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I’m curious about what people disagree with in the Big Five and related theories.

The main issue that comes to mind for me is its one-sidedness. Big Five sources tend to treat one side of each dimension as better than the other, and pay less attention to the weaknesses associated with the supposedly better side, or the strengths associated with the other side. The supposedly bad side of each dimension sometimes gets treated as simply lacking some good quality, even though there’s more to it than that.

What are your criticisms? Share and discuss.
 

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I have to agree with you on that. I feel like some of the scales could have had more neutral names, and the descriptions usually seem too biased. And this is why I haven't looked very deep into this theory myself, because I always get put off by it.

It's always irritated me that people often claim big five is better than meyers briggs when in my experience, it's a lot more "good types" and "bad types" within the actual descriptions themselves. Sure meyers-briggs enthusiasts can be biased about certain types, but the actual descriptions usually feel pretty neutral or balanced in the depiction of upsides and downsides to every type.
 

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Personally, I don't see how being closed off to experience could be a strength. Sure, it makes a person "orderly," but it does so by making them fearful, conformist, and weak-minded (essentially a cog in a mindless machine). I also don't see how being unconscientious could be a strength. Some would say that it makes a person more adaptable, but in my experience, the more people (as individuals or as a team) are able to plan, and stick to a plan, the more they're able to adapt and withstand what I call "peripheral happenstance." That would be the unpredictable stuff that happens while your attention is focused elsewhere. Typically, your attention is focused where it should be, but the stuff going on around you isn't working right. On a factory floor, this typically means machines breaking down or just not functioning right.

When it comes to introversion versus extroversion, totally agreed. Big5 doesn't define those terms the way Carl Jung did. He coined those terms and was, himself, an introvert. Jung used the terms in relation to cognition, whereas Big5 uses those terms as they relate to how a person socializes. In fact, according to the Big5, I'm an extrovert.
 

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Might make this into a stand-alone post but to summarize, the Neuroticism trait described by Big 5 and also Eysenck's Three Factors, is God-awful. It's alternately defined as "tendency to experience negative emotions", "emotional instability" and "emotional reactivity", none of which is the same thing. Why wouldn't highly reactive people also have stronger positive emotional reactions, and why wouldn't their "instability" (which is really just a pejorative synonym for "mercurial") cycle through positive emotions also?

I'm guessing the Neuroticism trait is a leftover from an earlier time when heightened sensitivity to stimuli was 1. not well understood and 2. assumed automatically to be a negative thing only. I think this is what they were attempting to describe in a well-intentione but flawed way, and like the Diathesis-Stress paradigm, Neuroticism has simply been replaced by the more balanced, neutral Dandelion-Orchid paradigm.
 

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It's always irritated me that people often claim big five is better than meyers briggs when in my experience, it's a lot more "good types" and "bad types" within the actual descriptions themselves. Sure meyers-briggs enthusiasts can be biased about certain types, but the actual descriptions usually feel pretty neutral or balanced in the depiction of upsides and downsides to every type.
When people say Big Five is better, they generally mean as a scientific measure. Big Five predicts other traits someone may have better than Myers-Briggs, and the results of Big Five test are more easily replicated than Myers-Briggs. Could they do some rewording to make it sound nicer? Yes, but from a purely scientific standpoint it doesn't matter.
 

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I think it's only applicable if it's divided in not five, but 30 dimensions. For example, I score average on total openness. I have low openness to experiences while I have high openness to philosophy. It simply can't be narrowed down to 5 traits.
 

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Sorry to disagree with you but Big Five facets are neutral (deals not in good or bad). As you I thank otherwise when I had a simple understanding of the theory.
Each facets has its inconvenience within the environment you re in.

Agreeable people can be popular empathetic sympathetic fits well with group work. But they have a hard difficulty to stand up for themselves and knowing what they want. Disagreeable people had the inverse difficulty. They can be egoistical narcissicistic and unable To create empathetic bond.

Openness To experience people have in general artistic interest imagination but can appear weird, foolish, overthinking, heads in a cloud. Open people has enormous difficulties to make their ideas work. Whereas low Openness To Expérience people can be narrow minded but seen as driven by facts.

Extraversion is completely neutral. Even if subjective Well being is more linked To Extraversion according a study I saw. Extraversion can be good depending on situations. But if you re a librarian it will destroy you from the inside. Same thing if you push an introvert to be a Sales Manager. (Exception exists though)

Conscientiousness is a hard one. In our societies, company and work like conscientious people. Nevertheless, being conscientious is not advantageous in certain jobs (such as Painter for exemple). Plus, conscientious people are more judgmental, can be workaholic, and inversely correlated to intelligence. I would not point out the disadvantage of being low on C.

Neuroticism finally is the worst trait I think but two things:
First Neuroticism can be good in certain job and situations (fireman for example)
Secondly, low people can be in danger or in difficult situations because they dont have unpleasant feelings.

There was a lot to criticize about the Big Five but manicheism is not a part of it. But maybe this is the problem of website that delivers a profile without giving details about the facet. Moreover, each facets has its subfacets, and each subfacets has its minifacets.

But MBTI is interesting in art or in fiction because profiles are archetypal. I use it To create character and their relationship. The cognitive fonction are cool but to me it deals with fiction. It does not describe reality. I made a great story about it!

The criticisms I d make:
-Very few information about facets and (above all) subfacets and how it belongs to each other statistically, about differences by age category, gender, etfc, about the correlation between facets
- some website are fake because there is no database to compare your results
- Does one action can be understood in multiple facets? Or just one action for one facet?
-What are the intensity and duration of these action?
- Knowing the Big Five has been created in Occident, what are the limits of it in term of cultural norm?
-About neurology and big five what are the links?
-Also (and this one is tough) Big Five deals with empirical statistical seen facets but what about the one we dont know (that are completely non conscient)
- and What about the mini subfacets we dont know. And To what degree it is subjective to create and interpret a facet.
 

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I don't like how many websites portray the Big Five as one-sided, but the Big Five model is not inherently one-sided. There are good and bad parts of each trait, and I wish more sources would capture that instead of showing one side as objectively better than the other. My biggest criticism of the Big Five is that it's so surface-level. It doesn't give any meaningful information for personal growth or advice for improvement, and it doesn't attempt to describe your thought processes (except for how many positive/negative emotions you have). This makes the Big Five a boring theory to study and I don't see much use for it except predicting stuff.
 

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When it comes to introversion versus extroversion, totally agreed. Big5 doesn't define those terms the way Carl Jung did. He coined those terms and was, himself, an introvert. Jung used the terms in relation to cognition, whereas Big5 uses those terms as they relate to how a person socializes. In fact, according to the Big5, I'm an extrovert.
The same thing happened to me when I took the Big 5 test. Tim Flynn of SimilarMinds has gone after the Big 5 because its Introversion/Extroversion definitions deviate so strongly from Jung's. The mistake Flynn makes is, he claims the same is true for the MBTI, as if he isn't aware that it's a lot more faithful. He made up his own personality test and labelled the Introversion/Extroversion Aspect "Materialism vs. Asceticism"; Materialism sounds exactly like Enneagram 3, Asceticism sounds exactly like Enneagram 5.

lecomte said:
conscientious is not advantageous in certain jobs (such as Painter for exemple)
Can you explain this?
 

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It doesn't give any meaningful information for personal growth or advice for improvement, and it doesn't attempt to describe your thought processes (except for how many positive/negative emotions you have). This makes the Big Five a boring theory to study and I don't see much use for it except predicting stuff.
I can't say anything about the boring part because it is subjective.
And no, the big five theory does not describe thought process. But I think this is actually the most challenging thing with it. We only know that the statistical trait is made upon what others would describe as the quality of a person. Digging about the how is really intriguing.

Actually I disagree with you because the big five theory could be use for personal growth and that s because it predicts stuff. For example, when you understand the disagreement between the left and the right because of personality it gives you and insight about what people believe or act and why, what is his purpose. I use the big five to identify strenght and weaknesses and having a self authoring program about it, even meditate on it.
I know for example that I am a very creative person and so I know that I would have an advantage in art for example

Can you explain this?
Yes, all the reading is here
https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0956797617724435
 

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I have a personal pet peeve about certain aspects of it. The Big 5 really should be renamed Small 5. Since clinicians reference it as a way to diagnose people, it makes for a weak starting point considering the individual cannot exist without the environment, and the environment influences human behavior, and vice versa. This is where the field of psychology is limited- it's only individual focused without looking at the social paradigm. To compensate for the lack of revision, professionals will use the social environmental aspects of the individual's functioning separate from the Big 5, but it still makes the diagnosis inconclusive. (Psychology and Sociology being at odds with one another. We need a way to fuse both together).

For example, according to DSM III, being gay was considered a "mental disorder." Hypothetically, should a gay person living during the time that DSM III was enforced and the Big 5 utilized as a statistical frame of reference, that person would likely exhibit symptoms neurosis, anger issues, depression and all sorts of problems (addictions, avoidance) when clearly the problem is not within the individual. At what point do we place labels and target the blame on the individual? Diagnosing in general becomes a systematic way of treating the problem, but the individual within the circumstance is unique, which is largely ignored. Big 5 applied here is a a Band-Aid solution to the problem when clearly the issues are more widely systemic than that.

And at what point do we hold the Big 5 tried and true, in terms of consistency? Should the conditions of an environment change, does the individual change? I think temperament tends to remain consistent, but symptoms like anxiety can be totally environmentally induced. Even lab rats will exhibit symptoms of stress given toxic and stress-induced environment. Some may exhibit healthier ways of self-soothing behavior, but there will be breaking points when problems persist. Individuals can only thrive so long in-so-much their environments can override their natural capacities for resiliency.

Big 5 IMHO doesn't take a holistic snapshot of the individual. And, with psychology in general, the notion of even prescribing medications to people as a crapshoot is literally throwing darts in the dark at people's neurological brain functioning. This becomes borderline malpractice when doctors don't know exactly the pharmacological mechanism on patients' well-being when there are so many other interactions of unknowns, but they're prescribing medications anyway like it's the end all and be all solution just like how Big 5 is half-haphazardly implemented. And even conditions previously unknown such as hypoglycemia were often overly and commonly misdiagnosed as depression where patients were prescribed anti-depressants when that clearly was the wrong diagnosis and wrong protocol for treatment (not to mention the long-term effects of overuse and abuse of antibiotics on gut health effecting microbiota producing naturally occurring antibiotics already within the human gut flora). And how is chemically synthetically altering people's bodily functioning not wrong (with medications being harvested from swine and equine) as part of the "standard" regimine? How is it even bio-aligned to the natural human bodily composition? How does it address parts of the Big 5, as a whole if it were to help alleviate some symptoms, knowingly and/or unknowingly creating a whole host of other problems as a whole? And how does Big 5 considered these factors before, during, and after the fact??

I think the credibility of Big 5 is there, but not quite there yet, and depends on the topic at hand. It provides great insight in longitudinal studies, but it should not be accepted as gold-standard in terms of treatment. It needs to go beyond that. There is a lot of socio-cultural and political inherent bias within the test that doesn't address how mental health and wellness are viewed and valued cross-culturally which would make it more scientifically objective in a more definitive way of understanding the individual. That's also not to mention the potentials for malpractice in the field of psychology and medicine itself (i.e., Opoid Crisis) in how we view disorders as truly a medical condition verses religious, political, social, and cultural dogmas overriding actual biological symptomology and physiology. Big-5 looks small in contrast to the pre-existing conditions.

A revised Big 5+ can help when considering the microcosm of the individual within the environment. And even on an individual level when we consider "conventional medicine," it doesn't even address the true mechanisms of nutrition on human health and overall behavior when doctors aren't even properly trained in the subject of nutrition, which can effect Big-5 temperament results and overall well-being. Even a GAPs diet shows drastic improvements on increased empathy for kids with Autistic disorders. There are so many alternative therapies out there, and other ways of synthesizing data the Big 5 doesn't take into account..

Also, I think industrialized society has tremendously stripped away the human capacity to be in one with nature. Inadvertently, when people become desensitized from their natural environments their ways of being will have social and psychological consequences, a disconnect that runs the gamut of our lives top-down. People aren't meant to sit in cubicles and boxes all day long staring into their smartphones, tablets or computer monitors. We're social creatures interacting within our natural social environments that's beginning to look more and more superficial and artificial these days (track communities). How will Big 5 address that issue? And can it? There needs to be a methodology that's all encompassing. The Big 5 does a great job on a more individual (micro perspective), but it needs to consider the ebb and flow when considering how the individual is able/and or unable to function from a macro level perspective, also. The quality of an individual's social-environment plays a crucial role where when quality needs are met, addressing the most basic and fundamental needs in order for individuals to thrive, thereby, producing a healthier environment and overall positive outcome. It becomes its own thriving feedback loop.

Carl Roger's and Abraham Maslow's definition of self-actualized individuals is a great example for a self-actualized society.

Macro:


Micro-


When Basic Needs are Met:
Big 5 implemented with Wellness Wheel (=Better Solution)
-
/end rant.
 

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So ppl who are high in Neuroticism should go kill them selves, high introversion should go kill them selves, low on openness should go kill themselves, low on conscientiousness should go kill themselves, on either extreme of agreeable should go kill themselves right? Because those people have all the weaknesses and there's nothing they can do about it so why keep living if you can never live "right".
 

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It means ya going to have a harder time living a fulfilling life. Worst case scenario is introverted and high in neuroticism.
I wouldn't say that high oppeness and low agreeableness (my extreem traits) is all that pleasant but it has its perks. Good at making decisions in a crisis.
 

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Many things that fit the definition of openness aren't recognized as openness which is one problem I have with it. It also assumes being in the normal range means you're a traditionalist. It's like someone who likes Converse sneakers to fit in and be normal and someone that just likes it. I see creativity just defined in these really weird gate-keepy type of ways as well. Music is a creative activity, Idc what genre you're producing. Even heard Jordan Peterson say that something doesn't qualify as creative unless it hasn't been thought of before. Which is an almost impossible standard. You could still expand on someone elses ideas. Or you could discover ideas that someone else thought of first but you didn't know. So technically you did come up with it yourself as well.
 

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Oh yeah, and there's a difference between open-mindedness in the sense of trying new things and being open-minded in a conversation, I think. One has an effect on your ego, the other doesn't. They shouldn't be treated as the same.
 

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Here's what I think:

NFJs are attracted to modern psychoanalysis on an academic or professional scale
Big Five seems to favor the stable ENFJ (non-neurotic, open, sociable, accommodating, organized)
This is super fucking bad news for everyone else.
Perhaps this also explains the hell of academia.

My strongest traits are openness and neuroticism. Besides my charming openness, I'm only borderline social (ambivert), disorganized, and become less and less accommodating with age, so I frequently get some result that makes me look like a psychotic ENTP.

People say it's neutral but I'm not so sure, for me it looks a hell of a lot less neutral than MBTI.
 

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(Psychology and Sociology being at odds with one another.)
Explain?

When Basic Needs are Met:
Big 5 implemented with Wellness Wheel (=Better Solution)[/B]-
/end rant.
While I might agree in general or in principle that it would be nice to have all these things in balance or well-developed, I can think of people who failed to meet at least one of these traits who made significant contributions to the world.

Social: At least one of the scientists working on the structure of DNA (I forget which one) was single and had little social life, so he spent many hours in the lab working on the problem, to the world's benefit.
Physical: Edgar Allan Poe abused his body with drugs & alcohol, to the world's benefit.
Occupational: Dissatisfaction with the job is one of the primary impetuses (impeti?) towards invention. The vacuum cleaner was one such invention.
Intellectual: Conservatives in general score low on "openness to new ideas" but are the preservers and defenders of civilization.
Financial: Thomas Jefferson was a spendthrift who regularly ran himself deep into debt. But his profligacy turned into our gain when he sold his library to the US, forming the basis for the Library of Congress.
Environmental: The discovery of oil in the ground may have been bad for the environment in some ways, but it saved most of the whale species from extinction.
Emotional: The link between high self-esteem and actual accomplishment is more complicated than it seems. One study showed that the high school students with the highest self-esteem were black boys, but they had the lowest grades and the lowest graduation rates. Meanwhile, the same study showed that the students with the lowest self-esteem were white girls, but they had the highest grades and best graduation rates. Bjorn Borg had high self-esteem and John McEnroe had low self-esteem, but McEnroe beat Borg. Borg may have been happier with his life, but which one was the better tennis player?
Spiritual: I've written about this elsewhere, but the idea of a life that "reflects your values and your beliefs" is a false god that we should not be bowing down to. What if your highest value is mass slaughter? What if one of your beliefs is that women are worthless and should be tortured and enslaved? Should these people be allowed to live lives that reflect their values and beliefs? Hitler led a life that reflected his values and beliefs. Is Hitler someone we should be emulating?

Some of history's greatest individuals were tortured souls who found little happiness in life, while many happy, well-balanced people are born, live their lives, and die, completely unremarked by society. Which is to be preferred? George Washington died childless while John Tyler had 15 children. Were you even aware we had a president named John Tyler? We all want to be happy, but we all want to make some small mark on the world while we're here, too, and those two goals may well be in conflict.
 

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I’m curious about what people disagree with in the Big Five and related theories.

The main issue that comes to mind for me is its one-sidedness. Big Five sources tend to treat one side of each dimension as better than the other, and pay less attention to the weaknesses associated with the supposedly better side, or the strengths associated with the other side. The supposedly bad side of each dimension sometimes gets treated as simply lacking some good quality, even though there’s more to it than that.

What are your criticisms? Share and discuss.
Some of this can be explained by the development of the Big Five. Early Big Five researchers worked within the lexical hypothesis, a thesis stating that personality characteristics important to a group of people will become part of their language, with more important personality characteristics more likely to be encoded into a single word. At least four sets of researchers have worked independently with the same hypothesis and have identified five similar dimensions, suggesting there's something to the thesis. However, the lexical hypothesis has a number of limitations. Language inevitably has a pro-social bias because of its role in facilitating social interaction, meaning there are more words describing socially observable aspects of behaviour than its physical or mental aspects.

A more relevant limitation to your OP is adjectives used to describe personality pertain to emotionality, and because most emotions are "negative", there are more words to describe "negative" emotions than there are for "positive" emotions. I see the Neuroticism factor as a result of a fixation on negative affectivity. Some might suggest turning Neuroticism into an Emotionality scale, but positive and negative affectivity are two distinct factors where people can be higher or lower on either or both of them. I think it's because of the contrast of antonyms at opposite ends that the lower ends of the other four factors sound more "negative", while most of the positive-sounding terms get pushed upwards.

Another limitation of the lexical hypothesis is languages evolve naturally through their usage by laypeople. Few languages are specifically planned to fulfill any kind of need, and the same goes for colloquial vocabulary; because the lexicon used to describe most aspects of personality wasn't devised by psychologists, it's often inadequate at encapsulating key aspects of the psyche. Adjectives used to describe personality are sometimes vague and often have subtle shades of meaning, so context is often the only way to properly understand what's being described. Words have a separate meaning when used in conversation from how they're described. Dictionaries can only describe what words mean in a vacuum, not prescribe meaning to them.

You also have to take culture into consideration. Experimental research in a variety of languages and cultures suggest the Openness factor is particularly unsupported in Asian countries. The likeliest explanation I can give is Asian cultures are more collectivist, and as such, it's difficult to describe the non-conformist thinking characterised in Openness using Asian languages.
 
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