The Big 5 OCEAN Traits Explained – What’s Your Personality?

How would you describe yourself? Would you even know where to start? Personality is complicated, fortunately, psychologists have come up with a way to assess five key factors of it. OCEAN is an acronym relating to a person’s openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, respectively. To better understand what OCEAN is and to see where you fall under each category, in this article, we will be exploring the five big personality factors and signs that you score high or low in each area. 

O – Openness 

Are you a creative person? Do you like to adventure out of your comfort zone and have new experiences? These are just a few traits found in people with high levels of openness. Generally, people who are open are just that, they’re open to new ideas and like to explore creatively. If you’re not much of an open person, you may find yourself to be more traditional, liking concrete facts over abstract ideas, and that you like things to stay the way they are.

Signs of High Openness:

  • Prefers and embraces abstract concepts and thinking
  • Enjoys creative endeavors and innovation
  • Enjoys new activities and hobbies

Signs of Low Openness:

  • A concrete thinker that prefers solid facts over more free-form ideas
  • Prefers tradition and keeping things the way they were
  • Rigidity in routine and practices 

C – Conscientiousness

Are you someone who is highly organized and goal oriented? A person who is always on your game and prepared to take on challenges? These are all indications of a high level of conscientiousness. Conscientious people have a good sense of control over themselves and their surroundings and make sure to have a plan for what they may face. People who are less conscientious may be more unstructured, disorganized, and tends to procrastinate. 

Signs of High Conscientiousness

  • Schedule oriented and goal focused
  • Eye for detail and takes care of the small stuff
  • Plans for the future and is ready to take on challenges

Signs of Low Conscientiousness

  • Disorganized and cluttered
  • Careless and impulsive
  • Leaving things off until the last minute

E – Extroversion

Do you find yourself more stimulated by social situations? That you enjoy conversation and having a giant circle of people near to you? These are signs of extroversion. Extroverted people are energized by socialization and are always looking for an opportunity to get out. People low in this trait are more reserved, prefer their own company or smaller parties, and may be more thoughtful in what they say and do.

Signs of High Extroversion:

  • Enjoys being the center of attention
  • People oriented in almost every situation
  • Thinks through speaking

Signs of Low Extroversion:

  • Prefers solitude
  • Drained by socialization
  • Careful with words and thinks before speaking

A – Agreeableness

How are you with other people? Do you find it easy to connect with others and share with them? Do you enjoy contributing to others and care for their wellbeing? These are attributes found in people with high levels of agreeableness. While they don’t necessarily have to be the most extraverted, they do find the value in others and want to connect with them. People low in agreeableness tend to be more competitive, blunt, and opinionated. 

Signs of High Agreeableness:

  • Enjoys creating connections with others
  • Empathetic and compassionate to other people’s needs
  • Contributes to community

Signs of Low Agreeableness:

  • Callous towards others
  • Bitter and misanthropic
  • Manipulates to meet own needs

N – Neuroticism 

How would you describe yourself emotionally? Are you someone who tends to worry a lot and has difficulties dealing with stress? Are you emotional? These are indicators of a high level of neuroticism. People high in this trait may be more sensitive and need more support in hard times. Those low in this trait tend to be more relaxed, resilient, and collected.

Signs of High Neuroticism 

  • Moody and emotional 
  • Low tolerance to stress
  • Always on high alert

Signs of Low Neuroticism

  • Calm and collected, even under stress
  • Easygoing
  • Mentally and emotionally stable

Personality is complex, however an acronym like OCEAN is a great way to start. How would you assess yourself? What areas do you rank high or low in? Each person is unique and answers can vary. Let us know what your thoughts are on this topic in the comments section.


  • Cherry, K. (2021, February 20). What Are the Big 5 Personality Traits? Verywell Mind.
  • Lim, A. G. Y. (2020). Big Five Personality Traits | Simply Psychology. SimplyPsychology.
  • Science of People. (2021, May 6). Big 5 (OCEAN) Personality Test: Discover Your Personality Traits.

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