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Know Yourself within the OCEAN: The Big 5 Personality Traits

By September 16, 2021Psychology

The Big Five Personality Traits are extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. A good acronym for these traits is OCEAN. These personality traits have a large influence on how we behave in our daily lives. Each of the big five personalities has a list of opposite traits within them. In this post, we will talk about the opposites and dive deep into what makes each of these personality traits tick, how they show up, and research behind them.

Openness involves things like creativity with new ideas or thoughts whereas the opposite would play things more safely and by the book.

Agreeable people tend to trust other more than disagreeable individuals who might not have as much faith in others.

Conscientious people will often try to follow through on a task or give it their all.

Neuroticism is about being anxious and worried in the long term as well as when faced with stressors that are more short-lived like receiving bad news from an exam.

Extroverts, for example, are social while introverts prefer to be alone.

Research of the Big Five

Studies of the genetic and environmental underpinnings of the five traits looked at identical twins and fraternal twins. The findings suggested that the heritability of each trait was between 40 and 60% (Power & Pluess, 2015).

It is not just genes that influence personality traits. The environment in which a person grows up also has an impact, for example, parents can encourage extroversion by talking to their children more often when they are young.

Twins have been studied for decades to help us understand the genetic and environmental components of human behavior. One study found that while there is a strong correlation between genetics and one’s personality, it does not stop at just five traits; instead, every aspect of our lives has some effect on how we act or think.

Openness and Extroversion were found to be the most heritable of the five factors with parents taking the primary role in influencing these traits. Research suggests that both environmental influences and genetics play a role in shaping our personalities, this is called epigenetics. All of these studies provide insight into which aspects can be changed with self-improvement in order to better ourselves as people.

The Influence of these Traits

The Big Five Personality Traits theory was first developed by Lewis Goldberg in 1963. He proposed that there were these five basic categories of human personality – Extroversion, Agreeableness, Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, and Neuroticism. These have long been a topic of interest in the fields of psychology and neuroscience. The five traits also had a major influence on the development of the personality test, the Enneagram.

More specifically, the different traits of a person’s personality affect their emotional reactivity and psychological needs, which then, in turn, shapes their motivations. This is where the Enneagram comes in and can be so accurate. We will write another post on this personality test because it is a really fun one to take and can tell you a lot about yourself.


For now – let’s jump into the OCEAN!


Openness is an indicator of intellectual curiosity, creativity, appreciation for art and beauty, broad-mindedness, tolerance (including acceptance or rejection as appropriate).

It is the degree to which one enjoys novelty or adventure (enjoys exploring new ideas). The opposite of openness would be how conservative someone is in their attitudes, beliefs, interests, and values. If there’s an inclination towards closure rather than exploration, a person could be low in openness. A person low on the scale may give up easily when things become difficult while those high on openness enjoy intellectual stimulation even if it requires hard work for them.

We can understand openness by looking at its opposite trait which is closed-mindedness or narrow-sightedness. People who are open to new experiences have a high degree of curiosity. Closed-mindedness refers to not being open to new experiences, ideas, and ways of doing things. Openness reflects imagination and appreciation of beauty as well as intelligence or sophistication.


Agreeableness is a measure of one’s concern for anothers’ welfare including their feelings (empathy) and willingness to go out of their way to help someone in need, from family members to strangers. Agreeable people highly value the relationships they have with those around them.  Personal relationships are of great importance to agreeable people, and they enjoy being close friends with others.

We can understand agreeableness by looking at its opposite trait which is disagreeableness. Agreeable people have good social skills, are easygoing and cooperative rather than suspicious or antagonistic towards others. Disagreeable means not caring about other people’s well-being and just thinking about oneself. Agreeable means kindness, empathy, politeness, and other pro-social behaviors.


Conscientiousness is a measure of one’s self-control or discipline and ability to organize themselves. In order words, conscientious behaviors typically demonstrate self-control, which includes having good time management skills as well. Many people in long-term recovery are considered conscientious because they trudge a difficult road in their daily progression to live a better life. Conscientiousness is also seen as a predictor of academic success, good work habits, and health. It is a trait that is driven by best effort.

We can understand conscientiousness by looking at its opposite trait which is carelessness or lack of self-regulation. Carelessness can be a lack of self-control which often can lead to addiction. Conscientiousness refers to organization skills and reliability while Neuroticism means emotional instability such as moodiness or irritability.


Neuroticism measures someone’s emotional stability including negative emotions which can lead to things such as workaholism and addiction. Neurotics also tend to be high achievers but they need the validation of external sources for self-esteem rather than from within themselves. Some psychologists believe that neuroticism is a measure of “psychological vulnerability.” Neurotic people tend to be less agreeable and extroverted than those who aren’t.

We can understand neuroticism by looking at its opposite trait which is the stability of emotions. People who are neurotic tend to be more anxious, depressed, and angry than others. An emotionally stable person is calm and does not easily get upset or angry. Neuroticism means emotional instability such as moodiness or irritability. Therapies that could help with this trait would be DBT, EFT, motivational interviewing, and more.


Extroversion means that a person focuses their attention on people rather than things while outgoing individuals maintain frequent contact with others. Their effort comes more easily than introverts when it comes to maintaining social wellness.

Extroversion measures primarily how outgoing someone is in fulfilling social roles such as being an extrovert with outgoing and high-energy tenancies. Extroverts enjoy being around people and are more talkative, assertive, and sociable.

We can understand extroversion by looking at its opposite trait which is introversion. Introverts prefer solitary activities such as reading or watching videos rather than socializing with other people in person. I, myself, am a definite introvert. Extroversion on the other hand means enjoying being around people and acting sociable. Extroversion is the tendency to enjoy being around people and acting sociable.


The Big 5 Personality Traits is a personality model that has been widely studied in the field of psychology. Extroversion, agreeableness, openness to experience, conscientiousness, and neuroticism are all important traits that influence your behavior both as an individual and as someone who interacts with others. Understanding these trait differences can help you better understand yourself or those around you.

We hope these insights will inspire you to dive deeper into your personality traits to aid you on your own successful healing journey today. You have the power to transform your life and habits significantly. Satori Way is here to help set the stage with what is right for you, join us as a free member, and check out our 5-day course here!


Big Five Personality Traits: The OCEAN Model Explained [2019 Upd.]. (2021). Retrieved 29 August 2021, from

Power, R. A., & Pluess, M. (2015). Heritability estimates of the Big Five personality traits based on common genetic variants. Translational psychiatry5(7), e604.