Seven personality traits meme

We’ve had some good weather here in the midst of winter so I’ve been enjoying that rather than blogging. Last night was perhaps the most social I’ve been in a while. D, a friend of P’s, had a birthday get-together and we had a good few glasses of champagne. It was fun to see P get a bit drunk for the first time since I’ve known her. She was singing along to The Committments and getting all nostalgic about her trip to Ireland and her Irish roots. And then it was Jimi Hendrix and all the oldies, and more champagne.

I had a rather surreal conversation with D’s boyfriend J about Granny V, who I assumed was an old lady who lived upstairs and who didn’t like the puppy’s barking. At one point I asked, “So does Granny V own the house?” J replied about how Granny V mostly keeps to her room and tries to ignore the puppy. I thought it was a bit odd that this woman mostly stayed in her room while there was a big party going on downstairs. And then I discovered of course that Granny V is their cat!

This morning P woke up with a sore head but I think it was worth it. Tonight we have another birthday do at the restaurant where one of my exes does some singing. I’m sure it will be fine, and good to hear her sing again.

On to today’s meme (thanks to Charlotte and Doctordi for the tags). I originally did this as a blogging-under-the-influence (BUI) post but I had the good sense not to post that. Very revealing no doubt but I think a sober approach is probably better.

In the BUI post I listed my seven personality traits as: 1) not handling my liquor well 2) a tendency to anger 3) general anxiety 4) social anxiety 5) being critical 6) not sure what this one was but it was about working for various journalistic publications; and 7) curiosity.

But I’m not in a critical mood today and so I think I’ll just mention a few things that come to mind, and also refer to three personality tests (16PF, the Myers-Briggs and the MMPI). I see from the discussion of Personality at Wikipedia that the word traits refers to “habitual patterns of behaviour, thought and emotion”. I would put it the other way round: “emotion, thought and behaviour” but I guess that the point here is that the three are intimately connected.

Quick quote here from Wikipedia on the “Big Five” theory of personality factors:

The Big Five factors and their constituent traits can be summarized as follows:
• Openness – appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience.

• Conscientiousness – a tendency to show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement; planned rather than spontaneous behavior.

• Extraversion – energy, positive emotions, surgency, and the tendency to seek stimulation and the company of others.

• Agreeableness – a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others.

• Neuroticism – a tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, or vulnerability; sometimes called emotional instability.

I don’t want to get bogged down in the details but I think I’d definitely score five out of five here! I definitely have a tendency to experience the unpleasant emotions easily but I also seek out and enjoy the more pleasant aspects of life. And I also think that empathy (for ourselves and others) is a big factor in determining how we connect with people.

Another aspect to consider, especially today since it’s Mandela Day (in which we’re encouraged to spend 67 minutes helping out in the community) is how Nelson Mandela would score on a personality test and how useful (or not useful) such a test would be in describing this extraordinary man and the huge influence he has had both in South Africa and internationally. My sense is that we would need to pay far greater attention to the broader social context rather than locating factors within his personality.

Returning to those three tests above, the 16PF test (designed by Raymond Cattell in 1946) measures 16 personality variables: warmth, reasoning, emotional stability, dominance, liveliness, rule-consciousness, social boldness, sensitivity, vigilance, abstractedness, privateness, apprehension, openness to change, self-reliance, perfectionism and tension.

The Myers-Briggs test was derived from the work of Carl Jung. There are four scales: Extraversion / Intraversion (E/I); Sensing / Intuiting (S/N); Thinking / Feeling (T/F); Judging / Perceiving (J/P). Last time I did the test I was an ENFJ (although the E has probably changed into an I).

The MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory) tests for personality structure and psychopathology. I’m not going to go into that here.

For today I’ll stay with the big five: open, conscientious, extraverted, agreeable and neurotic.

In the interests of spreading this meme around I’ll tag the following seven bloggers:

Sarah at Devoted Reader
Sandy from Blogging Behavioural
Novalis from Blue to Blue
Phd in Yogurty
Bee Drunken

Update: The rules of this meme are simple: Describe seven personality traits you have and tag seven other bloggers.


10 Responses to Seven personality traits meme

  1. seachanges says:

    Surprise surprise coming back from having been away from bloggers’ land for a fortnight or so and I am being tagged – that gives the impetus to take up the pen again if anything does…

  2. natalian says:

    Thanks for the tag! As procrastination is one of my less appealing personality traits – I am sure I will get around to FINALLY doing it! 😉

  3. Pete says:

    Seachanges – Yes please do, I’m interested to see your take on this. Hope you’re having a good summer.

    Natalian – No rush, although would like to read yours. Can definitely relate to the procrastination.

  4. doctordi says:

    Cool – great post, Pete! And I was reading the Big Five thinking, “Hmmm… that sounds kind of like me, too…” – no wonder we get along as blogging friends so well!

  5. Pete says:

    doctordi – Thanks and I agree. Definitely the right combination of traits to have!

  6. Benjamins says:

    With a PhD in psychology I’d like to leave you with some extra info, which explains your five out of five score:
    the factors mentioned on wikipedia are scales, so everyone scores five out of five, but it’s the extent to which you score on each scale that makes up your personality. For fun you can actually do a big five personality test free and anonymous online on: and you’ll know how open, conscientious, extraverted, agreeable and neurotic you are.
    Otherwise, nice blog!

  7. Pete says:

    Benjamins – Thanks for the info. I thought as much but nice to have the confirmation and the link to the Big Five Personality Test. Cheers.

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