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influence how we see ourselves in the world and how we perceive and interact with others.Personality refers to a person’s general way of thinking, feeling, and behaving based on underlyingmotivations and impulses (McCornack, 2007). These underlying motivations and impulses form ourpersonality traits. Personality traits are “underlying,” but they are fairly enduring once a person reachesadulthood. That is not to say that people’s personalities do not change, but major changes in personalityare not common unless they result from some form of trauma. Although personality scholars believethere are thousands of personalities, they all comprise some combination of the same few traits. Muchresearch has been done on personality traits, and the “Big Five” that are most commonly discussed areextraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness (McCrea, 2001). These fivetraits appear to be representative of personalities across cultures, and you can read more about whateach of these traits entails below. If you are interested in how you rank in terms of personality traits,there are many online tests you can take. A Big Five test can be taken at the following website:.The Big Five Personality TraitsExtraversion. Refers to a person’s interest in interacting with others. People with high extraversion aresociable and often called “extroverts.” People with low extraversion are less sociable and are often called“introverts.”Agreeableness. Refers to a person’s level of trustworthiness and friendliness. People with highagreeableness are cooperative and likable. People with low agreeableness are suspicious of others andsometimes aggressive, which makes it more difficult for people to find them pleasant to be around.
Conscientiousness. Refers to a person’s level of self-organization and motivation. People with highconscientiousness are methodical, motivated, and dependable. People with low conscientiousness areless focused, less careful, and less dependable.Neuroticism. Refers to a person’s level of negative thoughts regarding himself or herself. People high inneuroticism are insecure and experience emotional distress and may be perceived as unstable. Peoplelow in neuroticism are more relaxed, have less emotional swings, and are perceived as more stable.Openness. Refers to a person’s willingness to consider new ideas and perspectives. People high inopenness are creative and are perceived as open minded. People low in openness are more rigid and setin their thinking and are perceived as “set in their ways.”Scholarship related to personality serves many purposes, and some of them tie directly to perception.

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