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Big Five Personality Model

Harness the 35 dimensions of the Big Five Personality framework to revolutionize your marketing strategies, strengthen brands, make smarter hiring decisions, and even measure workforce culture and wellness.

What is the Big Five Personality Model?

What is the Big Five Personality Model?

Receptiviti Big Five Personality

The Big 5 Personality Model, also known as the Five-Factor Model (FFM), is a widely recognized and scientifically validated framework for understanding human personality.

It encompasses 35 traits (including 5 fundamental traits and 30 facets) that can provide profound insights into an individual's behavior, thoughts, and preferences. The five fundamental traits are:

  • Openness to Experience: A person's inclination towards creativity, curiosity, and openness to new ideas.

  • Conscientiousness: The degree to which a person is organized, dependable, and goal-oriented.

  • Extraversion: The level of sociability, assertiveness, and enthusiasm a person exhibits.

  • Agreeableness: Reflects how cooperative, empathetic, and compassionate a person tends to be.

  • Neuroticism (Emotional Stability): The extent to which a person experiences negative emotions, such as anxiety and stress.

Each trait is made up of a six narrower characteristics, called facets, for a total of 35 dimensions of personality.

Receptiviti measures all 35 dimensions (5 traits and 30 facets), and a detailed list and descriptions of all the traits and facets is available here.

History of the Big Five

History of the Big Five

Since Ancient Greece, philosophers, psychologists, and others have attempted to identify the several mostly independent trait dimensions along which all people vary (McAdams, 1997). The dominant view today is that rather than each person falling into one of a few broad categories (e.g., phlegmatic, choleric, sanguine, or melancholic), people can vary along several semi-independent dimensions, resulting in a unique personality constellation or profile that remains relatively stable across the lifespan.
In 1937, Gordon Allport and colleagues approached the task of enumerating and defining the basic dimensions of personality by taking the thousands of person descriptors in the English language and manually grouping them into categories. Later, in 1945, Cattell condensed these categories down to a smaller group of adjectives and asked people to rate themselves and others on them on a quantitative scale in order to study how the words statistically cluster when put into practice. His methodological approach finally later became the basis of the Big Five, also known as the Five Factor Model, devised by McCrae and Costa (1987).

Read more about the history of the Big Five.

Advantages of Language-Based Personality

Advantages of Language-Based Personality

Self-report questionnaires are the most widely used method of assessing personality, primarily due to their convenience. However, this form of assessment often provides more insight into an individual's self-perception than it provides into their actual personality. 

When completing a self-report, people are typically consciously aware of what is being measured and the questions that are measuring it. This conscious awareness allows assessment-takers to regulate their responses, leading to biases in self-reporting. For example, "social desirability bias" is common in self-reports, where people tend to answer questions in ways that make them look good rather than answering truthfully.

Self-reports are also subjective, in that they rely on and assess one’s point of view. The subjective nature of self-reports often results in "reference-group effects," where a person’s perception of themselves is biased by the degree to which they compare themselves to other people. For instance, an individual may think of themselves as extraverted if the people they surround themselves with are extremely introverted. 

Extensive research has proven that language is an objective behavioural measure of personality. Function words, in particular, are used largely unconsciously, which makes them an ideal implicit measure of behaviour and helps mitigate the biases inherent in self-reports.

Language-based assessment also has another unique advantage: You can analyze anyone's personality without their participation - simply by analyzing their language from social media, interviews, speeches, Zoom and MS Meet transcripts, call center call recordings, earning calls, or anywhere they are communicating. Here's an example of a personality assessment of the CEOs of two publicly traded companies that was conducted by analyzing earnings call transcripts. 

Read more about language-based personality here.

Big Five and Marketing

Big Five and Marketing

Targeted Advertising:
Tailor your advertising campaigns to specific personality traits, ensuring they resonate with your audience on a deeper level. Read a case study.

Content Creation:
Create content that appeals to the different personality types, increasing engagement and brand loyalty. Read a case study

Product Development:
Understand how personality traits influence consumer preferences, helping you design products that align with their needs. See a Receptiviti customer example.

Big Five and Branding

Big Five and Branding

Brand Personality:
Craft a brand personality that aligns with your target audience's traits, fostering stronger emotional connections. See an example.

Brand Voice:
Tailor your brand's tone and communication style to resonate with the dominant personality traits of your audience. See an example.

Customer Experience:
Enhance customer experience by understanding the expectations and preferences of different personality types. See a Receptiviti customer example.

Big Five and Hiring

Big Five, Hiring, and Culture

Candidate Assessment:
Assess potential hires based on their personality traits, ensuring a good fit with your company culture. Learn more about the advantages of language-based personality assessment for candidate assessment.

Team Building:
Compose well-balanced teams by considering the diversity of personalities and complementary traits. Read about Big Five and team performance.

Workforce Culture:
The Big Five can be used to understand workforce culture by analyzing language data from surveys or communications, either aggregated across the organization or by department. See an example here.

Workforce Wellness:
Specific measures within the Big Five, such as Stress-Prone and Anxiety-Prone, used in conjunction with Receptiviti's Cognitive Load measure, can be used to reveal the degree to which a workforce's open-ended responses reflect elevated levels of stress, anxiety, and other indicators of burnout. See an example here.


Big Five to Measure Stress and Wellbeing

Big Five to Measure Stress and Wellbeing

Language-based personality has another significant advantage: All of the Big Five traits and facets can also be used to measure changes to personality and the underlying phenomena over time.

For example, the Stress-Prone facet of the Neuroticism trait can be used to measure an individual's stress levels over time, or the aggregate stress level of a group of people over time. For example, this index uses the Stress-Prone and Anxiety-Prone facets to track changes in stress and anxiety among a group of 6,500 people.

The same measures are used in this how-to guide that explains how to measure the early indicators of employee burnout by analyzing text from engagement survey open-ends.

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