Modern scientific research uses five broad domains to describe human personality - called the Big Five factors or the Five Factor Model*. Research studies have found that the Big Five personality traits show consistency in interviews, self-descriptions and observations. Moreover, the five-factor structure is found across a wide range of people of different ages and cultures.
Beneath each factor, a cluster of correlated and more specific aspects are found.
The factors are:
- Stress Tolerance (i.e., neuroticism)
- Openness to Experience
The personality factor that reflects the amount someone influences control, regulation, and direction of impulses, their tendency to show initiative and self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement, and preference for planned rather than spontaneous behavior.
Statements demonstrating High Conscientiousness:
• I am always prepared.
• I pay attention to details.
• I get chores done right away.
• I like order.
• I follow a schedule.
• I am exacting in my work.
Plum measures two dominant aspects, or sub-factors, of Conscientiousness:
- Industriousness - the extent that someone maintains high standards, aspires to challenging goals and is willing to put forth extra effort. It is the degree to which someone is purposeful, efficient, and ambitious.
- Orderliness - the extent that someone acts with deliberation, is focused on quality, and prefers to be organized and have a plan. It is the degree to which someone is thorough, methodical, and organized.
The personality factor that reflects the amount someone is easily upset or volatile, their tendency to experience negative emotions, and how much they interpret ordinary situations as threatening.
Statements demonstrating Stress Tolerance:
• I am relaxed most of the time.
• I seldom feel blue.
• I rarely get irritated.
• I am not easily bothered by things.
Plum measures two dominant aspects, or sub-factors, of Stress Tolerance:
- Self Regard - the extent that someone has a positive self-image, is satisfied with who they are as a person, and tends to be self-assured and optimistic. It is the degree to which someone is content, secure and cheerful.
- Stability - the extent someone is calm under pressure, even-tempered, and resistant to the effects of stress and unexpected changes. It is the degree to which someone is calm, steady and composed.
Openness to Experience
The personality factor that reflects the amount someone prefers novelty and variety over routine, is intellectually curious and imaginative, and is tolerant of unconventional beliefs and feelings.
Statements demonstrating Openness to Experience:
• I have a vivid imagination.
• I have excellent ideas.
• I am quick to understand things.
• I spend time reflecting on things.
Plum measures two dominant aspects, or sub-factors, of Openness to Experience:
- Intellectual Disposition - the extent that someone enjoys learning new things, is interested in different ideas, and tends to imagine how things could be different. It is the degree to which someone is analytical, curious and imaginative.
- Experiential Disposition - the extent that someone seeks out new and different experiences, adapts to changes in the workplace, and is tolerant of differences between people. It is the degree to which someone is flexible, unconventional and reflective.
The personality factor that reflects the amount someone enjoys human interactions and time spent with people and the extent they are concerned with obtaining gratification from things outside themselves.
Statements demonstrating High Extroversion:
• I am the life of the party.
• I don't mind being the center of attention.
• I feel comfortable around people.
• I start conversations.
• I talk to a lot of different people at parties.
Plum measures two dominant aspects, or sub-factors, of Extraversion:
- Enthusiasm - the extent that someone is interested in meeting new people, initiates conversations, and is comfortable in social interactions. It is the degree to which someone is talkative, outgoing, and sociable.
- Assertiveness - the extent that someone voices their opinions forcefully and is comfortable being the center of attention and giving direction to other employees. It is the degree to which someone is influential, persuasive, and self-confident.
The personality factor that reflects someone's concern for social harmony and getting along with others, their tendency to be compassionate and cooperative, and optimism about human nature.
Statements demonstrating High Agreeableness:
• I am interested in people
• I sympathize with others' feelings
• I have a soft heart
• I take time out for others
• I feel others’ emotions
• I make people feel at ease
Plum measures two dominant aspects, or sub-factors, of Agreeableness:
- Compassion - the extent that someone shows empathy, sympathy, and warmth toward others; shows a tendency for being understanding and forgiving of mistakes. It is the degree to which someone is forgiving, helpful and trusting.
- Mannerliness - the extent that someone is pleasant to others, willing to cooperate, and considerate. It is the degree to which someone is modest, unassuming, and courteous. Mannerliness is sometimes referred to as compliance and politeness.
* (FFM; Costa & McCrae, 1999; Digman, 1990)