Big five agreeableness

Agreeableness | Psychology Today

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Agreeableness is a personality trait that can be described as cooperative, polite, kind, and friendly. People high in agreeableness are more trusting, affectionate, altruistic, and generally displaying more prosocial behaviors than others. People high in this prosocial trait are particularly empathetic, showing great concern for the welfare of others, they are the first to help those in need. Agreeableness is one of five dimensions of personality described as the Big Five. The other traits are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, and neuroticism.

  • The Likeable And Agreeable Individual
  • Why Being Agreeable Matters

The Likeable and Agreeable Individual

When a person is high in this personality trait, they are less me-centric and more we-centric. They look for the common good in others, are quick to hear out opinions of the people around them, and look for harmony instead of discord.

How do I know if I am high in agreeableness?

The agreeable don’t insult others, nor do they question a person’s motives or intentions. They also don’t think that they are better than others. Everyone is their equal, and they are quick to empathize and respect others.

How does a disagreeable person act?

The less amenable and more combative person, however, is more inclined to be manipulative, callous, aggressive, and competitive. They don’t care much about other people, make disparaging or offending comments, have little patience, and are easily irked and annoyed.

Are the agreeable more empathic?

Being high agreeableness is largely synonymous with being less self-centered. The agreeable listen to others, feel compassion, are amiable and trusting. Agreeable people make friends easily.

Are agreeable people happier?

The agreeable are more likely to have a handle on their anger and negative emotions, and more inclined to avoid conflict. These people are other-oriented and often see others through a rose-colored view, trying to find the positive side in everyone.

Can you become more agreeable?

Research shows that this personality trait is somewhat adaptable as people age. People become more emotionally stable, more conscientious, and more agreeable in their later years. Also, the work environment demands team effort and partnership, this collaboration requires a degree of agreeableness. Plus, living through the hardship of life can make a person more agreeable.

Can you become less agreeable?

This behavior change can show itself in relationships: a person can sometimes feel that their partner has changed. They might remember a much sweeter, more considerate person before they were married, and complaining that their partner turned into a completely different person.

Can you be too agreeable?

If you are too agreeable, you may get stepped on like a doormat. Agreeable people sometimes suffer when they put the needs of others over their own. Also, giving in to an argument just to remain friendly doesn’t always result in the best outcome; and certain situations demand less congeniality, like managing financial negotiations or other potentially discomforting scenarios.

Is agreeableness contagious?

Being agreeable and selfless can rub off on people—seeing a person getting along and doing good can perpetuate kindness and charity toward others. In a sense, the agreeable end up paying compassion forward.

Why Being Agreeable Matters

These people seem to be happier and more satisfied with life when compared with the less agreeable. In general, the agreeable complain less, don’t belittle others, don’t cause trouble or conflict, don’t tend toward perfectionism, are less rigid, score low in the Dark Triad and other malevolent traits, prefer harmony, are more trusting and forgiving.

Is agreeableness genetic?

This trait is influenced by genetics to a degree, but nurture does have an impact as well. This trait is malleable and people do become more agreeable over time. Older people are generally more likely to go with the flow of life.

Are agreeable people more likely to experience placebo effects?

Agreeable and resilient people are more likely to have their pain soothed by a placebo. Neurotic people, on the other hand, are less likely to benefit. During a painful experience, agreeable and resilient people show more activity in a brain region presumed to suppress pain.

Do agreeable people work well in certain occupations?

An agreeable individual is a people-oriented person who usually enjoys good social skills. You may find these congenial types in sales positions or in human resources. These people make good teammates and are not out to outshine everyone else.

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The Agreeableness Dimension of Personality

Agreeableness is a broad personality dimension that closely tied to interpersonal relationships, including trust, empathy, and style of resolving conflicts.


Agreeableness is one of the Big Five personality dimensions, and it captures several interpersonal traits, such as compassion, cooperation, and politeness.

At its core, Agreebleness describes the differences in our motivation to maintain positive relationships with other people. Before this social dimension became widely known as “Agreeableness”, researchers referred to it by a several different labels, including “social adaptability”, “likability”, “friendly compliance”, and “love”.1

Highly agreeable people are strongly motivated to maintain warmer and friendlier relations with others, seek to reduce or resolve interpersonal conflict, maintain or increase group cooperation, and control negative emotions around other people.

Adjectives used to describe people scoring high on Agreeableness

Less agreeable (or more demanding) people are more strongly motivated to pursue personal goals over positive relations with others, in doing so, are more willing to create conflict and disagreement, attempt to impose their will on others, and display or express negative emotions to others.

Adjectives used to describe people scoring low on Agreeableness

Agreeableness is one of the core personality dimensions measured by any of the Big Five assessments available at TraitLab. Try the free Big Five test to learn where you score on Agreeableness compared to others.

Politeness and Compassion: The Two Sides of Agreeableness

What does it mean to “maintain positive relationships” with others? One helpful way to think about Agreeableness is as a combination of two distinct aspects: Politeness and Compassion.2

Politeness is the more cognitive or rational side of Agreeableness, and it describes the tendency to consider other people’s needs and wants, apart from our own.

Compassion is the more emotional side of Agreeableness, describing interpersonal warmth and capacity to empathize with others (i.e., to “feel others’ emotions”).

Agreeableness and Positive Relationships

Agreeableness predicts several kinds of relationship quality and stability, across a wide range of types of relationships. One recent study of relationship satisfaction found that more agreeable people were more satisfied with all types of personal relationships in their lives, including those with family members, friends, romantic interests, and even less familiar acquaintances.3

Research suggests that agreeable people tend to create and maintain positive relationships, even when being introduced to new environments and groups of people. In an 18-month study of new college students, more agreeable students had more daily social interactions, more opposite-sex peers, and fewer conflicts with opposite-sex peers.4

Similar patterns have been found in long term, romantic relationships. A separate meta-analysis of 13 studies found that Agreeableness predicted longer marriages and lower rates of divorce among married couples.5

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Agreeableness and Conflict Resolution

Research suggests that Agreeableness is related to both our perception of conflict in our relationships and the techniques we tend to use to resolve them.

One series of experiments found that more agreeable people tend to see other people as more likable and friendly, and perceive less conflict in their interactions with others. Less agreeable people tend to rate the same people less positively and see more conflict in the same interactions.6

The same study found that, when faced with interpersonal conflict, more agreeable subjects favored using negotiation, compromising, and de-escalation to resolve the conflict. Less agreeable subjects were more likely to use criticism, physical action, or threats as tools for resolving the same conflicts.

In general, less agreeable people tend to perceive more interpersonal conflict and tension than highly agreeable people, even in the same relationships. Adding to that, less agreeable people are more likely to try resolving conflict by force or threats, which may create or increase relationship tension.

How to Measure Your Agreeableness

Agreeableness is included in the results the free Big Five test at TraitLab.


1 John, O. P., & Srivastava, S. (1999). The Big Five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and theoretical perspectives. Handbook of personality: Theory and research, 2(1999), 102-138.

2 DeYoung, C. G., Quilty, L. C., & Peterson, J. B. (2007). Between facets and domains: 10 aspects of the Big Five. Journal of personality and social psychology, 93(5), 880.

3 Tov, W. , Nai, Z. L., & Lee, H. W. (2016). Extraversion and agreeableness: Divergent routes to daily satisfaction with social relationships. Journal of personality, 84(1), 121-134.

4 Asendorpf, J. B., & Wilpers, S. (1998). Personality effects on social relationships. Journal of personality and social psychology, 74(6), 1531

5 Roberts, B. W., Kuncel, N. R., Shiner, R., Caspi, A., & Goldberg, L. R. (2007). The power of personality: The comparative validity of personality traits, socioeconomic status, and cognitive ability for predicting important life outcomes. Perspectives on Psychological science, 2(4), 313-345.

6 Graziano, W. G., Jensen-Campbell, L. A., & Hair, E. C. (1996). Perceiving interpersonal conflict and reacting to it: the case for agreeableness. Journal of personality and social psychology, 70(4), 820.

The Big Five: What qualities really define our character

April 8 Likbez Life

One of the few psychological concepts whose personality tests can be trusted.

What is the essence of the "Big Five"

"Big Five" is a model for assessing individual differences in human personality on five indicators. These include extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. These characteristics, to varying degrees, may or may not be inherent in any personality, and they can also be measured. However, they do not affect each other and are not interconnected in any way.

The first such classifications were developed in ancient times - for example, Hippocrates' theory of temperament. Later, the Carl Jung model, socionics and typology Myers-Briggs (MBTI) appeared.

These concepts have always been very popular, as they have been used by scientists to explain why people behave differently and how it affects their lives. They tried to answer questions about what qualities a leader should have, what makes some people psychologically more stable, or how temperament affects physical health.

However, today the five-factor model, or the “Big Five”, is still considered to be the most complete and accurate description of human character.

It was created by two groups of American psychologists in the 1970s. They interviewed thousands of people and came to the conclusion that it is possible to determine a person's temperament using the indicators listed above.

To understand how these qualities are developed in each individual, psychologists have developed special tests. They don't have right or wrong answers. The participant is asked to compare his character with the descriptions of the personality or answer how close the presented statements are to him.

Based on this, it turns out how strongly each of the qualities of the big five is developed in a person. You can take these tests too - here are short and long questionnaires.

What are the Big Five

1. Extraversion

In fact, extraversion is not only sociability. This indicator reflects how sociable a person is, cheerful, initiative, independent. Is he able to finish what he started and is he ready for adventure. In general, this characteristic indicates how active an individual lives.

People with low extraversion tend to be introverted and more inclined to obey authority. They may also have problems with abstract thinking. Those who score high are sociable, assertive and tend to become leaders more often.

At the same time, extroverts and introverts in their pure form practically do not exist. The scores of the vast majority of people on the test will fall somewhere in between these extremes—this is commonly referred to as ambivalence.

2. Openness

This characteristic shows how open a person is to new experiences, and it can also serve as a measure of creativity. People with a low level of openness are usually more committed to traditions, they clearly distinguish between “right” and “wrong” for themselves, they tolerate the routine more easily or even prefer it. Those who are very open, on the contrary, do not accept monotony, are more curious, and they like to invent new ways to solve problems.

3. Goodwill

This sign shows how we treat other people, how much we trust them, how often we show sensitivity and warmth - a kind of measure of good nature. The most benevolent people are more likely to adhere to religious beliefs. They try to avoid conflict and help others. Those who are shy, suspicious, or self-centered tend to score low in this category.

4. Conscientiousness

This parameter helps to understand how organized a person is. A high level of conscientiousness is observed in those who are motivated, disciplined, productive, responsible. These people love order in everything. They usually plan ahead and take care not to break the promise. Therefore, they are more likely to be trusted. Low scores in this category go to irresponsible and easily distracted individuals.

Also, a study by Finnish psychologists showed that people with low scores in this category have a 14% higher mortality rate. As scientists say, the reason for this is the inability to control oneself and the general irresponsibility. They push a person onto the path of self-destruction.

5. Neuroticism

This indicator measures a person's emotional stability. A high level of neuroticism is observed in anxious, inhibited, moody or insecure people. They react more strongly to failures and life shocks, often suffer from low self-esteem. Those who score low in this category are calm, satisfied with life, and self-confident.

What are the advantages of the "Big Five"

Reliability and accuracy

The main advantage of the "Big Five" is that it is better than all personality typologies formulated from a methodological point of view. And also confirmed experimentally.

The researchers emphasize that the characteristics of the "Big Five" are formulated most accurately and clearly, and they can be fixed by repeated tests. Such reliability of results, for example, cannot be achieved using the well-known Myers-Briggs typology (MBTI).


The "Big Five" demonstrates that attempts to create some kind of classification of human characters or personality types are most likely futile. Especially if in them any trait of temperament can take only one of two positions.

In addition, the behavior of each individual may differ within one of the characteristics. For example, he can be sociable but not very assertive, although both of these qualities are related to extraversion. Some questionnaires take this into account and break down the characteristics into smaller components.

We also need to understand that sometimes we can consciously and not really change our behavior depending on the circumstances or environment - for example, we communicate differently in different companies.

Practical benefits

The Big Five can be useful both for ordinary people and for researchers of the human psyche. First, it helps to better understand yourself and characterize your personality. The second is interested in how our temperament can be associated with physical health, financial well-being, social and professional success.

So, psychologists say that there is a strong relationship between what results a person receives on a five-factor scale, and his sense of self.

For example, we can already say with great certainty that people with high extraversion feel more prosperous. And those who are emotionally less stable are also less productive. True, all these data only show a statistical pattern.

The other side of research within the "Big Five" considers the question of what factors influence the formation of personality. So, Canadian scientists analyzed the test data of several hundred pairs of twins and came to the conclusion that our character is equally shaped by heredity and the environment.

Also, working with the indicators of the "Big Five" helped to understand how the character of people changes over time. So, with age, we basically become less sociable, less likely to want to change something. But at the same time we become more good-natured and more stable emotionally.

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Despite its popularity, the Big Five is not the only measure of character. For example, there is the six-factor model of personality, also known as HEXACO. In it, in addition to the five traits, the parameter of honesty - modesty is added: how much a person is ready to promote his selfish goals.

Some psychologists have criticized the Big Five for not doing enough theory and blindly following the data. There is also evidence that outside of industrialized Western countries, the Big Five questionnaires are less reliable.

Nevertheless, this concept remains dominant and has been shown to be effective in 56 different cultures. Therefore, the Big Five is a reliable and effective tool for understanding our minds.

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The Big Five - a five-factor model of personality and the online 5PFQ test

I like to exercise

I completely agree

Partially agree

Not sure

Partially disagree

Completely disagree

People consider me a sympathetic and friendly person

I completely agree

Partially agree

Not sure

Partially disagree

Completely disagree

I value cleanliness and order in everything and do not allow myself to be sloppy

I completely agree

Partially agree

Not sure

Partially disagree

Completely disagree

Potential troubles and little things in life do not bother me, I am not worried that something might happen

I completely agree

Partially agree

Not sure

Partially disagree

Completely disagree

Often something new makes me irritated rather than interested

I completely agree

Partially agree

Not sure

Partially disagree

Completely disagree

I am a calm person and do not like to fuss.

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