Big-5 Personality Factors

The Big-5 factors were developed by Costa and McCrae. An inventory of 30 items was drawn from a larger set developed by Lewis Goldberg .

Costa, P.T., McCrae, R.R. (1992). Four Ways Five Factors are Basic, Personality and Individual Differences, 13, pp. 653-665. Oxford, England.
Goldberg, L. Development of Five-Factor Domain Scales. Online:

Neuroticism (N)
High Neuroticism
Low Neuroticism
Someone with high neuroticism is easily affected by the surrounding atmosphere. They get worried easily, are quick to anger, and easily discouraged. They often feel uneasy and embarrassed. They have difficulty resisting temptations and coping with stress. People with low neuroticism have very stable moods. They often appear calm and relaxed. They are able to cope with stress around them and thus it takes more to discourage and embarrass them. They are composed and are able to handle stressful situations without anxiety.
Extraversion (E)
High Extraversion
Low Extraversion
Individuals who score high on Extraversion are affectionate, friendly and intimate. They are gregarious and prefer company. They tend to be assertive and drift towards leadership positions. Craving excitement and thrills, they work and play at a fast pace. They usually have cheerful, optimistic outlooks on life in general. Individuals who score low on Extraversion are reserved and formal. They prefer to be alone and seldom seek out company. They tend to stay in the background and perform their activities at a more leisurely pace. They have a low need for thrills and have a less exuberant attitude in general than extraverts do.
Openness (O)
High Openness
Low Openness
People with high openness are imaginative and daydream a lot. They appreciate art and beauty and place value on emotions. they prefer variety in their lives and enjoy trying new things out. They have a broad intellectual curiosity and seem to be able to talk knowledgeably about many different things. They are liberal and open to re-examining their own values. People with low openness focus on the here and now. They find speculative talk a waste of time. They are uninterested in artistic endeavors and discount the value of emotions. They prefer familiar, routine tasks and life styles. They have a narrow intellectual focus and are very conservative and dogmatic about their own views and values.
Agreeableness (A)
High Agreeableness
Low Agreeableness
Individuals high in this scale see others as honest and well-intentioned. Thus they are often straight forward and frank with others, and are willing to help and trust in them. If placed in a conflict, they usually defer under a higher authority. They are humble, sometimes self-effacing, and are usually tender-minded and easily moved. Individuals low on this scale have a cynical and skeptical outlook on life. They find it hard to trust others and often appear guarded and reluctant to get involved. They are aggressive and competitive, especially when placed under conflict. They often feel superior to others, and are hard-headed and rational.
Conscientiousness (C)
High Conscientiousness
Low Conscientiousness
People with high conscientiousness feel capable and effective. They are well-organized, neat and tidy. Governed by conscience and honor, they are driven to achieve success. They focus on completing tasks and think carefully before acting. Individuals low in this scale often feel unprepared. They are unorganized and unmethodical in performing tasks. They are casual about obligations and have a low need for achievement. They procrastinate frequently and are easily distracted. They are spontaneous and hasty in tasks.


Copyright, March 2002, by Nicholas Yee.

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