Cat’s Big Five results

I. Agreeableness: Moderately Low (32/100)

Agreeableness has two aspects: compassion and politeness, which will be explained separately. Agreeableness is a very complex trait, with marked positive and negative elements all along its distribution. Because of this, higher scores and lower scores need to be explained at the same time.

People high in agreeableness are nice: compliant, nurturing, kind, naively trusting and conciliatory. However, because of their tendency to avoid conflict, they often dissemble and hide what they think. People low in agreeableness are not so nice: stubborn, dominant, harsh, skeptical, competitive and, in the extreme, even predatory. However, they tend to be straightforward, even blunt, so you know where they stand.

People with moderately low levels of agreeableness are seen by others as somewhat competitive, colder and less empathic. They are less likely to look for the best in others, and are not particularly tolerant (an attitude that is much valued by agreeable people). They are less concerned about the emotional state of others, willing to engage in conflict, and will sacrifice peace and harmony to make a point or (if conscientious) to get things done. People find them straightforward, even blunt. They tend towards dominance, rather than submission (particularly if also below average in neuroticism).

People with moderately low levels of agreeableness are not particularly forgiving, accepting, flexible, gentle or patient. They don’t easily feel pity for those who are excluded, punished or defeated. They are also not easily taken advantage of by disagreeable, manipulative or otherwise troublesome people, or by those with criminal or predatory intent. Their skepticism plays a protective role, although it may interfere with their ability to cooperate with or trust others whose intentions are genuinely good. They can appreciate cooperation, but like competition, with its clear losers and winners. They will not easily lose arguments (or avoid discussions) with less agreeable people. They tend to be good at bargaining for themselves, or at negotiating for more recognition or power. They are likely to have higher salaries and to earn more money, in consequence. They are therefore less likely to suffer from resentment or to harbour invisible anger, although this tendency may be increased, if they are very high in neuroticism. In addition, because of their tendency to engage in conflict, when necessary, moderately disagreeable people tend not to sacrifice medium- to long-term stability and function for the sake of short-term peace. This means that problems that should be solved in the present are often solved, and do not accumulate counterproductively across time.

Women are higher in agreeableness than men. The mean percentile for women in a general population (women and men) is 61.5. For men it is 38.5. The fact that men are lower in agreeableness than women helps explain their much higher rates of criminal incarceration (90% male). The primary difference between criminals and non-criminals is disagreeableness. If the typical criminal is more disagreeable than 98% of people in the general population, then almost all those criminals will be male. This difference in agreeableness between men and women is largest in countries such as Norway and Sweden, where the most has been done to ensure equality of outcome between the sexes. This provides strong evidence that biological factors rather than environment and learning account for the dissimilarity.

Agreeableness, per se, is not strongly associated with political liberalism or conservatism, but this is because the aspects of agreeableness predict such political belief in opposite ways, and cancel each other out. Liberals are higher in aspect compassion, and conservatives in aspect politeness. However, alliance with the category of belief that has come to be known as politically correct is strongly predicted by agreeableness (particularly compassion). What this appears to mean is that agreeable people strongly identify with those they deem oppressed, seeing them, essentially, as exploited infants, and demonize those they see as oppressors, seeing them as cruel, heartless predators.

There are large differences between men and women in terms of spontaneous interest, and these also appear associated with agreeableness. Agreeable people, caring as they do for others, are more likely to enter professions associated with people, such as teaching and nursing, which are dominated by women. This is true even in the Scandinavian countries, where attempts to produce gender-equal societies has reached a maximum. Disagreeable people, by contrast, appear to prefer systematizing over empathizing, and are more interested in things – machines and technology. In consequence, professions such as engineering and trades associated with construction and machinery tend to be dominated by relatively disagreeable men.

Compassion: Typical or Average (48/100)

People who are typically compassionate people are reasonably interested in the problems of other people, and other living things. They are somewhat concerned about helping other people avoid negative emotion, but are willing to stand their ground, even when others get upset. They make time and do kind things for other, but balance that with fulfilling their own needs and interests. They have a soft side, but are not pushovers. Other people consider them reasonably sympathetic and nice, and will sometimes turn to them for a listening ear. They can be empathetic and caring. However, they are not primarily other-oriented, so they can negotiate effectively on their own behalf. This helps ensure that they get what they deserve, and shields them from the development of resentment.

Those who are liberal, politically, score somewhat higher in compassion than conservatives.

Women are also higher in compassion than men. The mean percentile for women in a general population (women and men) is 61. For men it is 39.

Politeness: Low (21/100)

People who are low in politeness are not deferential to authority – nor are they obedient. They can be respectful, but only to people who clearly deserve and demand it, and they are markedly willing to push back when challenged. They are not particularly uncomfortable confronting other people. People low in politeness are not motivated to avoid conflict, or to steer clear of conflict or fights. They may find themselves quite frequently in trouble with authority. Their skepticism may make it difficult for them to find a place in the middle or lower in hierarchies of power and dominance. They tend strongly to be dominant, rather than submissive (particularly if they are also low in neuroticism).

Those who are liberal, politically, score somewhat lower in politeness than conservatives (the opposite pattern is seen with compassion).

Women are higher in politeness than men. The mean percentile for women in a general population (women and men) is 59. For men it is 41.

II. Conscientiousness: Very High (95/100)

People very high in conscientious people are strikingly dutiful. They tend to be sloggers. They work uncommonly hard and hate wasting time. They are very unlikely to procrastinate (particularly if they are also below average in neuroticism). If a very conscientious person promises to do something, he or she will do it, regardless of circumstances, and without finding excuses. They are uncommonly decisive, neat, organized, future-oriented, and reliable. They are not easily distracted.

Very conscientious people are highly likely to obtain good grades in academic settings (particularly if they are also intelligent), and make extremely very good administrators and managers. They must have have everything in its proper place – which has advantages and disadvantages – and are likely to be over-concerned with detail. They do things by the book. Very conscientious people are also strikingly guilt-prone (although they will organize their lives so they have little to feel guilty about). Very conscientious people are also hyper- susceptible to shame, self-disgust and self-contempt.

Individuals who are very highly conscientious react badly to failure (particularly if they are also high in neuroticism). They are typically judgemental and are disgusted by their own moral transgressions, as well as those of others. They suffer very high levels of shame and guilt when unemployed or otherwise unoccupied, even when that occurs through no fault of their own. Very conscientious people are primarily committed to personal responsibility. They have as an article of faith that those who work hard should and will be rewarded, and that those who don’t work hard and strive deserve their failure. They can be over-concerned with hygiene, moral purity and achievement. They can be micro-managing and controlling.

Very conscientious people are more likely to be political conservatives, rather than liberal (particularly if they are also low in openness).

Women are very slightly more conscientious than men. The mean percentile for women in a general population (women and men) is 51.5. For men it is 49.5.

Industriousness: High (88/100)

Highly industrious people are likely to be successful in school and in administrative and managerial positions (particularly if they are intelligent). They value work highly and typically want to be doing something useful. They are dutiful, and tend not to put things off. They do not often mess things up. They aways finish what they start, and they do it on schedule. They are frequently figuring out how to accomplish more in less time, with fewer resources. They have focus.

Highly industrious people are also likely to judge shirkers or people who are incompetent quite harshly, and to want them out of the way. They are likely to believe that people fail because they don’t apply themselves or work hard enough. They feel guilty, rapidly, if they do not do their duty. However, because they typically stay on or ahead of schedule and accept their responsibilities, they rarely experience actual guilt.

Those who are liberal and those who are conservatives appear equally industrious.

Men are slightly more industrious than women. The mean percentile for men in a general population (women and men) is 51.5. For women it is 49.5.

Orderliness: Very High (95/100)

Very orderly people are highly disgust-sensitive, extraordinarily judgemental, and have a strong tendency towards right-wing authoritarianism (particularly if low in openness).

Very orderly people are uncommonly disturbed and disgusted by mess and chaos. They keep everything neat, tidy and organized. They tend strongly to think in black and white terms: things are good or bad, acceptable or unacceptable, with no grey areas. They make and stick to schedules. They like everything exactly where it should be – and very much want to make sure that everything stays where it belongs. They are detail-oriented to a degree that can border on the obsessive. They are strikingly rule-abiding, and insist that rules are scrupulously observed. They require and crave routine and predictability. They can be very good at ensuring that complex sensitive processes are managed properly and carefully.

Very high orderliness can also constrain creativity (even among those high in openness) as creative endeavors often require mess, disruption and intervening periods of chaos.

Those who are very orderly are remarkably more likely to be political conservatives. Orderliness is the second-best predictor of conservatism, after low openness to experience.

Women are more orderly than men. The mean percentile for women in a general population (women and men) is 54.5. For men it is 45.5. This may account for some of the trouble in relation to housework between women and men. Since women are, on average, more orderly, household disorder will trigger disgust and discomfort in them faster. This may happen with sufficient frequency so they end up doing a disproportionate share of such work (even though if they waited a bit longer their less orderly partners, often men, might end up equally troubled and motivated to fix the problem). Orderly people are more likely to have items such as event calendars, drawer organizers, laundry baskets, irons and ironing boards in their immediate environments.

III. Extraversion: Typical or Average (57/100)

People with average levels of extraversion are not overly enthusiastic, talkative, assertive in social situations, or gregarious. They enjoy social contact, but are also happy spending time alone. They will plan parties occasionally, and make people laugh, but are often willing to let others take the lead in organizing social situations and entertaining. They have a balanced view of the past and the future, neither over-emphasizing nor dismissing the positive.

People with average levels of extraversion strike a good balance between privacy and self- disclosure. They can keep quiet, when necessary, and are unlikely to blurt out information that might be better kept to themselves. They will express their viewpoint in meetings, but are typically not the first to do so. They are not generally known as talkative. At times, they can be captivating and convincing, but are not so on a habitual basis. They are not often the first to act in ambiguous situations.
People with average levels of extraversion can fit well into a range of jobs. They are sociable enough to engage in jobs involving sales, persuasion, work in groups and public speaking (particularly if they are low in neuroticism), although they may sometimes find the continual public exposure fatiguing. However, they can also adapt themselves to occupations that require a lot of isolated work (such as computer programming or accounting), as long as they also take time for socializing.

People with average levels of extraversion are not particularly impulsive, even when the opportunity to have fun in social situations beckons. They strike a balance between seeking fulfilment in the present and paying attention to the possibilities of the future. They don’t find it difficult to be alone to study or work. They are less distracted than the very extraverted by opportunities to chat, joke and socialize, unless they are very low in conscientiousness. When individuals are extraverted and conscientious, they are more productive than if they are introverted and conscientious. However, when they are introverted and unconscientious, they are more productive than they are when they are extroverted and unconscientious.
People of average extraversion do not tend to dominate social situations, unless they are very low in agreeableness. Less agreeable extraverts tend to be self-centered – something that can be made worse if they are also low in conscientiousness.

Those who are politically liberal are slightly less extraverted than conservatives.

Women are slightly more extraverted than men. The mean percentile for women in a general population (women and men) is 52. For men it is 48.

Enthusiasm: Typical or Average (53/100)

Individuals who are average in enthusiasm have their excitable moments, are sometimes happy, and are reasonably easy to get to know, but they are essentially moderate in their positive emotion. They will talk about things or people they find particularly interesting, but tend to keep more quiet, otherwise. They laugh and joke, but not excessively. They don’t crave the spotlight. They enjoy parties, in moderation, and generally like to be around people, but they can spend time alone. They don’t warm up immediately to others, particularly in groups, and they can keep their own affairs private. They like excitement, but only in moderate doses. They are moderately positive about the past and future.

Enthusiasm is not strongly associated with political preference, either conservative or liberal.

Women are higher in enthusiasm than men. The mean percentile for women in a general population (women and men) is 55. For men it is 45.

Assertiveness: Typical or Average (58/100)

People of average assertiveness will sometimes take charge, spontaneously, but often let others step in first. They can put forward their own opinions but do not feel compelled to do so. They are not particularly dominant and do not generally strive to control social situations. At times, they can act in an influential or captivating manner, but it is not habitual. They can act, in ambiguous situations, but will often let others lead the way. They tend not to be particularly impulsive, and tend not to act without thinking.
Liberals tend to be slightly less assertive than conservatives.

Women are slightly less assertive than men. The mean percentile for women in a general population (women and men) is 48. For men it is 52.

IV. Neuroticism: Very Low (10/100)

People with very low levels of neuroticism almost never focus on the negative elements, anxieties and uncertainties of the past, present and future. It is very rare for them to face periods of time where they are unhappy, anxious and irritable, unless facing a serious, sustained, complex problem. Even under the latter conditions, they cope very well, don’t worry, and recover quickly. They’re very good at keeping their head in a storm, and they almost never make mountains out of molehills.

They have very much higher levels of self-esteem, particularly when they are also average or above average in extraversion. They are at much lower risk for developing anxiety disorders and depression (again, particularly if average or above in extraversion).

When good things happen to them, people with very low levels of neuroticism can appreciate it, without questioning whether or not they deserved it. They are unusually satisfied with their relationships and careers. Overall, they are very tolerant of stress, and can much more easily accept failure and setbacks as part of life. Very low levels of neuroticism are associated with markedly decreased concern about mental and physical health, far fewer physician and emergency room visits, and very infrequent absenteeism at work and at school (particularly if accompanied by average or above levels of conscientiousness).

People with very low levels of neuroticism can handle risk strikingly better. If they are average or high in extraversion or openness, they may even enjoy it. They are simply far less affected by uncertainty. They can much more easily handle recreational, career, financial and social situations where the possibility of loss is higher. They can consider and implement career changes and other transformations that could enhance their lives very easily.

Neuroticism is not a powerful predictor of political belief, either conservative or liberal.
Females tend to be higher in neuroticism than males. The typical woman is higher in neuroticism than 60% of the general population of men and women combined. In part, this may be why women report more unhappiness in their relationships, at work, in school and with their health than men, on average, and why women initiate 70% of all divorces. This difference in neuroticism between men and women appears to emerge at puberty. It is largest in countries such as Norway and Sweden, where the most has been done to ensure equality of outcome between the sexes. This provides strong evidence that biological factors rather than environment and learning account for the dissimilarity.

Withdrawal: Low (19/100)

Individuals low in withdrawal rarely suffer from or are impeded by anticipatory anxiety. They can handle new, uncertain, unexpected, threatening or complex situations well. They are substantially less likely to avoid or withdraw in the face of the unknown and unexpected.

People with low levels of withdrawal tend not to feel sad, lonesome, disappointed and grief- stricken – and, if they do, not deeply nor for long. They experience much lower than normal levels of doubt and worry, embarrassment, self-consciousness and discouragement in the face of threat and punishment. They are quite resistant to and rarely worried about social rejection, and rarely feel hurt or threatened. Even when actually hurt, frightened, or anxious, they recover easily and quickly. People with low levels of withdrawal are not worriers. Technically, withdrawal has been associated with activity in the brain systems that regulate passive avoidance.

Those who are liberal, politically, are slightly higher in withdrawal than conservatives.

Women are higher in withdrawal than men. The mean percentile for women in a general population (women and men) is 60. For men it is 40.

Volatility: Very Low (7/100)

Individuals very low in volatility are highly stable and predictable in their moods. They are almost never irritable, and feel very little disappointment, frustration, pain and loneliness. People find them easy to be with and can very frequently relax around them. They almost never express their frustration, disappointment and irritability and appear very reasonable when they do so. Even on those infrequent occasions where they become stirred up, upset, angry or irritated, they calm down very quickly. They are not at all argumentative and very rarely lose their composure.

Even if highly provoked in a dispute, a person of very low volatility will rarely react in kind (particularly if also high in agreeableness). Such people remain calm and unperturbed even when highly stressed. Volatile people tend to get upset if something bad does happen, while people high in withdrawal (the other aspect of neuroticism) tend to be concerned that something bad might happen. Technically, volatility has been associated with activity in the brain systems that regulate fight, flight or freeze.

Volatility is not strongly related to political preference, either liberal or conservative.

Women are higher in volatility than men. The mean percentile for women in a general population (women and men) is 57.5. For men it is 42.5.

V. Openness to Experience: High (80/100)

People with high levels of openness to experience are much more likely than average to be characterized by others as smart, creative, exploratory, intelligent and visionary. They are highly interested in learning, and continually acquire new abilities and skills. They are very curious and exploratory. They find themselves unusually interested in abstract thinking, philosophy, and the meaning of belief systems and ideologies. They will seek out cultural events such as movies, concerts, dance recitals, plays, poetry readings, gallery openings and art shows. They are very likely to enjoy writing (or even to be driven to write). They enjoy complex, abstract ideas and love to confront and solve complex, abstract and multi- dimensional problems.

They are very likely to be prolific readers, with a strikingly wide range of interests. They have an atypically broad and deep vocabulary. They can think and learn very quickly. They are very proficient at formulating new ideas, and tend strongly to be articulate (particularly if average or above in extraversion). People high in openness can see old things in new ways. They can formulate any single problem in a highly diverse range of ways, and can generate a very large number of problem-solving solutions. They seek change, often to make things better, but also just for the sake of change.

People who are high in openness to experience are less well adapted to and tend to do less well in situations or occupations that are routinized and predictable. They do not fit in very well at the bottom of hierarchies. They are typically ill-suited to entry-level, repetitive, rote positions, because they are always thinking up new ways to do things, and such ideas are seldom welcome from someone at the bottom. They are radical thinkers. They shake things up, particularly if they are also disagreeable and assertive. They are somewhat more likely to be revolutionary rebels (particularly if average or below in conscientiousness).

Individuals high in openness to experience tend strongly to be entrepreneurial in spirit, as well as smart and creative. They have much higher than average interest in creating new ventures, sometimes for profit, sometimes for curiosity, and sometimes for personal transformation. High levels of openness to experience appear necessary to the formation and leadership of business and other forms of complex organization, although conscientiousness appears required for the attention to detail and process management that such organizations also always need.

Because people who are high in openness to experience tend to be interested in almost everything, this can make it harder for them to settle on a single path in life, to specialize to a necessary degree, and to create an integrated identity. This problem can be exaggerated if they are high in neuroticism and/or low in conscientiousness. People characterized by the combination of high openness to experience and high neuroticism often undermine their own convictions and beliefs by questioning and making themselves lost and anxious. Open, unconscientious people tend to be “under-achievers” (particularly if also above average in neuroticism). Such people appear to have the capability to succeed, can learn quickly, and are creative, but they can have some trouble implementing their ideas.

Openness to experience is the dimension that best predicts political allegiance (with conscientiousness, particularly the aspect of orderliness, coming in at second place). Those who are liberal, politically, are very much more likely to be high in openness to experience than conservatives.

Women and men differ very little in openness to experience at the trait level, although there are differences in the aspect levels.

Intellect: Typical or Average (54/100)

People typical in intellect can be interested in ideas and abstract concepts. They don’t mind and sometimes enjoy being confronted with novel information, however, even if it is complex. They are as curious as the average person, and occasionally like to tackle and solve intellectual problems. They are sometimes compelled to engage in philosophical discussions, and to enjoy complex books (most frequently non-fiction), but more straightforward issues and topics are generally sufficient. They are acceptably articulate and can formulate and communicate their ideas reasonably well (particularly if average or higher in extraversion). They have a vocabulary of normal breadth and depth, and can enjoy learning new things. Occasionally they will seek out or generate novel, creative concepts and find and adapt well to new experiences and situations.

People typical or average in intellect sometimes find complex, rapidly changing occupations less to their liking and are reasonably likely to do well at them (particularly if they are also high in conscientiousness and low in neuroticism). They are also well-suited to stable, straightforward and more traditional occupations, where the rules for success are well- defined and tend not to change, although they may experience sporadic periods of boredom in such positions.

Liberals are higher in intellect than conservatives (although the biggest difference between the two is openness to experience at the trait level). Women are lower than men in intellect (although not in IQ). This is probably a difference in interest: people high in intellect, compared to openness, are more likely to prefer the sciences to the arts. The mean percentile for women in a general population (women and men) is 45. For men it is 55.

Openness: Very High (90/100)

The closest synonym for openness (rather than openness to experience, which encompasses openness and intellect) is creativity. Very open, creative people love beauty. They require an outlet for their creative ability, or they cannot thrive. They need to be surrounded by art or beautiful crafts. They are strikingly sensitive to color and architectural form. They very much like to collect things, now and then to the point of obsession. They are very imaginative, and love to daydream and reflect on things. They are uncommonly affected by music, often of many genres, and may be musical or artistic themselves (both of these are rare in the general population). They can get unusually immersed in a book, or a movie, or in their own thoughts, and become oblivious to the outside world. They respond very strongly to beauty, creativity and art.

Very open, creative people can be impractical and flighty, however (particularly if low in conscientiousness). It can be extremely difficult to transform creativity into money, or into a career. High levels of openness are, furthermore, necessary for entrepreneurial success, and often prove useful at the top of hierarchies, even in very conservative occupations such as banking, accounting and law, which need creative people in leadership positions to provide new vision and direction.

Liberals are higher in openness than conservatives (although the biggest difference between the two is openness to experience, at the trait level).

Women are higher in openness than men. The mean percentile for women in a general population (women and men) is 56.5. For men it is 44.5.

[1] Understand Myself (2018, January 4). The Big Five Aspects Scale. Retrieved from