Big 5 Assessment

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Big Five Assessment

Quick Video Review of the Five Traits:

Use OCEAN or CANOE to remember the 5


  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extroversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism
Research Overview [Source:


Personality psychologists are interested in what
differentiates one person from another and why we
behave the way that we do. Personality research,
like any science, relies on quantifiable concrete
data which can be used to examine what people are
like. This is where the Big Five plays an
important role.
The Big Five was originally derived in the 1970’s
by two independent research teams — Paul Costa
and Robert McCrae (at the National Institutes of
Health), and Warren Norman (at the University of
Michigan)/Lewis Goldberg (at the University of
Oregon) — who took slightly different routes at
arriving at the same results: most human
personality traits can be boiled down to five
broad dimensions of personality, regardless of
language or culture. These five dimensions were
derived by asking thousands of people hundreds of
questions and then analyzing the data with a
statistical procedure known as factor analysis. It
is important to realize that the researchers did
not set out to find five dimensions, but that five
dimensions emerged from their analyses of the
data. In scientific circles, the Big Five is now
the most widely accepted and used model of
personality (though of course many other systems
are used in pop psychology and work contexts;
e.g., the MBTI).
For the past several years, we have been using the
Big Five to study personality in terms of how it
changes over time and how it relates to other
variables (such as self-esteem and music
preferences). During this period of time, we have
collected personality data from literally millions
of people from around the world.
Analyses of the data have revealed a number of
interesting findings about personality, and have
allowed us to identify some major patterns in our
personalities. For example, contrary to the then
prevailing view, our findings suggest that
personality is not “set like plaster” at age 30;
instead it continues to change, with the exact
pattern of change depending on the trait.
We want to emphasize that we are talking about
generalizations here, and these generalizations
don’t apply to all people. To illustrate, consider
the generalization that men are generally taller
than women. This does not mean that every man is
taller than every woman. Instead, it means that,
on average, men are taller than women. This same
logic applies to the feedback that is given on
this site. Even though, on average, people tend to
become more conscientious as they get older, not
everyone follows this pattern.
Take the free survey:



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