6 Traits That Determine Your Personality: The HEXACO Model

Oprah Winfrey once said, “Don’t get confused between what people say you are and who you know you are.” How well do you know yourself? If you clicked on this video, you probably want to gain more insight into your own psychology and personality. We’ve already covered the Myers-Briggs, but today, we’re talking about a different model of personality: the HEXACO Personality Inventory. The HEXACO measures six major dimensions of personality. It was developed by Kibeom Lee & Michael C. Ashton in the year 2000. Keep watching to learn where you fall on each dimension, and take the questionnaire at the end of the video to find out your score on the HEXACO!  

1. H (Honesty-Humility)

If you have a high score in honesty-humility, you probably don’t manipulate others to get what you want. You aren’t interested in breaking rules or achieving a high social status. You see yourself as equal to your friends rather than above them, and you don’t care much about having expensive things or living a luxurious lifestyle.

On the other hand, people who have a low score in honesty-humility are more likely to break the rules and flatter others to get ahead. They feel self-important and are highly motivated by money and materialistic goals (Lee & Ashton, 2009).

A 2009 study published in the Journal of Research in Personality showed that people who are higher in honesty-humility are more likely to be cooperative and act fairly. When given a hypothetical choice on how to divide money between themselves and someone else, they chose to split it equally rather than keep it for themselves, even if there weren’t any consequences for taking the money (Hilbig & Zettler, 2009).

Like all of the HEXACO dimensions, honesty-humility is on a spectrum. You can score very low, very high, or somewhere in between.

2. E (Emotionality)

Take a moment to think about the relationships in your life. Do you heavily empathize with your friends when they feel down, and lean on them for emotional support? This is a sign that you are high in emotionality. If you score high in this factor, you might also feel anxious, especially in situations that are physically dangerous, and have a hard time dealing with stressful situations. 

But maybe you feel the opposite: you don’t really feel compelled to talk to your friends about your problems, you don’t form strong attachments with them, and you don’t get too worried in dangerous or stressful situations. These traits indicate that you might be low in emotionality (Lee & Ashton, 2009).

Researchers suggest that emotionality may have an evolutionary benefit. Those who score high in this factor tend to seek and give emotional support. Supporting others in our “tribe” and getting this support in return allows us to form mutually beneficial relationships that increase our odds of survival (Ashton & Lee, 2007).

3. X (eXtraversion)

Studies show that out of all the HEXACO factors, extraversion is the most strongly associated with wellbeing. The higher someone scored in extraversion, the more likely they were to report higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction (Aghababaei & Arji, 2014).

Someone who is highly extroverted loves to go to parties and socialize. They are confident, highly energetic, and optimistic. If you’re low in extraversion, you might not be too enthusiastic about going out and meeting new people. You also might struggle to feel confident, especially in large groups, and feel that you are not well-liked by others (Lee & Ashton, 2009).  

4. A (Agreeableness)

A high level of agreeableness means that you are forgiving, non-judgemental, and cooperative. You tend to get along well with others and don’t get mad easily. If you score low in agreeableness, you might find it difficult to forgive people who hurt you. You may get angry quickly when someone doesn’t treat you well, you strongly defend your point of view, and you can easily find flaws in others (Ashton & Lee, 2009).

Interestingly, people who are low in agreeableness are rated by others as being less likeable, but more popular than those who are high in agreeableness. This could be because the less agreeable someone is, the more money they tend to make. So, their peers might admire them because they’re successful, but find it difficult to get along with them (De Vries et al., 2020).

5. C (Conscientiousness)

Highly conscientious people are disciplined and organized. Some people might consider them to be perfectionists. They are neat, manage their time well, work diligently to meet their goals, and are highly accurate in their work. They also tend to think through all of their options before making a decision. Does this sound like you? If so, you might score high in this trait! People who are high in conscientiousness are also more likely to perform well in school. (De Vries et al., 2011).

People who are low in conscientiousness don’t care as much about keeping a well-organized schedule or a clean workspace. They don’t enjoy setting goals that are hard to accomplish and aren’t too bothered if they make a mistake. They can be somewhat impulsive and quick decision-makers.

6. O (Openness to Experience)

If you are high in openness to experience, you might be known as the artsy one in your friend group. The one who loves nature, could spend hours in a gallery, and is very imaginative. You may also be a very curious person who is interested in learning about new topics, especially if they are unconventional.

Can’t relate to any of these traits? Then you might be low in openness to experience, meaning you aren’t very interested in doing creative things, and the idea of going to an art gallery just sounds boring. You might not be particularly excited about learning new things or hearing others’ ideas.

Fun fact: when looking for a romantic partner, you might want to consider whether their level of openness to experience and honesty-humility matches yours! Studies show that when partners are similar in these traits, or at least perceive themselves to be similar, they have higher relationship satisfaction (Liu et al., 2022).

Final thoughts

Wherever you fall in the HEXACO model, remember that there are no “good” or “bad” personality types. Someone who is introverted, for example, is no better or worse than someone who is extraverted. They are simply different. The variety of different traits that we possess is part of what makes being a human so fascinating. Your personality is beautiful the way it is and contributes to the much-needed diversity of ideas and temperaments in the world. We hope this video helped you appreciate the things that make you, you.

Want to take the HEXACO questionnaire for free? Click on the link in the description box below and get your results right away (https://hexaco.org/hexaco-online ). Share your scores in the comments section and see if you are similar to others in our community!

If you want to see more videos that help you understand yourself and others, subscribe and hit the like button. Thanks for watching! See you next time.

References

Aghababaei, N., & Arji, A. (2014). Well-being and the HEXACO model of personality. Personality and Individual Differences56, 139–142. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.08.037

Ashton, M. C., & Lee, K. (2007). Empirical, Theoretical, and Practical Advantages of the HEXACO Model of Personality Structure. Personality and Social Psychology Review11(2), 150–166. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088868306294907

de Vries, A., de Vries, R. E., & Born, M. P. (2011). Broad versus narrow traits: Conscientiousness and honesty–humility as predictors of academic criteria. European Journal of Personality25(5), 336–348. https://doi.org/10.1002/per.795

de Vries, R. E., Pronk, J., Olthof, T., & Goossens, F. A. (2020). Getting along And/Or Getting Ahead: Differential Hexaco Personality Correlates of Likeability and Popularity among Adolescents. European Journal of Personality34(2), 245–261. https://doi.org/10.1002/per.2243

Hilbig, B. E., & Zettler, I. (2009). Pillars of cooperation: Honesty–Humility, social value orientations, and economic behavior. Journal of Research in Personality43(3), 516–519. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2009.01.003

Lee, K., & Ashton, M. C. (2009). The HEXACO Personality Inventory – Revised. The HEXACO Personality Inventory – Revised. https://hexaco.org/scaledescriptions

Liu, J., Ilmarinen, V. J., & Lehane, C. (2022). Seeing you in me: Moderating role of relationship satisfaction and commitment on assumed similarity in honesty-humility and openness to experience. Journal of Research in Personality97, 104209. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2022.104209

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