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Which Personality Traits Are Universal?

Which Personality Traits Are Universal?
August 22, 2020

Since the beginning of the field of psychology, researchers have been studying people and trying to understand personality. There have been numerous theories proposed over the years and a fair amount of debate. Most studies agree that there are the “Big 5” personality traits proposed by Costa and McCrae. McCrae went so far as to study over 50 different cultures and discovered that these five personality traits are universal.

Big 5 Personality Traits

The Big 5 personality traits are: extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. It is important to note that all these traits fall on a range between two extremes with most people being somewhere in the middle but leaning more one direction than the other. For instance, one trait most of us are familiar with is the spectrum of introversion to extroversion. Rarely are people at the extremes of either end, but most people lean more towards being introverted or extroverted.

With each of the Big 5 personality traits people tend to be high or low on a trait. People who are high on the openness trait tend to be open to trying new things, are creative, imaginative, and tackle challenges. People low on openness dislike change, do not enjoy new things, resist new ideas, and dislike abstract and theoretical. For the personality trait conscientiousness people who are high on this trait tend to be thoughtful, goal-directed, organized, good with details, finish tasks right away, and enjoy schedules. People low on this trait often have things left out, may have unfinished projects, procrastinate, and tend to be more spontaneous and not follow schedules. With regards to extroversion, people high this trait enjoy meeting new people, make friends easily, feel energized when they are with people, and enjoy being the center of attention. Conversely, people low on this trait (introverts) prefer one on one or small groups, enjoy their alone time, do not like being the center of attention, think before they speak, and find socializing a bit exhausting.

Personality Type – Traits

When it comes to the personality trait agreeableness those who are high on this trait tend to be very kind, caring, concerned about others, are empathetic, affectionate, and engage in prosocial behaviors. People who are low on agreeableness tend to not care much about other people’s feelings or problems, insult and belittle others, and may manipulate people for their own goals. The last trait is neuroticism and those who rate high on this attribute tend to be anxious, moody, have emotional instability, and get easily stressed. People low on neuroticism tend to more emotionally stable, handle stress more easily, are more relaxed in general and free of anxiety and depression. Although these are the Big 5 most common personality traits, there are countless other quality and attributes that make up our personalities. Many of these are wired in with genetics, but all people have the ability to address and work on personality characteristics if they wish too in order to move along the spectrum. If a person wants to be more conscientious, agreeable, open, or extroverted, there are ways to nurture ourselves toward a direction that we desire. This is often the work done in counseling as we help guide and assist people in shaping themselves into a better version of themselves.

If you want to work on your personality characteristics for your own betterment and happiness, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule a consultation with one of our psychologists or psychiatrists so we can help discuss treatment options. Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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