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Big Five Personality Traits

  • By: Corinna E. Löckenhoff & Paul T. Costa Jr.
  • In: Encyclopedia of Social Psychology
  • Edited by: Roy F. Baumeister & Kathleen D. Vohs
  • Subject:Social Psychology (general)
Definition

The Big Five personality traits are the most basic dimensions that shape the structure of human personality and underlie the regularities in people's thinking, feeling, and behavior. The Big Five are dimensional, which means that each of them describes a continuum between two extreme poles. All people, regardless of gender, age, or culture, share the same basic personality traits, but people differ in their relative standing on each of the traits. The individual Big Five are Neuroticism (vs. Emotional Stability), Extraversion (or Surgency), Openness to Experience (also called Culture or Intellect), Agreeableness (vs. Antagonism), and Conscientiousness. As a memory aid, note that the first letters can be rearranged to spell OCEAN, a term that suggests the vast scope of this model in encompassing personality traits.

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