Monday, September 28, 2020

Big Five Personality Scales

There are a few scales that measure the Big Five Personality Traits. One acronym is the word OCEAN. Each letter refers to the first letter of a Big Five personality trait.

Scientific studies by Paul Costa and Robert McCrae (1998) established a basis for the five factors known by the acronym OCEAN, which I refer to below.

See Big Five Personality Theory for more details and references.


O- Openness to experience includes curiosity, imagination, and creativity. People high in this trait appreciate complexity and originality and enjoy new experiences.


C- Conscientiousness describes behavior patterns of self-control and acting in socially acceptable ways. People high in conscientiousness are dependable, work within rules, plan and organize effectively, and have a strong degree of gratification. 


E- Extroversion  (aka extraversion) is often considered along with introversion. In a sense, the dimension identifies where a person finds their energy. Extroverts thrive in the presence of others while introverts need to withdraw from people to restore their souls in solitude. 


A- Agreeableness refers to patterns of interactions with others and contrasts with disagreeableness. People might describe those high in agreeableness as altruistic, trusting, modest, humble, patient, tactful, polite, kind, loyal, helpful, sensitive, amiable, cheerful, and considerate.


N- Neuroticism refers to emotional stability. Sensitive clinicians reframe this term as Emotional Stability. 

Availability of a Big Five Inventory

Link to a copy of the 44-item Big Five Inventory 

Link to a brief online version of the Big Five:


Intelligence and the Big Five

Results showed that openness (ρ = .20) and neuroticism (ρ = −.09) were the strongest Big Five correlates of intelligence and that openness correlated more with crystallized than fluid intelligence. At the facet level, traits related to intellectual engagement and unconventionality were more strongly related to intelligence than other openness facets, and sociability and orderliness were negatively correlated with intelligence. Facets of gregariousness and excitement seeking had stronger negative correlations, and openness to aesthetics, feelings, and values had stronger positive correlations with crystallized than fluid intelligence. Facets explained more than twice the variance of domains.

(Anglim et al. 2022)


Spirituality and the Big Five

Ashton and Lee (2021) reported a positive relationship between religiosity and Big Five traits of agreeableness and conscientiousness.

Resource Link:  A – Z Test Index

Big Five References

Anglim, J., Dunlop, P. D., Wee, S., Horwood, S., Wood, J. K., & Marty, A. (2022). Personality and intelligence: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin148(5–6), 301–336. (Supplemental)

Ashton, M. C., & Lee, K. (2021). A review of personality/religiousness associations. Current Opinion in Psychology40, 51–55.

Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1998). Trait theories of personality. In D. F. Barone, M. Hersen, & V. B. Van Hasselt (Eds.), The Plenum series in social/clinical psychology: Advanced personality (p. 103–121). Plenum Press.


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 Reference for using scales in research:

Creating Surveys on AMAZON or GOOGLE

Reference for clinicians on understanding assessment

Applied Statistics Concepts for Counselors on AMAZON or GOOGLE


I created this Big Five Chart with an easy reference to the Domains and Facets 

CLICK   DOWNLOAD    for a pdf copy of the chart below




Openness to experience

   - closed to new experiences










   - careless, disorganized





 Achievement striving





   - introversion






 Positive emotions 




   - disagreeableness










  - emotional stability



Angry hostility





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