For me, it looked little silly to grouping people and their personalities into certain types such as blood types or MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator).Therefore when I first read about the big five model, the generalized personality traits, I doubted its value. However I took personality psychology class and had a chance to know more about the big five model. Also I have been taking three psychology classes and all of the professors had time to covering the model. Now I know why they did, because it is important and interesting subject in psychology.
The big five personality traits were from a combine of a lexical approach and a statistical approach. Since 20 century, it has become an important basis on understanding human nature. From the dictionary study which was conducted by Allport & Odbert to Costa & McCara, many other psychologists and scholars have confirmed there are universal traits on human personality. Even though there are some controversies on how many traits are there, mostly psychologist refers them as extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism and openness.
This video shows typical people with each of traits. It portraits how people look like and what kinds of job they are more likely to have with high extraversion or openness and so on. But these are examples to show it clearly. Traits are not like that. Then each of traits has more sub-traits and those are related to specific behaviors. It has hierarchical structure and one of the examples is like below.
I took the personality psychology class and it was one of the professor's slides. The first one is Eysenck's sub-traits and the next one is from a study of Costa&McCrae. There is one of the five traits, and it has multiple sub-traits. On Eysenck's structure, each of those six sub-traits has its own scale to be measured. Generally, people with high extraversion are assertive, sociable but also dominant. According to the model, all people have somewhat extraverted trait anyway. But it is different when it comes to how much they are extraverted. It is same with other traits. Therefore one's personality can be considered a specific combination of five traits. There are more than millions of combinations and explanations of individuals' personalities. That why I found it fascinating. It is like a language. With limited traits, the model let us explain and analyze one's tendency to behave and think in a way the person does. I spent this semester to study basic knowledge of the big five model, and the discussion in psy1001 class was so much fun for me. It gave me an impression a lot and I wouldn't forget it for a while.