NEO Five-Factor Inventory

PsychologyPersonality Psychology

We come across certain people whose way of thinking and behaving is much more in contrast to ours. Some are open with their social interest, while others seem to like antisocial surroundings. Some are always punctual, while others take more than allowed time to complete a task. Why do such differences appear? A prominent reason is that each individual comes under different measures of personality. This text will elaborate on such a concept in detail.

What is NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI)?

It is a personality inventory, a questionnaire that has a standard list of questions and only requires certain specific answers, such as "yes," "no," and "cannot decide." Such a type of inventory is far more objective than subjective as it includes the formal kind of questions common to everyone. One personality inventory formulated by Costa and McCrae is NEO-FFI, named after NEO- Five-Factor Inventory. NEO-FFI comprises 60 questions that decide which personality measure or domain best suits the examinee.

Initially formulated as a temporary measure for screening and introductory purposes, it now administers a massive contribution to Applied Psychology and even Organizational and Industrial Psychology (I/O); indeed, NEO-FFI is helping a significant populace determine their character. NEO-FFI is the shortest and fastest way of measuring personality inventory. This test is published for not more than fifteen minutes, and scoring is accomplished within one to two minutes. In addition, the test is published in nine foreign languages with more than twenty-five validated versions in other languages.

The Five Elements of NEO-FFI

The Five-Factor Inventory was evolved to assess personality in five main domains called OCEAN, where "O" stands for openness; people with such traits are open to new experiences and are often named under challenging personality, whereas the opposite to which are people who do not accept changes easily in their lives. "C" stands for Conscientiousness; people in this domain are extensive with their duties and responsibilities, whereas opposite to this is people who are always impunctual. "E" stands for extraversion; people with such traits like to engage with new people in social surroundings and are found to strengthen relationships, whereas shy people are the opposite of such traits. "A" stands for agreeableness; such personalities are altruistic, sympathetic, and cooperate with everyone, whereas the opposite are the ones who want to control everything in their environment. "N" stands for neuroticism; some people with such a trait tend to accept negative emotions all the time, ignoring all the positive factors in life, whereas the opposite of such people is emotionally stable.

Uses of NEO-FFI

A quick personality inventory initially published for counselling and clinical settings are now well-known in various vocations such as educational and industrial segments. Coming next are a few uses of NEO-FFI.

  • Predict academic performance − It is evident now that personality has much to do with success in one's career. NEO-FFI predicts academic performance like GPA, average grades, and course grades. People who are high in Conscientiousness deliver good grades in their academic performance and are most likely to succeed in their respective professions.
  • Improve cognitive process − As NEO-PPI delivers a clear personality domain, it becomes easy for people to improve their incorrect personality to achieve satisfaction in life. Craig et al. (2009) report a significant positive correlation between NEO-FFI Extraversion and emotional intelligence, an array of social and emotional skills that help people understand and monitor their feelings.
  • Prediction of employee performance − NEO-FFI is widely used in industrial and organizational psychology to predict the performance of their employees. Recruiters hire based on the score of personality inventory; the managers select people who score high in extraversion and openness. In addition, managers prefer people with low neuroticism as such trait is essential when an organization goes through a monetary crisis.

Limitations of NEO-PPI

  • With advantages like being easy to evaluate and less time-consuming, NEO-PPI also administers a few disadvantages. One major problem is that clients can lie, distort the truth, misremember, or give what they think is a socially acceptable answer instead of accurate information just to get selected for an organization. The same can happen with students who know their grades will get affected by performance in such personality inventories.
  • Another problem with interviews is the halo effect, which is a tendency to form a favorable or unfavorable impression of someone at the first meeting so that all of a person's comments and behavior after that first impression will be interpreted to agree with the impression- positively or negatively.
  • Further, Topping and German (1997) proposed that the validity scale of NEO-FFI is proportional to 'fake-good' except only for the agreeableness dimension. Specific cultural differences were reported by Yang and Bond (1992): the five personality dimensions discovered in China maybe not be one-to-one corresponding to English.


NEO-FFI is a far most essential test that is helpful in psychological assessment and used in various segments. The five factors in NEO-FFI provide crucial information to users and describe a particular personality easily. Apart from its multiple uses, many test-takers can manipulate the NEO-FFI test wrongly, and proper precautions must be taken. In addition, studies have yet to prove the relationship between NEO-FFI and anxiety and depressive disorders.

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