The Big Five Traits
Other researchers have since clustered personality traits into even fewer
categories. Today, many psychologists believe that all personality traits derive
from five basic personality traits, which are commonly referred to as the
- Openness to
The Big Five traits remain quite stable over the life span, particularly
after the age of thirty. Although researchers identified the Big Five traits by
using a list of English words, these traits seem to be applicable in many
Criticisms of the Big Five Model
Critics of the Big Five have various arguments against the model:
- Some critics think that more than five traits are needed to
account for the wide personality differences among people.
- Other critics argue that five traits are too many. For example,
they point out that openness correlates positively with extraversion.
These critics argue that just three traits— neuroticism, extraversion,
and agreeableness—should be enough to fully describe personality.
- Still other critics argue that the Big Five are somewhat arbitrary
because they depend on the words used in the statistical analysis that
produced them. A different list of words may have yielded different
- Some psychologists have questioned the research
supporting the stability of the Big Five traits across cultures.
They argue that the research could be biased because the use of
Western tests is more likely to uncover cultural similarities than