A major challenge in psychology has been the question: “how do we categorise personalities?”. There have been many different approaches, one famous model being the Big Five model. This model describes five traits, summarised as OCEAN:
- Openness: Describes a person who is creative, imaginative, abstract and curious. People with high openness scores are often skilled in the arts and inventing. They always seek new experiences. The perfect example for Openness is Leonardo da Vinci. This trait can be subdivided into the subcategories: Imagination, Artistic interests, Sensitivity, Adventurous, Curiosity and Tolerance for diversity.
- Conscientiousness: Describes a person who is reliable, trustworthy, hardworking, plans ahead, goal-oriented, efficient, responsible and moral. The perfect example for Conscientiousness is Robocop. The subcategories are: Sense of competence, Orderliness, Responsibility, Achievement-striving, Self-discipline and Deliberateness.
- Extraversion: Describes a person who is chatty, energetic, passionate, stubborn, social, easily makes friends and opinionated. The perfect example for Extraversion is Eddie Murphy. The subcategories are: Friendliness, Gregariousness, Assertiveness, Activeness, Excitement-seeking and Positive.
- Agreeableness: Describes a person who likes to help others, is compassionate, friendly, forgiving, trusting, cooperative and empathetic. It is more about humanism rather than describing a spineless person. The perfect example for Agreeableness is Mother Teresa. The subcategories are: Trusting, Sincerity, Altruism, Compliance, Modesty and Sympathy.
- Neuroticism: Describes a person who is unstable, easily depressed or worried, dark and susceptible to negative emotions. It is not the same as “neurotic”, which describes a mental disorder. The perfect example for Neuroticism is Woody Allen. The subcategories are: Anxiety, Self-consciousness, Hostility, Self-indulgence, Moodiness and Sensitivity to stress.
When the model is applied to a person, the person gets a score as a percentage for each trait. By using the Big Five score, one can compare different personalities and predict what kind of behaviour they would show in different situations.