of human behavior. We describe people by their personality, and we make decisions about each other because of their personality. Within a population of people in the same scenario, you will see the psychology of people and their personality traits come alive. The big 5 personality traits or five factor model, as it is also known gives a broad classification of five kinds of personalities. People can range within these classifications, giving the categories many facets to describe people’s personalities.

Social Situations and the Psychology of Personality

Guess the personality type

Okay, lets get ready to go to a party and see what personalities match the big five factors.. We walk into the party room, but before we walk in, let me tell you … how terrific you look!  The room is filled with festive decorations. The air is overflowing  with music, laughter, and the buzz of people in conversation.  The hostess is happy to see us. She tells us the schedule of events for the evening introduces us to her very good friend, who extends a warm and hearty handshake to you, and greets us with a wide smile, and instantly engages us in conversation. He is quite talkative and friendly. What personality type is this person?

Guess the Personality of Each Guest

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We meet another party guest

We decide to sit down at our table.  Sitting next to us is a woman who pleasantly introduces herself, when the food will arrive and starts to talk about how worried she is about her job, the economy, and what she will do if she has to find work. We listen and think that her personality type is _________________.

What is this person's personality

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Another Personality Characteristic

The hostess walks over and thanks us for sharing her special occasion.  We have a great time talking to her.  After a while she excuses herself to check her list to make sure everything is going the way she set out to be.  We have always known her to be organized and systematic. Her personality type is ____________________.

The Hostess Personality

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So Many Personalities

We meet more people and the party is a great success.  One of the people we meet tells us about their recent adventures while traveling. They are so enthusiastic about their story, it makes us want to explore such a place.  The personality of this guest is  ________________________.

Who Has this Personality Characteristic?

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The Personality Traits of This Couple

The party is over, and we are about to call a taxi to take us home, when a couple we met earlier offers to give us a ride.  They are friendly, warm and very accommodating people.  This couple would be ____________________type of personality.

Choose the Couple's Personality

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The Big Five Personality Factors

In real life, people comprise a combination of the big 5 personality traits, and exhibit characteristics along a range from high, to low, and ranges in between. In observing people’s personalities, it is a very complex and interesting topic. No one theory, or story can completely typify people’s behavior. But it is useful to see how people’s personality plays out in all of life’s situations.

Personality traits play a big part in the way we behave socially as a couple and in group relationships. The psychology of children, adolescents, and adults can be seen easily in observing the interactions people have with each other. When we look at the Big Five Dimensions of personality, we can apply these characteristics to the behavior people exhibit in social situations.

The Big 5 Personality classificatons, or Five Factor Model is a somewhat reliable predicator of the reactions people have, given their personality traits. People react and interpret the experiences they encounter with other people and to the environment they find themselves in. The Big Five Personality dimensions are thought to be influenced equally by inherited factors and environmental factors. Childhood personality characteristics are molded by the family dynamics and relationships that are developed during these early years. Adolescents personality is largely a result of what has happened in childhood.

Children who’s personality tends to be more agreeable are likely to be perceptive of others. They are more likely to be accepted by other kids and avoid being rejected by their peers. These children are more likely to be cooperative ,are usually more obliging and helpful, and gain favorably in social groups.

In looking at the big five characteristics: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism (OCEAN). Studies have shown teenagers who are low in neuroticism, high in conscientiousness, and high in extraversion tend to have better relationships and interactions with their parents, than those adolescents on the opposite end of the scale. Teens who are lower in agreeableness and lower in extraversion are more likely to encounter rejection among their peers. The big five personality factors are believed to be constantly changing until about age 30, although no studies have confirmed that this age is an accurate estimation of our personalities being fixed.

The more positive psychological emotions in the big five range, the more fulfilling and satisfying adolescent and adult relationships usually tend to be. People with these personality characteristics tend to have less discord, mistreatment, and less relationship problems. This goes beyond family interactions and also extends to group and couple relationships. High neuroticism seemed to work against males, resulting in lower social status in the group. Extraversion seems to predict higher social status for males and females. It has been found, for example, that most jury foreperson’s are extraverted. Social groups generally have a natural tendency to have status hierarchies that informally rank individuals by their personalities. These may be based on social skills that attain prominence, respect, and influence for the individual. Most extroverts tend to have a “firm handshake”. Among college students, those who tended to rate high in conscientiousness were found to spend a greater amount of time in the classrooms, libraries, and other academic areas on the college campus. College students with personalities who rated high in openness were found to frequent coffee houses and restaurants. Extraverted students engaged in more conversation and spent less time alone. Conscientious individuals usually create environments that are neat and orderly, well organized, and clutter free. People who rated high in openness usually created unique rooms that reflected a certain amount of creativity and distinctness reflecting their personality. Psychologically these people create a physical space that conveys a wide diversity of hobbies and interests.

In applying the big 5 personality classifications, keep in mind that they are broad categories and can not explain every aspect of a person’s behavior. However, it is interesting to observe how these characteristics really do apply to people’s personality. People who had personalities that reflected high on the scale of the Big Five (OCEAN) Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism generally show personality characteristics that are consistent in social situations, work settings, and many other life circumstances.

Personalities and Social Gatherings


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    • frogyfish profile image


      8 years ago from Central United States of America

      Very interesting hub and comments too. I've gotta brag that I got 100% first test. I needed that...

      Thank you - enjoyed it all!

    • pennyofheaven profile image


      8 years ago from New Zealand

      What a fabulous hub! Enjoyed the hub. Got one wrong but hey it was truly fun! Thanks!

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      8 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Great and interesting hub!

    • clark farley profile image

      clark farley 

      8 years ago

      Dude! I have total "Hub-Envy" on your questionaire!

      To give people the opp to step into a 'controlled dynamic' as a way to illustrate the principles (of the theory) def the way to go.

      To follow up on AKH's very generous and open invitation to compare...I would say the great thing is that these are complimentary schema, rather than competing... which is why I really like setting up specific situations to illustrate Traits and Characteristics.

      AKH, being one of the more astute participants over at the Doctrine blog, is always after me to "Simplify!! If you can't put this thing in terms that people can relate to how the %$^& can you expect them to understand!?

      (lol our blog is kinda a mix of large-extended-family-in-one-house-at-dinner and frat/sorority house on spring break...lots of volume but decent intent, you know what I mean?)

      Anyway, great hub, just starting to get our feet wet over here and AKH was so enthused about your HUB that I could not resist her email, "Hey you need to get over and check out peoplality, this toknowinfo really got some interesting stuff"

      I tend to go on and on in these Comments, but I would say, from the Wakefield Doctrine perspective the scenaria above will look the same but the Doctrine would pose a single question:

      "that person telling the story about the trip, do they appear to be talking to us as a group or is he pouring out incredible amounts of information that tell me more than I need to know or is she telling the story to me (adding some personal information, touching my arm as she speaks)"

      The answer to this sinlge question will indicate the personality type (from the Wakefield Doctrine perspective).

      The woman at the table talking about jobs and worries, does she appear to be focusing on my reaction to her story or does she say things that make everyone feel un-comfortable?

      The only real difference here tween the two theories is the Doctrine would say, 'what kind of worldview does the person appear to have'? then you will know their type.

      It is not so much the type of behaviors we observe, but rather the 'goal' or 'outcome desired' of their behavior that tells us about them.

    • AKH profile image


      8 years ago from Rhode Island

      i'm terribly sorry to hear about your loss. take your time. when you're ready.

      btw, i'd like to introduce you to clark farley. he is the creator of the Wakefield Doctrine and would be better versed in comparing the two. he has published 5 hubs on the Doctrine. you can find him by searching clark farley under hubbers. i will let him know. thanks so much for responding.

      p.s. i think your hubs are very also great. keep'em coming!

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago


      I love your hub about clarks, scotts, and rogers and I want to compare the personality types in both our hubs. I think it is a fascinating take on personalities. I haven't been able to respond to you because my Mom passed away 2 weeks ago, when you sent your first message to me. I am just kind of going through the motions right now, but I truly want to keep in contact and share our thoughts. Maybe you could apply the Wakefield Doctrine to my hub and tell me what you think, until I get clear headed again. Who knows maybe we will come up with a unique theory together. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    • AKH profile image


      8 years ago from Rhode Island

      Sorry, I should have been clearer as to the three personality types to which I referred (clarks, scotts and rogers). They can be found at "the Wakefield Doctrine (the theory of clarks, scotts and rogers." It is a theory that proposes there are but three types of personalitites. And these personalities are a result of perception rather than observation or interaction with others. Once the 3 are understood, a person can not only recognize the other two, but also predict what that person will do in any given situation. Once embraced, you'll finally be able to say "...No wonder he's so loud and obnoxious. He's a scott!" You will understand the actions and behavior of everyone around you.

    • AKH profile image


      8 years ago from Rhode Island

      Who (clark, scott or roger) do you think the pesonalities of each are as they relate to the Wakefield Doctrine? A social setting is an excellent setting to observe personlaity types.

      Will be back to share. Curious how/who you will identify.

      btw, this is not a test. you can put away your #2 pencil.

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Love your humor. It is a wonderful part of your personality!

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      8 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Sorry, I did not take the test. You must have written it too fast. Cause I read slow... The test was too gosh darn hard. Seriously in a bit of a hurry. Hope to come back and spend more time.. A thought provoking topic and addressed in a forthright manner...


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