In this part of the country, we had the Big Eight, which is now the Big Twelve; to our northeast there is the Big Ten, which technically includes eleven. I knew from nothing about anything called the Big Five.

Then I happened upon this, and decided it needed further research on my part. The usual perfunctory check of Wikipedia produced an explanation:

The Big Five factors and their constituent traits can be summarized as follows:
  • Openness — appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, imagination, 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.
When scored for individual feedback, these traits are frequently presented as percentile scores. For example, a Conscientiousness rating in the 80th percentile indicates a relatively strong sense of responsibility and orderliness, whereas an Extraversion rating in the 5th percentile indicates an exceptional need for solitude and quiet.

Rather cutely, these five criteria spell out "OCEAN," which immediately brought to mind a line from National Lampoon's infamous "Deteriorata": "Be assured that a walk through the ocean of most souls would scarcely get your feet wet."

With that in mind, and noting that some people who read my stuff have also taken this test, I decided to give it a shot myself, and these are the results:

Openness: High scorers tend to be original, creative, curious, complex; low scorers tend to be conventional, down to earth, narrow interests, uncreative. You typically don't seek out new experiences. (Your percentile: 53)

Conscientiousness: High scorers tend to be reliable, well-organized, self-disciplined, careful; low scorers tend to be disorganized, undependable, negligent. You are neither organized or disorganized. (Your percentile: 58)

Extraversion: High scorers tend to be sociable, friendly, fun loving, talkative; low scorers tend to be introverted, reserved, inhibited, quiet. You probably enjoy spending quiet time alone. (Your percentile: 15)

Agreeableness: High scorers tend to be good natured, sympathetic, forgiving, courteous; low scorers tend to be critical, rude, harsh, callous. You find it easy to criticize others. (Your percentile: 1)

Neuroticism: High scorers tend to be nervous, high-strung, insecure, worrying; low scorers tend to be calm, relaxed, secure, hardy. You are a generally anxious person and tend to worry about things. (Your percentile: 84)

My immediate reaction: "Duh," except for "agreeableness," to which I reply: "Bite me."

This isn't the first time I've taken one of these things online: back in 2001 I took the Keirsey Temperament Sorter, which produces a four-letter code similar to that used by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Using its criteria, I am an INTJ. This too was no surprise, which indicates either that I am a tad more self-aware than I let on, or maybe I'm too introspective for my own good.

The Vent

  17 November 2008

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