Big Data Gives the “Big 5” Personality Traits a Makeover

From the ancient Greeks to Shakespeare to Hollywood, humans have attempted to understand their fellow man through labeling and categorization. There was Hippocrates’s blood, phlegm, yellow and black bile; the classic dramatic archetypes of hero, ingenue, jester and wise man; and, of course, Carrie, Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda from the famous HBO series

More rigorously, psychologists have worked to develop empirical tests that assess core aspects of personality. The “Big Five” traits (extroversion, neuroticism, openness, conscientiousness and agreeableness) emerged in the 1940s through studies of the English language for descriptive terms. Those categories were validated in the 1990s as a scientifically backed way to evaluate a person’s character.

Author: Dana G. Smith

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