While people have almost always had a concept of personality, it has been recent that scientists have started to gain an understanding of it. Many scientists have come up with theories on why humans behave the way they do, such as Freud, Erikson, etc. However, many flaws have been found in past theories. Now, researchers have a better understanding of personality, but there is still more to learn and discover. One of the many ideas psychologists have improved upon is the way we test for certain personality traits. Many tests and theories were made in the last century, and since then, scientists have been working to improve those methods. Presently, researchers have come up with the NEO PI-R. This test scores your personality based off of traits within the Big 5 personality traits: neuroticism, extroversion, agreeableness, openness, and conscientiousness. Within these larger overall traits, there are smaller traits that account for the characteristics. I personally took the test to see how I scored in each category, and I also had my best friend fill one out for me for comparison.
While neuroticism has a negative connotation, it is not a terrible thing to be rated high in this. The idea of being neurotic just means a person might experience emotions a little more intensely and be more prone to acting on impulse. Everyone is a little neurotic, but a lower score just means that it is less intense than those that score higher. I scored high in this category based on my scores in the smaller characteristics: anxiety, angry hostility, depression, self-consciousness, impulsiveness, and vulnerability. In each of these six sub facets, I scored high or very high except in angry hostility, which I scored as average. I feel that these are accurate to how I behave and feel. I have never been an angry person, but I care almost too much about what people think of me. This causes stress and worry which lead to my very high score in anxiety. While my anxiety is high, it does not mean I necessarily need medicine or have an anxiety disorder. Average people try not to let stress get to them, and they might be calmer in stressful situations. I, on the other hand, tend to let things bother me, and I worry a lot. Everyone reacts to this anxiety differently as well, and the higher it is, the more likely it is someone has an anxiety disorder. This anxiety also leads to my high scores in depression, vulnerability, and self-consciousness. There are times where I feel a heavy sense of loneliness, and it can affect how I interact with my friends. I do not think I have depression, but I do have depressive tendencies. These are more common when I am experiencing more hormones than usual during my cycle. Luckily, it is not a very serious situation, for I can normally get myself out of it quickly if I force myself to snap out of it. This won’t work for everyone, especially those with an actual depressive disorder, but I have found that forcing myself to do things and even pretending to be happy helps me snap out of it sooner. There is this idea that just smiling can make yourself feel a little bit happier. I am also an extremely self-conscious person, which I am sure only adds to my anxiety and depression. However, I have been working on reducing this trait, and I do feel that it shows in my scores. I scored an eighteen in this category, which is almost average. If I had taken this test a couple of years ago, I am sure it would have been very high. Every time I am in a situation that would embarrass me, I tell myself no one actually cares about it. However, in previous years, I would take even small comments straight to heart, and they would bother me for years. As I’ve matured, though, I have realized that it isn’t that serious, and I am always trying to be positive towards myself. Therefore, recently I have not been nearly as self-conscious, and I even have more confidence when going out in public places. I am slowly becoming less concerned about what others think, and I am becoming less affected by the negativity of my own mind. The last category, impulsivity, I scored very high in. Impulse has always been my biggest problem, and I find it hard to control myself in many circumstances. Recently, I decided dying my hair red would be fun. Within about three hours, my hair was a different color. I got the impulse to do something I knew I probably should not do, and I did it immediately with no hesitation. While I do not regret my decision to dye my hair, there have been times where I realized I made a mistake. It could be the urge to go party despite having to work at seven in the morning the next day. Sometimes it is the impulse to eat fast food even though I am dieting. I have always known myself to be an impulsive person, which might be affected by my extraversion.
Despite how I scored in extraversion, I used to be an extremely shy kid. I hated being in social settings, kept to myself, and I was always quiet. I was well-liked and had plenty of friends, but most of the time, I just wanted to be alone. However, after maturing and working on my self-consciousness, my score is high. Most of my scores were average: warmth, gregariousness, and assertiveness. I have always been known to be a nice, or warm, person, and it’s one of the reasons why people tend to like me. I figured I would score a little higher in that, but I know I am not always so warm. I also love to have friends and family around me, and I love being in social scenes, which is my gregariousness or socialness. However, I also hate crowds, and I have never been too comfortable with strangers. Therefore, I knew I wouldn’t score high in that category. As far as my assertiveness, I will speak my mind and can get my way, but for the most part, I stay in the background and mind my business. Therefore, these scores are fairly spot on to my personality. I scored very high in excitement-seeking which I find to be very true. I have always been one to love adrenaline rushes, and every day I test my anxieties. As mentioned before, I have definitely reduced my self-consciousness by challenging myself, and I also increased my extraversion. I am always testing my boundaries, and I am always looking for new thrills. I also scored high in positive emotions. I mentioned before that I have always known myself to have minor depressive tendencies, and my family has always known this as well. However, I believe the reason I am able to cope and get out of it so quickly when it does hit is my positivity. My happiness and optimism will hopefully always outweigh the negative and sad emotions. I am extremely optimistic, and it is one of my many defining characteristics according to my friends. The one category I did not agree with my score in was activity. I scored low in this, and I am not sure why that is. I expected to be average in this category, for I am always busy doing something. I work and go to school, and when I’m not doing either of those, I always have plans to be with friends or family. I live with my mother, and the other day she told me she missed me because I am never home anymore. All of the plans I have were made by me as well. I love being on the move and going out all the time. I feel like I never slow down, which can be exhausting, but I sincerely enjoy it. I assumed my activity score would be reflective of my excitement seeking score, for they go hand in hand. However, it wasn’t what I expected.
However, I do think my extraversion score is reflective of my openness score, which was very high. This was also the highest score I got for any category. I had a high score in the first five categories: fantasy, aesthetics, feelings, actions, and ideas. I agree with every score I was given, for these are all things people have said about me before. I have always been known as a dreamer, and this tends to distract me. Part of the reason I procrastinate so much is that my mind is always wandering, and I find it difficult to focus, which is my ability to fantasize. I am also a fan of books, art, movies, and just love aesthetically pleasing things in general. Aesthetics is more or less my ability to appreciate and understand art forms and creativity. The feelings category is how people address their emotions, which I try to prioritize. I’ve always been pretty open about it and will let people know how I am feeling. Also, my motto has always been, “I will try anything once.” Growing up, my parents always made me try things. I usually wasn’t too happy with it, but afterwards, I gained an appreciation for new things. Sometimes it helped me realize I didn’t like it, and other times I found something new to add to my schema for things I enjoy. Trying new things also goes hand in hand with my high score in excitement seeking. I was also raised in a household that loved questions. My parents told me to question everything I wasn’t completely sure about. This including discipline and how they raised me. They didn’t always know the answer I wanted, but they always gave me their best shot. My dad thought curiosity and questions would broaden my mind, and I would be more confident in my decisions. So far, his theory has worked. It helped me grow to be independent and have an appreciation for the world I live in. This also helped shape my values, which I scored very high in. Because I always questioned things, my idea of politics is broader, and I know more information about why I like the side I do. Because I understand both sides, I am sure I chose the right one, and it’s not even the same political party as my parents. They allowed me to choose for myself and make my own decisions. I treat religion the same way. My parents have always been Christian. However, at a young age I began to question God and the bible and researched other religions. My dad helped me with this process, for he thought I could never be 100 percent sure of my faith unless I understood everyone else’s too. I now classify myself as Agnostic, for while I definitely believed something was out there, no religion really made complete sense to me. As an adult, I try my best to do the right thing, and I attempt to treat everyone fairly and how I like to be treated. For now, until I die and find the truth, that is all I can do.
While I scored high in the first three of five traits, I only scored average in agreeableness. I was average in trust, altruism, and modesty, and it does represent me. Although, I expected a little higher for altruism, for I have always thought of myself as a helpful person. I never really ask for or expect anything in return either. This is especially true since I scored high in compliance and tender-mindedness. I am very cooperative and a go with the flow type of person. I am also extremely sympathetic towards others, and I always try to put myself in their shoes. My parents definitely had a huge part in me being tender-minded and altruistic, even though my score doesn’t show it. My dad has always been intimidating, but he is extremely soft-hearted. He is a special education instructor in high school, and he also used to be the administrator of Crossroads, which was our town’s alternative school. The reason he was given these jobs is he has always been amazing at communicating with kids at that level. He makes them feel accepted, and he gives them a place to turn when they are having trouble. These kids normally had behavioral and learning problems, such as ADHD, autism, etc. Therefore, my father was someone to help them cope. He was also one that took these kids into our home when their own home life got bad. Growing up we had kids in and out of our house, and they would stay months at a time. They always worked their problems out in the end, but my dad was always there to provide food, bed, and shelter for them. My dad also used to be a vet, so his love for animals goes beyond anything I have ever seen. Every animal we ever got was a rescue or a stray. There were days where I would go to school, and when I came home, we would suddenly have a new dog. He would see them on the side of the road, and he wouldn’t be able to resist bringing them home and keeping them safe. My dad never had the ability to say no to anyone or any animal that was suffering, and based on that information, he would have scored very high is altruism and tender-mindedness. Therefore, I believe it is his idea of ethics, morals, and sympathy that influence my scores in these traits. I also scored very low in straightforwardness. I don’t like telling people what they don’t want to hear, and I am always worried about upsetting people. I am definitely lacking in this trait, for depending on the situation, I am prone to lying about things. If it means your feelings are protected, I will do everything I can to cover it up. A lot of times I try to be honest, but I cover it up with compliments and happier things. At first, I didn’t believe this trait was accurately scored, but as I read more into it, I realized it actually does portray my personality and behaviors.
In the last category, conscientiousness, I scored low, which I knew was going to happen. I scored average on competence, dutifulness, achievement striving, and deliberation. This seems to be correct, for while I get things done, I never go above and beyond on anything. I am a pretty average person in my ability to complete tasks. The other two traits, order and self-discipline, I scored low in. I do have a little bit of order in my life, but I struggle to maintain it. Every now and then I get urges to clean, and I will rearrange my whole room and redo everything to be organized. However, it is all gone the next day, and it could be months before I get into it again. Could I change this habit and work to maintain it? I could, but unfortunately, I also scored low in self-discipline, so I don’t have the will to do it. I am always procrastinating, and it has always been one of my biggest problems. I have tried to fix it, but I always give up. It’s just difficult for me to focus on certain tasks, especially if I am not interested in it. I am very similar to my mom in this, for she always struggled with these problems as well. She procrastinated getting her master’s degree for almost six years. She would get motivated to complete it, and then, she would back off and give up. My dad, on the other hand, would score extremely high in order and in self-discipline. He was always cleaning and mad at us for not cleaning. Beds had to be made every morning. Laundry needed to be folded and put away the second it was done, and now my laundry will sit for a week after being cleaned before I will put it up. Every Saturday was spring cleaning for him, and we had room inspections on those days. There were times when he’d make me do things over and over again because I didn’t do it perfect the first time. I was always the exact opposite of him in conscientiousness, and it did always bother him.
Overall, the way I scored myself was very true to the person I know myself to be. However, my best friend scored me completely different. I scored myself high in neuroticism, but she scored me low. It was a pretty big jump from my 115 to her 80. I do not believe her score is precise, but as I thought about it, I wouldn’t expect her to score me accurately. She knows almost everything about me, but I have always been a better listener than I am a talker. Therefore, a lot of my anxiety and depression I only talk to certain people about, such as my mom. I try not to express it as much around friends, for I don’t want to be a downer. Although, we did both agree I was high is impulsiveness because that is something she witnesses from me every day. She also scored me low in extraversion, which I know not to be true, and even she was surprised to see the score she gave me. This was due to some confusion though. The biggest differences were in activity and excitement seeking. When I explained what these two things meant, she had no idea why I scored so low for her, and we discovered that she just got confused about what the questions were asking. The one thing that confused me though was her scoring for openness. She gave me a low, but I gave myself a very high. I have always thought of myself as an extremely open person, and she has too. I believe there were mistakes made in answering on this one as well. While she made tons of mistakes, my friend did score me almost exactly the same in agreeableness. We both got an average score, which I can understand why. In the last trait, conscientiousness, she scored me very low compared to my low. Honestly, her score may even be more accurate than mine, for I am really bad with conscientiousness.
After seeing these scores for my personality, I am almost impressed. I feel like I am a likable person, and I hope these traits will help me with success later in life. There are some things, such as conscientiousness, I could work on, but overall, my scores reflect my truest self. I am an emotional and impulsive person, which can be harmful or helpful. I am also a positive person that enjoys friends and thrill. I am also open-minded, and I love learning and trying new things. I may not be the most agreeable person, but I could have definitely scored worse. However, I need to work on my organization and task completion. This test seems to be a viable option for measuring personality based on my results, and therefore, this leads to many more people figuring out their personalities. This test seems to be very accurate, and it scores personality well. This personality test is also extremely useful in the psychology field, for it can help researchers with personality related experiments. It is useful to therapists that are trying to get to the root of a client’s problems. It is useful information for individuals as well, for it helps people have a better understanding of themselves. Therefore, it is important to have a test that is reliable like this, and it shows the progress there has been in the psychology field.