Big Five Personality Traits VS MBTI Comparison

This is a basic look at the Big Five Personality Traits, also known as the Five Factor Model (FFM) and a quick vs comparison to the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI).

Big Five Personality Traits & Test

The big five personality traits, or the five factor model, is a personality test created in part to help companies find suitably productive people for particular job roles. It can be used by companies in the selection process, and also by individuals to help them select an appropriate career path for their temperament.

The big five personality test was developed by several psychologists and researchers. It includes research which dates back to the mid twentieth century from around the globe, spanning different cultures. It’s considered to be the most complete and accurate personality test currently available. Some of the traits do indicate differences between the sexes, with men and women scoring differently on the traits of Agreeableness, Neuroticism and Orderliness.

The Big Five Personality Traits/Dimensions


The openness trait relates to having an open mind, being open to new ideas and opportunities, with a strong interest in abstraction, and seeking new experiences. It also covers imagination, creativity and adventurousness. Creative people have a strong interest in aesthetics and abstraction, abstract ideas and art.

People who have high levels of openness tend to have many interests and passions. Plus, people with high openness tend to require more variety in their job roles and life in general. People who have low openness tend to be more close-minded and conventional, and supports traditions. Plus, they tend to have fewer interests and passions, and are more likely to be content repeating the same learned skill or job over and over.

Sub traits

  • Artistic Desire
  • Intellect
  • Liberalism
  • Emotionality
  • Adventurousness


Highly conscientious people like to plan things and think carefully before acting. They’re very organized, disciplined, responsible and efficient in their work, they’re also hard workers that are often very punctual and pragmatic. People who are low on conscientiousness are often disorganized. They take a more laid back flexible approach to work, keeping to time scales is not so important to them.

Sub traits


Highly extroverted people gain their energy from people and groups. They’re usually more sociable with better social skills. Extroverts are out going, more assertive and they thrive in group and social situations. Extroversion is also the trait most associated with general positive emotions. Introverts require and prefer less group work, more reserved in character, softer spoken and often work better in solitude.

Sub traits

  • Assertiveness
  • Activity level
  • Thrill-Seeking
  • Gregariousness
  • Friendliness


People with high agreeableness are friendly, helpful, unselfish, sympathetic and compassionate. They will often place the needs of others before their own. They cooperate well with others and consider different points of views. These people are generally optimistic in nature. They also hate confrontation and will avoid it at all costs. People who score low on the agreeableness scale may lack compassion, prioritize their own needs first, and more likely to be confrontational and competitive. Women on average tend to be higher on trait agreeableness.

This trait also seems to be connected to a difference in interests. Those high in agreeableness tend to have a stronger interest in people, rather than an interest in things or objects.

Sub traits

  • Sympathy
  • Cooperative
  • Morality
  • Trust
  • Modesty
  • Compassion
  • Politeness

Neuroticism – Emotional Stability

Those high on the neuroticism scale are likely to suffer with mood swings and general negative emotions. They’re generally less in control of their emotions. They’re more likely to get worked up, stressed and anxious more easily. The reverse is true for those scoring low on the neuroticism scale. Neuroticism is another trait where there is a difference between the genders. Women on average are higher in aspects of trait neuroticism.

Sub traits

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Self-Consciousness
  • Vulnerability
  • Immoderate

Take the test. The Big Five Personality Traits.

MBTI Comparison

The big five personality traits test has some similarities with the Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator.

Extroversion and introversion is of course there on the MBTI. However, many of the introverted character traits can now be found on the openness trait on the big five traits dimension scale.

The agreeableness trait has some strong similarities to the thinkers and feelers scale on the MBTI system. Being high in Agreeableness has similarities to (Feeling) being a dominant function on the MBTI. For example, placing the needs of others before their own, and generally being more compassionate.

Being high or low in trait conscientiousness is similar to being a Judger or Perceiver. High or low in openness is relatable to Sensing vs Intuitive.  

Neuroticism: Emotional stability and negative emotions are given a priority here on the big five traits. Based on the work of Psychologist Jerome Kagan, emotional instability could also be linked to an extremely introverted personality. MRI scans and studies in neurosciences have linked a high reactive Amygdala, part of the limbic system in the brain, to being introverted. This link gives an explanation of why many introverts tend to be more reactive and sensitive to stresses and anxiety.

The MBTI does place people into rigid personality groups, which is one of the main criticisms of the model. The Big Five is considered mainstream psychology, and it’s a much less rigid model. Personality psychologists consider the Big Five to be much more accurate and useful for assessing personality.

References – Jerome Kagan

Psychology Today – Big Five Personality Traits

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