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Personality Psychology

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Personality psychology. A picture of the depictions of personality dimensions.

Personality psychology

Personality psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and its variation among individuals. Its areas of focus include: Big Five personality traits. Five factors[edit] Openness to experience: (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious).

Big Five personality traits

Conscientiousness. Personality models[edit] Origin[edit] Terms such as 'hard-working,' 'reliable,' and 'persevering' describe desirable aspects of character.


Because it was once believed to be a moral evaluation, conscientiousness was overlooked as a real psychological attribute. The reality of individual differences in conscientiousness has now been clearly established by studies of cross-observer agreement. Peer and expert ratings confirm the self-reports that people make about their degrees of conscientiousness. Measurement[edit] A person's level of conscientiousness is generally assessed using self-report measures, although peer-reports and third-party observation can also be used. Extraversion and introversion. The trait of extraversion–introversion is a central dimension of human personality theories.

Extraversion and introversion

The terms introversion and extraversion were first popularized by Carl Jung,[1] Although both the popular understanding and psychological age differ from his original intent. Extraversion tends to be manifested in outgoing, talkative, energetic behavior, whereas introversion is manifested in more reserved and solitary behavior.[2] Virtually all comprehensive models of personality include these concepts in various forms. Examples include the Big Five model, Jung's analytical psychology, Hans Eysenck's three-factor model, Raymond Cattell's 16 personality factors, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, and the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator.

In any case, people fluctuate in their behavior all the time, and even extreme introverts and extroverts do not always act according to their type. Openness to experience. Openness to experience is one of the domains which are used to describe human personality in the Five Factor Model.[1][2] Openness involves six facets, or dimensions, including active imagination, aesthetic sensitivity, attentiveness to inner feelings, preference for variety, and intellectual curiosity.[3] A great deal of psychometric research has demonstrated that these facets or qualities are significantly correlated.[2] Thus, openness can be viewed as a global personality trait consisting of a set of specific traits, habits, and tendencies that cluster together.

Openness to experience

Openness tends to be normally distributed with a small number of individuals scoring extremely high or low on the trait, and most people scoring moderately.[2] People who score low on openness are considered to be closed to experience. They tend to be conventional and traditional in their outlook and behavior. They prefer familiar routines to new experiences, and generally have a narrower range of interests. Neuroticism. Emotional stability[edit] At the opposite end of the spectrum, individuals who score low in neuroticism are more emotionally stable and less reactive to stress.


They tend to be calm, even-tempered, and less likely to feel tense or rattled. Although they are low in negative emotion, they are not necessarily high on positive emotion. Being high on positive emotion is an element of the independent trait of extraversion. Neurotic extraverts, for example, would experience high levels of both positive and negative emotional states, a kind of "emotional roller coaster".

Measurement[edit] Like other personality traits, neuroticism is typically viewed as a continuous dimension rather than distinct. Extent of neuroticism is generally assessed using self-report measures, although peer-reports and third-party observation can also be used. Statement measures tend to comprise more words, and hence consume more research instrument space, than lexical measures. Agreeableness. Agreeableness is a personality trait manifesting itself in individual behavioral characteristics that are perceived as kind, sympathetic, cooperative, warm and considerate.[1] In contemporary personality psychology, agreeableness is one of the five major dimensions of personality structure, reflecting individual differences in cooperation and social harmony.[2] People who score high on this dimension tend to believe that most people are honest, decent, and trustworthy.


People scoring low on agreeableness are generally less concerned with others' well-being and report having less empathy. Therefore, these individuals are less likely to go out of their way to help others. Low agreeableness is often characterized by skepticism about other people's motives, resulting in suspicion and unfriendliness. People very low on agreeableness have a tendency to be manipulative in their social relationships. They are also more likely to compete than to cooperate.

History[edit] The Big Five[edit] Four Temperaments. Choleric, melancholic, sanguine, and phlegmatic temperaments Four temperaments is a proto-psychological theory that suggests that there are four fundamental personality types, sanguine (pleasure-seeking and sociable), choleric (ambitious and leader-like), melancholic (analytical and quiet), and phlegmatic (relaxed and peaceful).

Four Temperaments

Most formulations include the possibility of mixtures of the types. The Greek physician Hippocrates (460–370 BC) incorporated the four temperaments into his medical theories as part of the ancient medical concept of humorism, that four bodily fluids affect human personality traits and behaviors. Later discoveries in biochemistry have led modern medicine science to reject the theory of the four temperaments, although some personality type systems of varying scientific acceptance continue to use four or more categories of a similar nature.