What are the Personality Types?

What are the Personality Types?

Who are you? What makes you different from others? Is there something special about you? These are questions people ask to understand their psychological makeup and existence. It is vital to check the personality types in psychology to get an accurate answer. So, what are the personality types? Continue reading this article to find out the answer. 

Nonetheless, psychologists and trait theories of personality have tried to pin down personality traits into groups based on the individual differences in our behaviour patterns, emotions, thoughts, and feelings. Some of the prominent theories on personality traits include the Type A and Type B personality theory, Jung's 8 Personality Types, Myers–Briggs Type Indicator, Raymond Cattell's 16 personality factors and Hans Eysenck's three-factor theory.

Many of the theories like the Myers-Briggs theory of personality, the most popular, especially in the corporate world, do not sufficiently capture who we are. Other theories have been considered either too complex or limited in scope. Consequently, the big five-factor theory appears to have solid research backing to describe our personality makeup's essential traits accurately. What is the Big Five-factor theory of personality?

What are the Big Five Personality Traits?

Many researchers agree that there are five main personality traits. The work started with the research of D. W. Fiske (1949), followed by the research team of Paul Costa, Robert R. McCrae, Warren Norman, and Lewis Goldberg. The foundational structure of the Big Five-factor was found to be similar across 50 countries as published in a 2005 journal. Their survey yielded the following trait categories:

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism

To help you remember, you might find the acronym OCEAN or CANOE convenient. Here is the description of the five personality categories:


This personality category means open to new experiences. It involves characteristics such as broad imagination, insight, and creativity. Individuals high on this trait dimension tend to be initiative and adventurous. They are curious about the world and other people. Also, they are usually eager to take on new ideas and concepts. 

On the other hand, individuals low on this personality trait are more rigid and conventional in their lifestyle. They follow habits religiously and avoid new experiences or changes. They have an elevated sense of right and wrong and detest adventures.


  • Creativity
  • Adventure
  • Open to new experiences
  • Curiosity
  • Abstract thinking
  • Tackling new challenges


  • Doesn't find new things interesting
  • Resist change
  • Not very creative
  • Hate abstract thinking


The dominant features of people in this trait category are a high level of thoughtfulness, organisation, and a strong sense of duty. Conscientious people work with finesse and are very mindful of details. They're goal-oriented, disciplined, and dependable. They are planners with specific goals and deadlines in mind.

On the contrary, people low on conscientiousness are freewheelers. They have no plan or goals in mind and flow with the vibe. As such, they are not responsible and may be easily distracted.


  • Organisation
  • Planning
  • Problem-solving
  • Trustworthy
  • Discipline
  • Mindful of details and deadlines
  • Enjoying working with a schedule


  • Carelessness
  • Hates working with or setting schedules
  • Fails to complete essential projects
  • Procrastinate


Extraversion (or extroversion) encompasses the most broadly defined traits. It is characterised by sociability, expressiveness, outspokenness, and assertiveness. Communication is significant in extroversion, and people high on these traits tend to be cheerful and accommodating. Extroverts are pretty outgoing and excited about meeting and talking to many people or visiting new places.

People low on this trait are often more reserved, gentle, and submissive. They draw their energy from being alone or participating in small group activities. They are fun to be with at parties but prefer if it's limited to a few people rather than a crowd.


  • Sociable
  • Assertiveness
  • Likes to be the centre of attention
  • Say things before thinking
  • Prefers to be in a crowd
  • Enjoys being the centre of attention
  • Has many social circles
  • Make friends easily
  • Enjoys meeting new people


  • Get exhausted quickly when in a large social circle
  • Prefers being alone
  • Thinks things through before speaking
  • Hates being the centre of attention
  • Dislikes small talks
  • Doesn't start conversations


This trait dimension deals with our relationship with people. It emphasises kindness, affection, trust, altruism, and other positive social behaviour. Someone high on agreeableness is cooperative, friendly, accommodating, and empathetic. Suspicious and selfish individuals are low on friendliness. They can also be competitive, envious, and manipulative.


  • Care about other people's feelings
  • Friendly
  • Enjoy helping people who are in need
  • Loves making others happy
  • Has a genuine interest in people


  • Lacks empathy
  • Manipulates others to get their way
  • Has no interest in others
  • Doesn't care about people's problems 
  • Belittles others


Neuroticism is characterised by sadness, moodiness, and emotional instability. People high in these traits are usually anxious and worry about bad things, even when things are going well. Also, they experience mood swings and depression. Those low in this trait are confident, contented, emotionally stable, and control their emotions.


  • Worries a lot
  • Experiences stress
  • Easily angered
  • Constant change in mood
  • Feels anxious
  • Takes a longer time to become stable after an incident


  • Calm and collected
  • Manages stressful situations well
  • Emotionally stable
  • Relaxed
  • Doesn't worry


Personality trait quizzes are often based on different theories, but the most accurate, is the Five-factor theory. The 'Big 5' traits are based on behaviour, thoughts, and feelings - which shape our entire being. They are also influenced by both our biological and environmental factors.

Personality traits are complex; each individual may act differently in any trait category. As a result, some characteristics tend to co-occur. For instance, someone who is sociable will naturally be talkative. However, this may not be true in all situations.

Looking to understand where you rank on the Big 5 personality assessment? Why not take our test.