Meaning & Definition
The Five-Factor Model (FFM), also known as the Big Five personality traits, is a widely accepted and extensively studied model of personality. It aims to describe and categorize human personality based on five core dimensions or factors. These five factors are considered to represent the fundamental dimensions of personality that capture the most essential and distinct aspects of individual differences in personality traits.
The five factors are often remembered using the acronym OCEAN:
- Openness to Experience
This factor reflects the extent to which an individual is open to new experiences, ideas, and intellectual curiosity. People high in openness tend to be imaginative, creative, and willing to explore new ideas, while those low in openness may be more traditional and prefer routine.
Conscientiousness refers to an individual’s level of organization, self-discipline, and dependability. People high in conscientiousness are generally responsible, diligent, and goal-oriented, while those low in this trait may be more disorganized and less focused on tasks.
Extraversion measures the degree to which someone is outgoing, sociable, and assertive. People high in extraversion are often more sociable, energetic, and enthusiastic, while those low in extraversion tend to be more introverted and reserved.
Agreeableness relates to an individual’s interpersonal tendencies, such as kindness, cooperation, and empathy. People high in agreeableness are typically warm, considerate, and cooperative, while those low in agreeableness may be more competitive or skeptical.
- Neuroticism (or Emotional Stability)
Neuroticism assesses emotional stability and resilience. Individuals high in neuroticism tend to be more prone to negative emotions like anxiety, depression, and stress, while those low in neuroticism are often more emotionally stable and can handle stress better.
The Five Factor Model provides a structured framework for understanding and studying personality, and it has been extensively researched and validated through psychological studies and assessments. It is often used in various fields, including psychology, human resources, and marketing, to gain insights into individual differences in personality and behavior. It has also been used to explore how these personality traits can influence a wide range of life outcomes, from career choices and relationships to health and well-being.