Their personalities don’t suck, they just evolved that way.

The BIG FIVE personality types, how to identify them and understand people.

Most people subconsciously interpret a thousand different signals when they meet someone new. Through the use of a few fundamentals in how psychologists interpret personality you can enhance this process using your conscious brain. First let’s see what psychology says about personality:

The Big Five Personality Traits

The most commonly accepted framework for deconstructing personality is known as “The Big Five Personality Traits”, or the Big Five. Our personalities can be evaluated on a sliding scale based on what levels of each trait we have.

It’s rare to find people in the extremes of these traits, however many of our favourite fictional characters are based on these extremes. Here is a fun analysis of the fictional characters of F.R.I.E.N.D.S

Extreme Neurotics worry about things often.

Extreme Openness comes with a wild imagination, these are creative eccentrics.

Conscientiousness is the ability to set goals for yourself and work toward achieving them. Lawyers, doctors, sales people, and successful managers often rate high on this scale.

Agreeableness is a uniquely human trait. It is our ability to overlook our own needs to help others.

Extraversion is centred around positive emotional rewards. When you achieve things your subconscious rewards you by putting you in a good mood. Extraverts are constantly looking for positive things in their environment to boost their mood.

Now let’s take a look at how your personality develops:

How your personality develops

50% of our personality comes from our genes, and the remainder comes from our environment, almost exclusively during childhood

In the book Personality, Daniel Nettle identifies the factors contributing to the development of each individual personality. Drawing on the work of psychologists and psychological studies he proposes that 50% of our personality comes from our genes, and the remainder comes from our environment — almost exclusively during childhood. Once you reach adulthood, your personality does not change drastically beyond its early development. The theory is you are in essence locked into the person you’ve become. With that in mind, here’s some practical advice on how you can better evaluate social situations based on the Big Five.

Meeting people for the first time

When you first meet someone, your brain is processing enormous amounts of verbal and non verbal information about the person. For some, understanding these cues comes naturally, while others have to work at interpreting them. Subconsciously, your brain attempts to compare these signals to past interactions you’ve had with others. This helps you draw conslusions about what kind of person they are, and how to best interact with them. Try going through this process before you attend an event where you meet a lot of people.

He’s what I consider an extreme extravert. I can use James’ level of this trait to establish a baseline for other extraverts.

Using the Big five traits, think of a past experience in your life where someone behaved in a way that was synonymous with the extremes of each trait. An example of this is a guy I know named James who is the most excited, outgoing, fast talking guy I’ve ever met. He’s what I consider an extreme extravert. I can use James’ level of this trait to establish a baseline in order to assess others I meet.

Think of a few James’ in your life, one for each personality trait. Mentally reference them when meeting new people and it will help you paint a picture of what kind of person they are.

Test your personality

Try out this simplified version of the Myers-Briggs personality test to see how you rank. The principle foundations for this test pre-dates the Big Five, but there is overlap in four of the five traits.

  • EI Scale = Extraversion
  • SN Scale = Openness
  • TF Scale = Agreeableness
  • JP Scale = Conscientiousness

Click Here — to take the test and find out what kind of personality you have. Have fun! Reply to this tweet and tell us what kind of personality you have.

credit: mentiscore solutions limited
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