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The Big Five: Personality

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A woman lies on grass, wearing a fake moustache, big nose, glasses, and bushy eyebrows.
Who am I?

“Who am I?” It’s a question most people spend a lifetime answering. The answer often depends on things like our cultural background, gender, skills, jobs, hobbies, appearance, and of course, our personality. Our personality is the way that we think, feel, and act. Most researchers agree that personality can be described by five factors. The five factors are based on how open, conscientious, extroverted, and sensitive we are. The following five questions can help you reflect on who you are.

1. How open are you?

An open person is someone who is interested in new ideas and experiences. They are imaginative and curious. They often have lots of hobbies that they dip in and out of. They may also be seen as unpredictable or unfocused. A person who is closed to new ideas and experiences probably likes routine and tradition. This person may have one hobby that they are deeply interested in. They are likely practical. They may also be seen as closed-minded.

2. How conscientious are you?

A conscientious person is someone who works hard. They do what they say they will do. They are well organized and on time. They may also be seen as stubborn or fussy. A person who is less conscientious is likely easy-going. They can deal with sudden changes in plans. They may struggle to get things done, so they can be seen as lazy.

3. How extroverted are you?

An extroverted person is someone who gets energy from being around other people. They enjoy talking and don’t mind being the centre of attention. They are confident and more likely to take risks. They may also be seen as bossy. An introverted person is someone who gets energy from being alone. They prefer to spend time with one or two friends rather than groups of people. They tend to be good at listening and reflecting. They may also be seen as shy or cold.

4. How agreeable are you?

An agreeable person is someone who is friendly and easy to get along with. They tend to generally trust other people. They care a lot about how people feel and like to help others. They may also be seen as easy to control or trick. A person may be seen as less agreeable if they care deeply about ideas, even if speaking out means hurting someone’s feelings. As a result, this person is more likely to get into arguments. This person may challenge others to do what’s right.

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Facial expression
5. How sensitive are you?

A highly sensitive person is very affected by their environment. They are more likely to feel stressed out and nervous. They tend to worry a lot about what others think of them. They may also feel emotions, including love and pleasure, more strongly. It is possible that they have better instincts, perhaps from being more alert. A person who is less sensitive to their environment is more likely to feel calm, relaxed, and confident. They may also be seen as uncaring.

The kind of personality we have is influenced by our genes, our upbringing, and our experiences. Personality tends to change over time. Research shows that we can change our personality. However, psychologists suggest we will probably be happier if we change to meet our needs, rather than try to meet our idea of the perfect personality.


Who am I?
by RyanMcGuire is in the public domain.

Facial expression
by LenaSevcikova is in the public domain


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BC Reads: Adult Literacy Fundamental English - Reader 5 Copyright © 2015 by Shantel Ivits is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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