Interesting Research on the Big Five

Because the Big Five model of personality is widely considered to be the most scientifically valid way to describe personality differences, it is the basis of much of today’s current personality research. Scientists are using the Big Five factors of Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism to explore how personality affects our addictive tendencies, relational satisfaction, life expectancy, and more.

The Big Five model of personality has been used to study everything from the heritability of personality to the traits that keep us healthy. Some of the results are intuitive; for instance, Introverts are less likely to hold positions of leadership. Other findings are more surprising—who would have guessed that your personality traits are revealed in the way you decorate your home?

Personality Traits and Addiction

Research suggests that those high in Neuroticism and low in Agreeableness are more likely to consume alcohol. These traits also correlate with alcohol addiction, along with low Conscientiousness, which indicates a degree of impulsive behavior.

Personality Traits and Income

Conscientiousness appears to be the most crucial personality dimension in predicting income and career success. However, finding a good fit between personality and career is important as well—those whose personalities are a good fit for the demands of their jobs see a significant income boost. 

Personality Traits and Marriage

As one might expect, those high in Neuroticism reported less marital satisfaction, while people high in Agreeableness tended to be happier in their relationships. More surprisingly, people high in Openness tended to have fewer negative interactions with their spouses. 

Personality Traits and Your Home

Your personality traits may be revealed by your physical spaces, including your home and your office. For instance, having many books around is a good indicator of Openness. A tidy environment typically indicates a Conscientious personality. 

Personality Traits and Life Expectancy

Certain personality traits are associated with a longer lifespan. Conscientiousness appears to be the most important trait, most likely because it is associated with healthy behaviors like avoiding smoking and drinking to excess, and adhering to doctors' advice. Some studies have also found an association between low Neuroticism and higher Extraversion and a longer lifespan.

Molly Owens
Molly Owens is the founder and CEO of Truity. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She began working with personality assessments in 2006, and in 2012 founded Truity with the goal of making robust, scientifically validated assessments more accessible and user-friendly. Molly is an ENTP and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys elaborate cooking projects, murder mysteries, and exploring with her husband and son.