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The 5 most characteristic psychological personality traits of women and man are described in the specialized literature as the OCEAN or the CANOE model: openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. The model is a grouping of psychological personality traits developed from the 1980s based on statistics of survey data in the general population. The statistical model is called factor analysis and it shows associations of words that people use in daily language to describe aspects of personality, temperament and psyche in the same person. A conscientious person is more likely to be “prepared” than “messy”. Extraversion is associated with gregariousness, assertiveness, warmth, activity, and positive emotions. For every individual, the traits are on a continuum of a spectrum rather than present or absent.
Studies and research of various types, including in twins and in dolphins, have shown that half of the variation between people is genetic and half is due to upbringing and environment. They are relatively stable from childhood through adult life in a great number of psychological and social science studies.
The first systematic multivariate research of personality was conducted by Guilford in 1949. She studied ten factors of personality including general activity, restraint, ascendance, sociability, emotional stability, objectivity, friendliness, thoughtfulness, personal relations and masculinity.These scales were later condensed into three dimensions: social activity, introversion-extraversion, and emotional health.
Tupes and Christal, in 1961, found five broad factors: “surgency”, “agreeableness”, “dependability”, “emotional stability”, and “culture”. Norman relabeled “dependability” as “conscientiousness”. The 1960s and 1970s witnessed a hiatus of research, when behavior was thought not to be stable or predictable. The five-factor model of psychological personality traits came back in the early 1980s. Researchers found that they could predict patterns of behavior by aggregating large numbers of observations. Correlations between personality and behavior increased substantially. “Personality” was found to exist. Lewis Goldberg emphasized the five broad factors, the “Big Five”.
In 2016 the Big Five were related to the Personality Inventory (PID-5) in the DSM-5. The FFM-associated test was used by Cambridge Analytica, as part of the “psychographic profiling” controversy during the 2016 US presidential election.
Rothmann S, Coetzer EP (24 October 2003). “The big five personality dimensions and job performance”. SA Journal of Industrial Psychology. 29. doi:10.4102/sajip.v29i1.88.
Goldberg LR (January 1993). “The structure of phenotypic personality traits”. American Psychologist. 48 (1): 26–34. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.48.1.26. PMID 8427480.
One critic of the Big Five model is Jack Block of the University of California, Berkeley, who has been in a scientific argument with Costa and McCrae. The Big Five may be restricted to 60% of the normal personality traits, and less in case abnormalities are included. The Big Five is not theory-driven, but a statistically-driven group of descriptors that cluster together on factor analytic statistical procedures. But the Big Five are consistent in interviews, self-descriptions and observations, and found across a wide range ages and cultures. However, while genotypic temperament might appear across different cultures, the phenotypic expression of personality traits differs profoundly across different cultures as a function of the different socio-cultural conditioning and experiential learning.
The Big Five model was based on lexical hypothesis, which may be especially fragile in the case of Extraversion and Neuroticism. Language is an invention of group dynamics developed to facilitate socialization, exchange of information, and to synchronize group activity. The social function of language creates a sociability bias in verbal descriptors of human behavior: there are more words related to social than physical or even mental aspects of behavior. There is a negativity bias in emotionality, as most emotions have negative affect. Experiments using the lexical hypothesis demonstrated that it skews the results according to the sociability bias of language and the negativity bias of emotionality.
Openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism are then the Big Five psychological personality traits in international psychological and social science. Neuroticism is defined as a tendency for quick arousal when stimulated and slow relaxation from arousal, especially with negative emotions. It is an emotional instability, negativity, maladjustment, as opposed to emotional stability, positivity, good adjustment. It includes lack of self-control, poor ability to manage psychological stress, and a tendency to complain.
Conscientiousness is being careful, diligente; it implies a desire to do a task well, and to take obligations to others seriously. People are efficient and organized as opposed to easy-going and disorderly, with a tendency to self-discipline, to act dutifully and aim for achievement, and to display planned rather than spontaneous behavior. They are dependable, neat, systematic, careful, thorough, and deliberate. They think carefully before acting. They have character, are hard-working, reliable, and may be “workaholics”, perfectionists, and compulsive in their behavior. People who score low on conscientiousness tend to be laid back, less goal-oriented, and less driven by success; they also are more likely to engage in antisocial and criminal behavior.
Dr Paulo Bittencourt