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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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