FiveFactor Model of Personality: McCrae & Costa

PsychologyPersonality Psychology

The 5 Factor theory is one of many theories used to model the origins of human personality. It postulates that the variance in human personality can be explained by the interaction of five universal factors or dimensions. The model was first developed in the 1980s when researchers such as McCrea and Coast found that many personality traits used in previous models did not account for a large enough percentage of the variance in human behavior. It is used in many areas of study and has applications in fields as diverse as education, personnel selection, and treatment of mental disorders

What are the Five Factors?

The big five factors that can be remembered using the acronyms "OCEAN" (taking the initial of every word), are−

Let’s discuss each one of them separately−


One of the factors in the 5-factor model is Openness to experience. Openness reflects the degree of intellectual, creativity, and variety a person has. "Openness is a person's tendency to be curious and imaginative, often associated with new ideas and concepts." People who score high in Openness like to enjoy understanding information, practicing a new set of skills, and being creative. They are more likely to be interested in art, music, literature, and philosophy and are always ready to experience new stimuli. They may also be more interested in new or unusual ideas. People who score low in Openness prefer to follow the tried and true methods of the past and are less interested in exploring new ideas or concepts. They are more likely to be interested in practical subjects, such as how things work or how to fix things. They tend to be interested in travel, possess many different Hobbies, and have diverse vocational interests


It is a common tendency to be organized, dependable, self-disciplined, dutiful, to aim for achievement and to plan for it rather than to achieve it through spontaneous behavior. It is usually linked to how people govern, handle and lead their urges. Conscientious individuals are responsible and prefer to plan for the future. They are likely to be organized, obsessive, and like to keep their environment and themselves neat and clean. They may have higher-paying jobs and are more likely to be successful in their personal lives. They feel satisfied with their lives overall. People who are low in Conscientiousness are considered sloppy. They are less interested in plans and schedules and are more likely to act spontaneously. They may be less tidy and more likely to leave things unfinished. They may also have trouble keeping a job, maybe less successful, are more likely to have legal problems, and be unable to maintain a steady relationship.


"Extroversion is defined by high excitability, sociability, talkativeness, assertiveness, and emotional expressiveness. "People with high extroversion tend to be outgoing and gain energy in social situations. They enjoy interacting with others and are perceived as energetic. They are enthusiastic and action-oriented individuals. They enjoy talking with people and are often interested in what other people think and feel. People with low Extroversion tend to be reserved and quiet. They prefer to spend their time alone and may dislike large crowds. They are less interested in socializing and making friends, may be more likely to be shy, and may have difficulty speaking up when they have an opinion or idea.


It refers to a fondness for being compassionate, cooperative, kind, and affectionate toward others rather than suspicious, rude, and antagonistic. Agreeableness also measures a person's trusting and helpful nature, as well as whether or not they are well-tempered. Individuals with a high level of Agreeableness are thoughtful, considerate, and helpful. They believe that most people are good and more likely to forgive others when they make a mistake. They tend to be more successful in personal relationships, such as romantic relationships and friendships and are more likely to be happy with their lives overall. People who are low in Agreeableness believe that people are mostly out for themselves. They are less generous and may be less forgiving when someone does them wrong. They may have more trouble keeping up in a relationship and may be less satisfied with their partners and lives.


There is a strong tendency for unpleasant thoughts such as rage, depression, anxiety, and vulnerability. It is also known as "Emotional Stability" or "Emotional Instability." People with high Neuroticism tend to be anxious and gloomy. They are more likely to be upset by events in their lives and may experience negative emotions such as anger and jealousy. People with low Neuroticism are less easily upset. They are less likely to be moody, more likely to be calm and content, and have fewer mental health issues


The big 5-factor theory is one of many ways to describe human personality and behavior. People who are high in Openness tend to enjoy new ideas, art, and creativity, while those who are low in Openness prefer practical subjects, such as how things work. Conscientious people are more responsible and organized, whereas those with low Conscientiousness desire a far more impulsive approach to life and are considered untidy. People who are high in Extraversion enjoy being around other people and talking, while those who are low in Extraversion are likelier to spend time alone. Individuals with a high level of Agreeableness are thoughtful and generous, whereas those with a low level of Agreeableness are more selfish. Finally, people with a high Neuroticism score are more anxious and moody, whereas those with a low Neuroticism score are more calm and content. According to the five-factor theory, people are knowable, rational, variable, and proactive. It is very helpful in assessing personality in just five dimensions.

Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47