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Personalities - Personality Traits and the Characteristics People Share

Updated on May 8, 2013

Personalities Are Unique

No one has the exact same personality.
No one has the exact same personality. | Source

Understanding People's Personality Traits

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Peoplality and the Personality Traits We Share

Your co-worker is always prepared, precise, and prompt. You are soft hearted, empathetic, and cooperative. There are eight people in the room, and eight different personalities. How will these eight people react in the same situation? Human beings share many of the same qualities, yet we are different in a myriad of ways, including our behavior and personalities. We share many personality traits, yet the reaction of one person varies depending on their dominant characteristics.

Psychologists, personality theorists, philosophers, scientists, and all people everywhere try to understand the personalities that make up the human race. Being able to predict a person’s behavior, actions, and personalities offers many advantages in the various circumstances that come before us. It is instinctive to anticipate how a person may react in a situation.

It all started back in 1884, when Sir Francis Galton recognized that personality characteristics could be classified through language known as the Lexical Hypothesis. In 1933, L.L. Thurstone, the then president of the American Psychological Association made a speech about personality traits, based on this Lexical Hypothesis, which was published a year later in the Psychological Review as “The Vectors of the Mind”.

In 1936 Gordon Allport and H.S. Odbert came up with 4500 adjectives to describe personalities of people. Raymond Cattell, in 1957, who is known for his personality tests, narrowed these adjectives down to 171 words, and then categorized them into 35 major groups of traits, and added 10 more psychological traits. He then reduced it to 16 main characteristics. From this Cattell created the famous 16PF personality test. In 1961, two air force researchers discovered 5 recurring factors that are still in use today, known as the Five Factor Personality Model, or the Big Five Personality Factor.

In the late 1960’s until 1981, many personality theorists believed that personality could not be predicted. In 1981 the debate rose again, and it was found that observable personality traits did correlate to certain behavior. In 1996, studies also showed that there are environmental and inheritable characteristics that make up part of these five personality traits and the psychology of a person.

So Many Different Personalities and Psychology of People

The Five Factor Model or Big 5 Factors of Personalities

The five factor personality model is most often used with the acronym OCEAN. Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism.

Openness describes a person who is creative, imaginative, intellectually curious, appreciative of art and beauty. They may be the person who comes up with original ideas, responsive to other people’s feelings, and be comfortable with unfamiliarity.

Concientiousness fits people who control their impulses, are always prepared, follow a schedule, do things in an orderly way, and are very responsible individuals. They are the person who everyone can rely on to do the right thing, they are looked upon as bright and disciplined. They may seek perfection, may be regimented, and boring and strictly adhere to a schedule.

Extraversion explains people who get stimulated from the outside world. They the company of others, are very energetic, and are frequently optimistic. They have a zest for life, and have an exuberance that makes them busy with activities. Extroverts are outgoing people who like to talk and attract the spotlight on themselves.

Agreeableness is displayed in individuals who are cooperative, and try to get along with other people. They are usually sociable, willing to lend a hand, supportive, non confrontational, and have a positive view of human nature. They tend to be empathetic towards others, and make people feel at ease.

Neuroticism demonstrates a part of people’s personality who may be anxious, fearful, easily disturbed, moody, and may experience one or multiple negative emotions. They tend to see things as threatening, and minor irriations or disappointments as discouraging and difficult. They may not be clear headed because they are clouded by these emotions.

Each of these five personality factors have an opposite to them.

Personality Types

What personality type are you?
What personality type are you? | Source

Personalities Are Unique

People who score low on openness are known as closed personalities. They tend to have limited interests, think in literal terms and are most comfortable with situations they know. People who score low on conscientiousness tend not to be ambitious, do not pay attention to details, avoid responsibilities, and may be unprepared, and impulsive. They may also be the type of person who is fun to be with, zany, lively, and flexible to changes. Those who score low on extraversion are introverted. They like quiet, calm, and may be shy. They usually enjoy alone time or individual activities.

The opposite personality of agreeableness is disagreeableness.Those who are disagreeable put their own needs first before they choose to get along with others. They will not go out of their way for other people, may eye people with doubt and distrust, or be unfriendly and unhelpful, and unsympathetic. Those who have less neuroticism in their personality are known to have emotional stability. They are less easily irritated, less stressed, and may be happier individuals. They tend to be more relaxed, and have less mood changes.

Learning About Personalities

The big five factors are useful in job placement testing and can be matched with the ten psychological personality disorders therapists use to diagnose patients. Personality is part of being human, and can be noted early on. A person in their 30’s usually retains their basic personality, and will only vary under life changing circumstances or through the efforts of counseling or intended self help. There are gender differences in the five factor socres across societies. Women usually score higher on agreeableness and neuroticism. The big five misses the mark on some aspects of behavior, but it has shown reliability in many aspects. When a study was done in 1992, with 20 branch managers for a bank, they all scored high on extraversion, low on neuroticism, and high on openness. So there seems to be some ability to match people with their professions.

There has been much debate about the big five and what it fails to tell us about personalities. There is no one formula that can absolutely tell us everything we need to know about someone’s personality. The five factor model attempts to categorize human behavior, but it is not all encompassing. These factors can be duplicated in some countries, and not others, so we know cultural influences also affect personality, as does life circumstances.

Personality formations are influenced by many dynamics. The more we know about personality the more we can understand ourselves and mankind. Respect yourself, and respect others for who they are, and the differences in personality that make life so interesting. Learning about personalities give us all a greater understanding of how different and similar we all are.

To learn more about personalities, go to A comprehensive website all about people and their personalities.

What peoplality type are you?

Which personality category do you fit into?

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    • Beege215e profile image


      9 years ago

      very interesting material here, good hub, thanks for sharing. I am the quintessential extrovert, I do love being on stage, but I do share some of the other type personality traits as well. You have laid this out very well. Thanks for the hub.

    • qwark profile image


      9 years ago


      Thanks for becoming a fan.

      I always read a "hub" written by a new follower and respond.

      Years ago I took a course sponsored by Dale Carnegie.

      It was fantastic and covered most of what your "hub" covers + much more and how they all can effect life in so many ways.

      Informative "hub" nicely written!

      Qwark :-)

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      9 years ago from Minnesota

      I enjoyed this article. I fit into a couple categories but I picked extroversion because it is such a big part of my personality. I also fit into the conscientiousness and agreeable. I will never forget one day in grad schoo, the teacher was teaching us the differen't personality types from Introverted to Extravert. She lined up about 30 of us against the wall and asked us questions until she had us lined up as close as she could to where we fell on the continuum. I was the MOST extroverted which landed me at the end of the line. Yikes, I knew I was an extrovert but this experience surprised me as to what degree. You did a great job on this and I do think it is helpful to have an idea of where someone fits. UP USEFUL and AWESOME:)

    • Daniela Daljac profile image

      Daniela Daljac 

      9 years ago from AUSTRALIA

      So many people so many different personality!!!Great hub!

    • toknowinfo profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago

      OCEAN is just one aspect to try to define personality. There is so many more topics about this. Look for more info in my other hubs

    • glassvisage profile image


      10 years ago from Northern California

      Peoplality - now this is a term I have not heard before :) Thanks for this Hub and for connecting this term to the concept of OCEAN to really round out my understanding of it.


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