Factor analysis is used. Personality, according to Hans Eysenck, may be reduced to three primary traits: neuroticism, extraversion, and psychoticism. The Five Major Personality Traits ("the five-factor model") are: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.
These traits have been widely adopted by psychologists. Openness to experience refers to our tendency to seek out new experiences and our willingness to try things out. Conscientious people tend to follow through on commitments and have strong morals. Extroverts are energized by social interaction and enjoy being the center of attention. Agreeable people are good-natured and tolerant, while neurotics suffer from anxiety and depression.
Psychologists have also proposed other trait models. The "HEXACO model" includes six core traits (honesty-humility, emotionality, openness, attentiveness, conation, and courage) that account for much of what is unique about each person's personality.
The "Big 5" model includes the same five traits as in the five-factor model plus rationality. This last trait is important because many behaviors that are considered positive such as creativity and ambition require some degree of risk-taking which could be seen as dangerous if one was too rational.
They have identified key aspects of personality. The Five Factor Model is now the most commonly recognized characteristic theory. Openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism are the five variables. These characteristics exist on a scale. Some people are more open than others, etc.
This model has been very successful in explaining variances in behavior across individuals. However it is important to remember that this is a statistical model - not a description of what makes any one person unique. One strength of this approach is its ability to account for inter-individual differences while keeping in mind that humans are social animals who function best in groups. Another advantage is that this framework has helped psychologists develop tests to measure these traits that can then be used with multiple samples of participants.
The trait perspective focuses on the stable tendencies an individual shows over time. These traits are described by measuring individuals on several attributes, which describe general patterns of behavior rather than specific feelings or thoughts. In other words, these are broad descriptions of how someone generally interacts with their environment.
Trait theories were popular before the era of cognitive psychology. They make sense of a lot of data that would otherwise be difficult to explain. For example, it helps to understand why some people are more likely to engage in risky behaviors than others even though they experience similar emotions during crises.
The Big Five personality traits are broad domains/dimensions of personality that comprise openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism (under the acronym, OCEAN). Although the Big Five traits were first proposed in 1989 by John and Helen Oswald, they have been around for much longer than this. The five traits described by John Oswald in his book Human Personality and Its Disorders were emotional stability, cognitive efficiency, intellectual openness-willingness to explore alternative views, social tolerance, and integrity. These same five traits also appear in many other works on human personality.
In 1994, researchers had a major breakthrough when they created a quantitative measure for these traits. They called it the Five Factor Model because each of the five traits is considered a "factor" that accounts for 50% of one's overall personality.
Since their creation, several other measures have been developed to assess the Big Five traits. One common approach is to use self-report questions asked directly by respondents (for example, "How open to new experiences is your nature?" or "On a scale of 1-5, how socially tolerant is your culture?). Another common method is to have respondents rate the extent to which they feel different emotions after they perform tasks that require certain skills (for example, "I felt happy after I talked to someone I didn't know well").
Some characteristics are inherited. "There are five personality qualities that are related to extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness." (Barkley 1997, p. 1) These traits can be passed down through genes.
"Flexibility is a trait that is not inherited; rather, it is learned." (Barkley 1997, p. 1) This means that if someone is not flexible they cannot learn how by watching someone else be flexible.
Still other characteristics are inherited but not directly through genes. Characteristics such as religion, political views, and hobbies are all passed down through the inheritance process. They are inherited because people often follow the examples set by their parents; this includes learning what traits they have and then copying those traits.
Finally, some characteristics are not inherited at all. For example, hair color, height, and weight all come down to random mutations during development that either benefit or harm an individual organism. Some characters may also arise due to accidents during development, but these are exceptions rather than rules.
Overall, personality traits are inherited but not directly through genes.
The theory describes five basic personality traits: extraversion (sometimes called extroversion), agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. These traits are said to account for most individual differences in behavior.
Extraversion is the tendency to seek out and engage with others. You can think of it as the social side of a person's makeup. Extraverts are lively, talkative, and often lead groups. They tend to enjoy being around people and love to have fun. On the other hand, introverts get their energy from alone time and need plenty of it to function at their best. Introverts may appear sociable because they know how to use what little energy they have wisely. However, this ability doesn't come naturally to them and they suffer when forced to socialize too much.
Agreeable people are friendly and cooperative; they like to help others and usually get along well with others. They also tend to be polite and honest. Although agreeable people do not necessarily like everyone, they do not hold a grudge against anyone. They are not drawn to politics or violence, for example.
Open people are eager to learn new things and don't feel compelled to know everything right away. They like having many possibilities and choices before them and are generally willing to try something new.
Extraversion (E), neuroticism (N), and psychoticism (P) are three such superfactors proposed by Eysenck (P). The psychodynamic approach, the humanistic approach, the trait approach, and the social cognitive approach are the four major forms of personality theories. Each theory has its strengths and weaknesses, but they all share a common goal - to explain how and why people differ in their personalities.
Extraversion is the tendency to engage with and respond to others. It includes traits like sociability, enthusiasm, activity, aggressiveness, assertiveness, independence, ambition, and confidence. Extraverts tend to enjoy being around others, find pleasure in new experiences, and learn from their interactions with the world around them. They also tend to be more likely than introverts to take risks and try new things. Introverts, on the other hand, may prefer to stay within themselves and get along better when there's a lot of space between them and others.
Neuroticism is the tendency to experience emotions like sadness, anxiety, anger, guilt, fear, vulnerability, depression, shame, and self-consciousness often intensely. It includes traits like irritability, impatience, jealousy, envy, greed, dishonesty, and self-delusion. People who score high on measures of neuroticism are likely to experience stress and worry about potential negative outcomes even when there's no actual threat.