Kinds of traits

Personality Traits - Meaning and Different Types of Traits

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An individual’s behavior towards others, attitude, characteristics, mindset make his personality. Personality development is defined as a process of enhancing one’s personality. Personality development sessions guide an individual as to how he/she can develop his/her personality.

Broadly there are five parameters which describe an individual’s personality. These five dimensions are also called as “Big Five” Factors, and the model is referred to as Five Factor Model also abbreviated as FFM.

The Five Factor Model was initially proposed by Costa & McCrae in the year 1992 and often describes the relation between an individual’s personality and various behaviours.

Following are five personality traits of an individual:

  1. Openness to experience

    Individuals with openness to experience are generally very active, have a tremendous inclination towards creativity and aesthetics and listen to their heart i. e. follow their inner feelings. Such individuals are generally open to new learnings, skill sets and experiences.

    People who score high on openness are quite broadminded and modern in their outlook as compared to individuals who score low on the same parameter. Such individuals are conservative, reluctant to changes and have a traditional approach in life.

  2. Conscientiousness

    As the name suggests, individuals with a Conscientiousness personality trait listen to their conscience and act accordingly. Such individuals are extremely cautious and self disciplined. They never perform any task in haste but think twice before acting.

    People with this personality trait are generally methodical and tend to become perfectionists in the long run.

    People who score high on conscientiousness are proactive, goal oriented and self disciplined. They strive hard to accomplish goals and objectives within the stipulated time frame. Individuals who score less are little laid back and are not much goal oriented.

  3. Extraversion and Introversion

    Carl Jung popularized both the terms - “Extraversion” and “Introversion”.

    1. Extraversion: Extraversion refers to a state where individuals show more concern towards what is happening outside.

      Such individuals love interacting with people around and are generally talkative. They do not like spending time alone but love being the centre of attraction of parties and social gatherings.

      Such individuals love going out, partying, meeting people and often get bored when they are all by themselves. They admire the company of others and hate staying alone.

    2. Introversion: Introversion, on the other hand refers to a state when an individual is concerned only with his own life and nothing else.

      Such individuals do not bother about others and are seldom interested in what is happening around. They prefer staying back at home rather than going out and spending time with friends.

      Such individuals speak less and enjoy their own company. You would never find them in meetings, clubs, parties or social get-togethers. They generally do not have many friends and tend to rely on few trusted ones.

  4. Agreeableness

    Agreeableness is a personality trait which teaches individuals to be adjusting in almost all situations.

    Such individuals do not crib and face changes with a smile. They accommodate themselves to all situations and are friendly and kind hearted. People who score high on agreeableness are ready to help others and flash their trillion dollar smile whenever a problem arises.

    Individuals who score low on agreeableness on the other hand find difficulties in adjusting with others and are little unfriendly.

  5. Neuroticism

    Neuroticism is a trait where individuals are prone to negative thoughts such as anxiety, anger, envy, guilt and so on.

    Such individuals are often in a state of depression and do not know how to enjoy life. They always look at the negative sides of life and find extremely difficult to cope up with stress.

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Personality traits & personality types: What is personality?

Personality types are defined by five major traits. (Image credit: Getty Images/10'000 Hours)

What personality traits makes someone who they are? Each person has an idea of their own personality type — if they are bubbly or reserved, sensitive or thick-skinned. Psychologists who try to tease out the science of who we are define personality as individual differences in the way people tend to think, feel and behave.

You'll find many quizzes and tests online that claim to measure what personality type you have. Most of these are supported by very little evidence, and if you run across a system that claims to break all of humanity into just a handful of categories, it's safe to say it's probably oversimplified. Instead of trying to break people into "types," psychologists focus on personality traits. Each trait occurs along a spectrum and traits are independent of one another, making for an infinite constellation of human personality.

The traits with the strongest research backing them are the Big Five:

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism

Conveniently, you can remember these traits with the handy OCEAN mnemonic (or, if you prefer, CANOE works, too).

The Big Five were developed in the 1970s by two research teams. These teams were led by Paul Costa and Robert R. McCrae of the National Institutes of Health and Warren Norman and Lewis Goldberg of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of Oregon, according to Scientific American .

How universal are the Big Five? The evidence suggest that these traits translate well across cultures. A 2005 study led by McCrae and published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that structure of the Big Five was similar across 50 countries, and a 2017 study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that among 22 countries, breakdowns of personality traits were quite similar. In fact, a person's nationality contributed only 2% to their personality. And a 2021 study of Mexican-origin adults "showed few associations with sociodemographic factors (sex, education level, and IQ) and cultural factors," according to the study abstract on the National Library of Medicine.

Still, there may be some cultures that don't conceive of human traits in the terms of the Big Five. For example, a 2013 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that among the Tsimane tribe of forager-horticulturists in Bolivia, personality was conceived of along only two traits, prosociality and industriousness. This suggests that the Big Five personality traits could be a byproduct of living in a large, complex society, while people in small, traditional societies differ along other sets of traits. One possibility is that societies that offer more social niches for people allow more types of personality traits to arise, University of California Merced psychologist Paul Smaldino and UC Santa Barbara anthropologist Michael Gurven, have suggested in their 2019 study .

If you live in a large, industrialized society, though, chances are the Big Five will do a pretty good job of summing you up. You might have a dash of openness, a lot of conscientiousness, an average amount of extraversion, plenty of agreeableness and almost no neuroticism at all. Or you might be highly conscientious, a bit introverted, disagreeable, neurotic and barely open. Here's what each trait entails.


Openness is shorthand for "openness to experience." People who are high in openness enjoy adventure. They're curious and appreciate art, imagination and new things. The motto of the open individual might be, "variety is the spice of life."

People low in openness are just the opposite: they prefer to stick to their habits, avoid new experiences and probably aren't the most adventurous eaters.

Openness might correlate with verbal intelligence and knowledge acquisition over the lifespan, according to a 2021 study in the American Psychological Association . People high in openness enjoy novelty and "predicted humor production ability above and beyond intelligence," the team wrote in their research. 

In other words, they tend to be funnier than people who are just smart. 

Openness describes how open to new experiences a person is.  (Image credit: Getty Images/Ippei Naoi)


People who are conscientious are organized and have a strong sense of duty. They're dependable, disciplined and achievement-focused. You won't find conscientious types jetting off on round-the-world journeys without an itinerary; they're planners.

People low in conscientiousness are more spontaneous and freewheeling. At the extreme, they may tend toward carelessness. Conscientiousness is a helpful trait to have, as it has been linked to achievement in school and on the job, researchers reported in 2019 in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences .


Extraversion versus introversion is possibly the most recognizable personality trait of the Big Five. The more of an extravert someone is, the more of a social butterfly they are. Extraverts are chatty, sociable and draw energy from crowds. They tend to be assertive and cheerful in their social interactions.

Introverts, on the other hand, need plenty of alone time. Introversion is often confused with shyness, but the two aren't the same. Shyness implies a fear of social interactions or an inability to function socially. Introverts can be perfectly charming at parties — they just prefer solo or small-group activities.


Agreeableness measures the extent of a person's warmth and kindness. The more agreeable someone is, the more likely they are to be trusting, helpful and compassionate. Disagreeable people are cold and suspicious of others, and they're less likely to cooperate.

As you might imagine, agreeableness has its benefits. In a 25-year study published in Developmental Psychology in 2002, agreeable kids had fewer behavioral problems than kids low in agreeableness, and agreeable adults had less depression and greater job stability than adults who were low in agreeableness.

But being agreeable isn't always rewarded. A 2018 article in Harvard Business Review by Miriam Gensowski, an assistant professor at the Department of Economics of the University of Copenhagen, stated that, "more agreeable men, who tend to be friendly and helpful to others, have significantly lower earnings than less agreeable men. The man who is very agreeable (in the top 20%) will earn about $270,000 less over a lifetime than the average man." 

A 2018 study published in Personnel Psychology suggested that disagreeable men may pitch in less at home, allowing them to devote more time and energy to their work and thus make more than agreeable guys.


To understand neuroticism, look no further than George Costanza of the long-running sitcom "Seinfeld." George is famous for his neuroses, which the show blames on his dysfunctional parents. He worries about everything, obsesses over germs and disease and once quits a job because his anxiety over not having access to a private bathroom is too overwhelming.

People high in neuroticism worry frequently and easily slip into anxiety and depression. If all is going well, neurotic people tend to find things to worry about. A 2021 study found negative association with neuroticism and earnings. Although, even when neurotic people with good salaries earned raises, the extra income actually made them less happy . Because people high in neuroticism tend to experience a lot of negative emotion, neuroticism plays a role in the development of emotional disorders, according to a paper published in Clinical Psychological Science .

In contrast, people who are low in neuroticism tend to be emotionally stable and even-keeled.

Can personality change?

Personality was once thought to be very difficult to alter, but evidence is accumulating that personality can change in adulthood. In a 2011 study, people who took psilocybin, or hallucinogenic "magic mushrooms", became more open after the experience. More recently and in a paper published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2017, the hallucinogen MDMA has been found to increase openness when used therapeutically, which could be helpful for treating post-traumatic stress.

Psilocybin mushrooms have hallucinogenic properties. (Image credit: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

And you don't necessarily have to go on a hallucinogenic trip to make real change. A study published in the January 2017 journal Psychological Bulletin synthesized 207 published research papers and found that personality may be altered through therapy, Live Science reported previously. "For the people who want to change their spouse tomorrow, which a lot of people want to do, I don't hold out much hope for them," said study researcher Brent Roberts, a social and personality psychologist at the University of Illinois. However, he continued, "if you're willing to focus on one aspect of yourself, and you're willing to go at it systematically, there's now increased optimism that you can affect change in that domain."

Because neuroticism is linked to mental health challenges, researchers have recently become interested in trying to reduce neuroticism through therapy. The hope of the study — published in the National Library of Medicine — is that targeting neuroticism will prevent the development of disorders like depression.

Personality also seems to change — slowly but naturally — over the course of a person's life. As people age, they become more extraverted, less neurotic, more agreeable and more conscientious, Live Science reported.

What personality type am I?

Though the Big Five are by far the most research-backed, scientifically based personality traits that have been identified, there are other schemas for measuring personality. These don't always tend to correlate with life outcomes the way the Big Five do, but people find them entertaining and sometimes helpful for thinking about their own attributes and goals. (Pro tip: If a system claims to describe your personality based on your zodiac sign, blood type or Hogwarts house, it's just for fun).

Among the most popular is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which breaks people into 16 "types" based on how their level of introversion or extraversion, their information-gathering style (sensing for those who stick to the bare facts or intuition for those who prefer to find patterns), their decision-making preferences (thinking for those who like objectivity and fact or feeling for those who prefer to weigh personal concerns) and their tolerance of ambiguity in dealing with the outside world (judging for those who prefer to get things settled, perceiving for those open to new information).

You're likely to run into versions of the Myers-Briggs online or at work retreats – they're very popular in corporate America. But research on the Myers-Briggs has found that it's not very reliable (meaning people get different answers if they take the test several times) and that it's not particularly valid (meaning that people's answers don't match their real-world behavior or job outcomes very well), Live Science reported in 2019.

Another popular personality test is the Enneagram Type Indicator, which divides people into nine personality types with additional "wing" types that cover other traits that people might sometimes display. The Enneagram doesn't have much scientific theory behind it, though, and there's very little research showing that it's valid or reliable, according to Inverse .

Finally, you're likely to run across the 16Personalities test online. This test is based on Myers-Briggs but instead of identifying people by four-letter strings, it divides people into 16 social-media-friendly categories like "diplomats" and "explorers. "

If you'd like to delve into personality inventories beyond the Big Five, you might have more luck with the HEXACO Personality Inventory , which aims to be more internationally relevant than the Big Five. In studies of personality, researchers found that outside the United States, a sixth trait kept popping up. This trait is along the honesty-humility spectrum. People who are high in honesty-humility are modest, fair and sincere; people who are low in the trait as boastful, greedy and pompous. The HEXACO inventory otherwise overlaps with the Big Five, measuring openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion and emotionality (which is similar to neuroticism).

Another personality inventory based in scientific theory is the Hogan Personality Inventory , which draws from the Big Five but focuses on interpersonal interactions specifically. This inventory measures people on traits such as ambition, sociability, sensitivity and prudence.

Additional resources

  • Business Insider: The Big Five Personality Traits and What They Mean  
  • U. S. National Library of Medicine: Long-term Stability in the Big Five Personality Traits in Adulthood
  • Encyclopedia Britannica: Culture-and-Personality Studies

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz. 

what it is and types of human characters

The typology of characters is very conditional. This is just an attempt by psychologists to classify the types of personalities in order to simplify their analysis. Therefore, there are many theories in this area. Freud, Jung, Hahnemann, Leontiev and other well-known specialists tried to give the concept of the term "character" and systematize its varieties. To better understand yourself and build productive relationships with others, it is enough to know the types of temperament and some basic types of personalities.

What is a person's character?

Character is a set of stable mental properties that determine the characteristics of behavior and building relationships. It is interconnected with other aspects of the personality, for example, with the temperament that determines its external expression. What type of character you have is influenced by social conditions. To determine its appearance, one must rely on a set of traits that are divided into:

  • Certain . One or more traits dominate.
  • Undefined . There are no dominant characteristics.
  • Inconsistent . When the awareness of the goals and actions of the individual is dissonant.
  • Solid . Absence of contradictions.

Types of human character.

4 types of character depending on temperament.

Depending on the prevailing qualities of character and reactions to different situations, 4 temperaments are distinguished: phlegmatic, choleric, sanguine and melancholic.

Take a temperament test

1. Phlegmatic.

He is distinguished by slowness, his mood changes slightly, at least outwardly he shows emotions almost imperceptibly. He is persistent in his work, he relies on quality, not speed. In most situations, he is calm, rarely loses his composure and balance. Phlegmatic people are diligent, they try to bring what they started to the end. They are better than others at work that requires perseverance and increased attention.

Strengths: Weaknesses:
peace of mind;

cheerful disposition;














2. Choleric.

Passionate, quick in reactions, emotional, quick-tempered. The mood is changeable, such a person is quickly depleted. Differs in sharpness in movements, decisions and statements. It quickly lights up, but under adverse conditions it can turn into aggression.

Strengths: Weak Traits:





strong will;












inattention to others.

3. Sanguine.

Alive, mobile, everything is burning in his hands, his mood is changeable. A person with this type of character quickly reacts to changes and adapts to them. Failures cannot stop him, he quickly moves away from them. Emotional in expressing feelings, with active facial expressions. If the work is interesting to the sanguine person, he will do it quickly, revealing his potential, otherwise, he is indifferent to work.

Sociable, honors himself in a relaxed way in a new society. Multi-tasking, can be a leader, perform several tasks at once, or monitor the execution of processes.

Strengths: Weaknesses:












weakness of will;



4. Melancholic.

Emotionally unstable, such a person is easily hurt. He is always worried about something, impressionable. Among melancholics, pessimists and introverts are most often found. With such a character, a person worries even over trifles. In a new company, they feel awkward and withdrawn, they try not to change anything in their lives, most often because of fear.

Positives: Negative Traits:






analytical mindset.








Five factor model.

Among other theories about the typology of personalities, the five-factor model put forward by R. McCrae and P. Costa in 1992 deserves attention. According to it, each person can be characterized by 5 personality factors.

1. Extrovert - introvert.

These types of character affect the public sphere.

Extroverts tend to be assertive. As a rule, they are optimistic, sociable, cheerful. They have well-developed social skills, a sense of humor, they are not afraid to express their opinion, they feel relatively easy in a new company. Such people avoid loneliness, try to be surrounded by people, they have many friends.

Introverts are shy and withdrawn, they behave aloof. It is difficult for them to get along with other people, they often become anxious, unsure of themselves. From the outside, it may seem that they are unfriendly, although they are more likely not able to build relationships than they do not want to. Introverts don't like large crowds.

Take the test: introvert or extrovert?

2. Emotional instability - stability.

Neuroticism is associated with maturity.

The nature of people of the neurotic type suggests the predominance of negative emotions - anxiety, fear, anger. This negatively affects the mood, causes constant anxiety, generates impulsiveness, craving for risky activities. Neurotic people are more prone to depression and phobias.

Emotionally stable people, on the contrary, are reliable and have strong will. During difficult situations, they are firmly on their feet, it is difficult to unsettle them.

3. Isolation - accommodating.

These character traits show a disposition towards other people, a craving for collectivism or individualism.

Accommodating or friendliness is inherent in altruists, generous, able to sympathize and help other people. Such people are generous, ready to support emotionally.

People with a separate personality type are egocentric, compete.

4. Responsibility - lack of self-control.

We are talking about the ability to plan, about self-control, purposefulness.

Responsible people rely on rules, are disciplined but rigid, and often lack the ability to be creative. They are characterized by scrupulousness, punctuality, ambition. Spontaneous decisions are unusual for them, sometimes they are boring.

People who lack self-control are spontaneous in their decisions and actions, know how to enjoy life, often behave irresponsibly. They succumb to laziness, do not differ in the strength of the water.

5. Open to experience - conservative.

It is about the ability to think critically.

People who are open to experience have their own values, they like to argue, ask questions. They are distinguished by artistry, originality, high intelligence. They have a developed imagination, they are independent, curious.

Conservatives prefer traditions, stability, they are attached to family values, rarely change anything in life.

In its pure form, specific types of human character are extremely rare. More often than not, people have dominant traits or a combination of several personality types at once. Character changes with age, experience, living in certain situations.

Take the test: an optimist or a pessimist

Character - what is it, what are the traits, types and types of human character

Updated on July 23, 2021 Views: 111 738 Author: Dmitry Petrov

Hello, dear readers of the blog "That's character!" - we are talking about a person who is tough in his judgments, purposeful in life and unbending under the blows of fate.

As a rule, this remark is pronounced with a share of envy and admiration. While "characterless" people do not inspire respect from others.

What is the difference between the first type of people and the second? And is it true that a person can have no character?

What is character

In fact, everyone has character. Translated from the ancient Greek language, this term literally means "sign", " feature ", " distinguishing mark ".

If we expand the definition, it turns out that character is a set of stable personality traits, properties of her psyche that determine behavior, reactions and other manifestations of a person.

For example, in the same situation, people behave differently: a lonely, small kitten will cause someone pity and a desire to feed, warm. Others will remain indifferent to the defenseless creature.

In the first case, a person is endowed with kindness, kindness, the ability to sympathize with the misfortune of others - these are his distinguishing features. In the second case, they are absent.

Each person is endowed with his own unique set of characteristics, so no two are exactly the same by the nature of the individual. Even individuals who are very similar at first glance will still find differences between themselves.

Human character traits

Character traits are a huge list of personal qualities, including kindness, cruelty, compliance, stubbornness, responsibility and irresponsibility, suspiciousness, courage and many others.

They can be both desirable or positive , and negative - which people often want to get rid of (become bolder, more confident).

The whole set of traits is usually divided into 4 large groups , each of which combines certain properties of the psyche:

  1. Relations with other people - openness or isolation, kindness or cruelty, arrogance or respect, and others.
  2. A person's relationship with himself - self-criticism or arrogance, vanity or modesty, etc.).
  3. Attitude towards work activity - accuracy, carelessness, activity - laziness, responsibility - a slipshod approach, etc.).
  4. Attitude towards material things - care or negligence.

All these traits are in different people in different proportions, thus forming different types of character, which will be described below.

Type of character

Scientists have not come to a consensus about what types of character are. Various figures have developed their own classifications, the most popular of which are the following:

  1. E. Kretschmer linked character and physique of a person . Thus, he got 3 types:

    1. asthenics or schizothymics are thin people with long arms and legs. Their main features are isolation, low adaptive capacity and seriousness. There is a predisposition to schizophrenia;
    2. athletics or ixothymics - have a high stature, good body proportions and developed muscles. They are characterized by authority, the desire for leadership, calmness and restraint. Of the negative character traits - the inability to adapt and show emotions. prone to epilepsy;
    3. picnics or cyclothymics short, prone to corpulence, short limbs and large head. Sociable and emotional people with developed sensitivity, easily adapt to circumstances. Prone to manic-depressive syndrome.
  2. According to accentuations - leading features :

    1. hyperthymic type - lively, energetic, sociable;
    2. dysthymic - a slow, pessimistic person, reserved;
    3. cycloid - combines the two previous ones, lives as if on a swing from one extreme to another;
    4. excitable character - imperious, explosive, conflict, difficult to communicate;
    5. pedantic is petty, grouchy, but conscientious;
    6. anxious - insecure, in need of support, friendly, self-critical;
    7. demonstrative - easily adaptable, loves intrigue, self-confident, selfish and boastful.
  3. K. Jung singled out only two types of character - in the direction of the aspirations of the psyche :

    1. extrovert - striving outward - sociable, energetic, lives in the surrounding world;
    2. introvert – aspiring inward – closed, lives in his own inner world, he is not interested in the outside.
  4. What is the nature of the character, according to psychoanalyst A. Lowen:

    1. oral type is characterized by dependence on other people's opinions, infantilism, fear of being rejected and the need for the support of others;
    2. masochistic sensual, insightful, likes to suffer;
    3. hysterical - ambition, emotionality and desire to control, arrogant behavior;
    4. schizoid - inadequacy of emotions, weak connection between thinking and feelings, uncertainty, fear of spontaneity;
    5. psychopathic type contains the following traits of a person's character - power, concern about the image (what is this?), increased control over the world;
    6. narcissistic - energy, self-confidence, aggression, flexibility and purposefulness.

Formation of a person's character

Character begins to form from the first days after birth. By the age of 4-5, the general structure of the personality is already visible, and by the age of 10, the character is already fully “staffed”.

What factors will influence character traits:

  1. genetic predisposition – there is an opinion that some traits are inherited from parents;
  2. society is parents and other significant adults (relatives, neighbors, teachers), friends, classmates;
  3. life circumstances are situations that a child encounters. For example, the financial situation of the family, events of various modalities also influence the future character. If the same child experiences the death of a loved one or, on the contrary, something bright and positive, these two factors will leave different imprints on his personality.

Initially, the baby looks at how his parents treat him. Further, it is with this attitude that he will go to the big world. That is if he was loved , surrounded by warmth and care, talked about his value, then this is how he will feel among others - significant, important, valuable. This is how he treats people. And vice versa.

What are the types of temperament

What is character, we figured it out. These are the personal characteristics of a person, which are formed from birth. Often his is confused with temperament , although these concepts are far from the same thing.

Temperament is a property of the nervous system: its mobility, responsiveness, stability. This quality of the individual is innate and, unlike character, is not subject to change.

Temperament can be represented as the basis on which character will subsequently be formed, while the first noticeably influences the second. Hippocrates wrote about the types of temperament, psychology adheres to his classification to this day:

  1. melancholic - an anxious person who does not cope well with stress due to the mobile nervous system;
  2. sanguine - balanced, logical, lively, sociable, optimistic;
  3. choleric - explosive, impulsive, quick-tempered;
  4. phlegmatic (who is this?) - stable, hardy personality type, calm and measured.

    Learn more