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Describe about the Individual and Group Differences in Behavior?

Recent research on the “Big Five” traits has led to a renaissance of attention in the influence of personality and behaviour.  The study of the whole assignment will go through the various sections of the big five personality factors, which will enable the learner to understand the basic concept of the factor. The study will briefly look at what traits are, how these was these personality factors determined, what is the meaning of the traits and how these big five approach predict about our behaviour (Anastasi, 2009).  The history of the study of “Big Five” traits highlights that the trait theory is also known as dispositional theory. Gordon Allport, an early pioneer in the study of traits, also referred these elements as dispositions. Moreover, as per his approach “cardinal” traits shape and dominate the behaviour of individuals (Solso, 2009).

The big five traits includes Openness which elaborates the depth, originality, breadth, and complexity of the experimental and mental life of an individual. Then is Conscientiousness that socially prescribed impulse control that facilities goal and task – directed behaviour, such as delaying gratification, thinking about the outcome before acting.  Extraversion is the traits such as activity, sociability, assertiveness, and positive emotionality is included within extraversion. Agreeableness is the division contrasts a communal orientation towards other individuals and includes various traits like trust, tender – mindedness, altruism etc. Neuroticism highlights the emotional stability within the individuals, and includes the even – temperedness with various negative emotions.

Moreover, the study will also elaborate the description of the big five approach, which will clear up all further doubts of the study. Moreover, the main emphasis of the study will highlight the strength and limitations of the big five approach, which will cover a major part of the assignment. Moreover, various practical applications has been included within the study which has major link with the big five approach. The appropriate level to measure personality has been a point of contention in the psychological literature.  While some argue for parsimony, which, is a line of research, has shown that increasing the number of factors in models of personality significantly improves predictions of behaviour.  Other refinements, of the Five-Factor convention have compared the efficacy of Big Five traits with the facets that comprise those traits.   While both measures are highly effective in predicting general behaviour, the facets demonstrate substantial improvement in prediction as well as specific beliefs, such as levels of prejudice (Birch & Hayward, 2009). These applications are the relevant research journals that have been extracted after thorough investigation. Furthermore, the assignment will also help the learner to understand the amount of help that this approach provides along with the exact role of the approach in human life.

Brief Description of the Big Five Approach

The consistent patterns of feelings, actions or thoughts, which differentiate people from one another, are known as the traits. These various basic tendencies remain within an individual for a lifetime. The individual at times thinks of changing these traits due to various external pressures. The change in the traits is not an easy task and hence, is not completed by most of the individuals (Anastasi, 2011). The study of various journals concludes that almost 91 % of the individual fails to change their traits in a permanent manner. The reason for the need of the change in traits by various individuals arises due to the various demands of the person. However, various studies have also stated that changing traits of an individual is not an easy task to perform. However, various a massive percentages of individuals have changed their traits within a limited span of time, but the problem arises, as these changes are not permanent. The change in the trait happens due to the change in the demand and attitude towards life. This happens as the life style of the individual changes with time and so does their demand automatically. Therefore, it can be argued that the change in the habits and demand of the persons affects their lifestyle and their traits. There have been various academic perspectives in the section of behaviour psychology over the decades together with individual motivation, the entire person, and human being differences. The Big Five falls under the perception of individual differences (Corr, 2014). These present taxonomy of traits that several individuality psychologists propose the detaining of the essence of individual differences in character. The trait was evaluated through the factor analysis studies, which helped to understand the exact need and concept of the approach. Many researches in the recent time have tested the several other factors than the Big 5 theory. These researchers have found the other theories unreliable, which state the fact that Big 5 theory is the only consistently reliable factor. The recent resurgence of personality in individual research rests on the shoulders of the Big Five framework.  In this setting, personality can be conceived as “a multi-faceted and enduring internal, or psychological, structure that influences behaviour,” and personality traits can be used as the basic units of personality (De Raad, 2011).   The approach which looks not only at the larger Big Five characteristics, but also lower-level characteristics which together comprise the Big Five dimensions has been stated within the study. Moreover, this can also be stated that this theory can be applied in various practical divisions, which will definitely provide a positive outcome. Research on the Big Five can be divided into four basic assumptions:  that traits exist and are measureable, vary across individuals, shape behaviour, and people describing themselves or others can express traits. This approach has been replicated across a variety of languages and sub - populations, as well as being stable through the life cycle, with potential biological and genetic determinants. Moreover, a practical consideration is whether the Big Five is being measured appropriately, given the limited findings for some of the Big Five characteristics (Hong, Paunonen & Slade, 2012). The growth of Big Five studies has been bolstered by the ability of researchers to ostensibly capture the characteristics in a parsimonious way with each being measured by a few items. 

This can be argued that this approach improves upon the constraints of the simplified measures employed by various researchers.  The traits of the Big Five can be captured better by utilizing the facet measures, resulting in improved trait scales.  Further, given that variation should exist within each trait, incorporating facets provides an opportunity to capture the sub-components of the Big Five traits.  Not all extraverts are the same, nor is everyone extraverted in every situation.  In order to understand why and the implications for political behaviour necessitates digging deeper than simply looking at the Big Five (Lounsbury, 2012).

The big five factors are used by various researchers to describe the personality of the human beings in the field of psychology. The factors are stated below:

Openness – This section elaborates the depth, originality, breadth, and complexity of the experimental and mental life of an individual. This characteristic relates to one’s open-mindedness to the world around them; how open they are to learning, as well as their general cognitive orientations.  Those higher in Openness are predisposed to creative, curiosity, and imagination valuing experiences and exploration of the unfamiliar.  Politically, lower levels of this characteristic have been connected to conservatism while higher levels predict a tendency toward liberalism (Khorramdel & von Davier, 2014). Subsequently, we expect that higher levels of openness should increase the likelihood of one identifying as a Democrat, having liberal ideology, and supporting liberal Democratic candidates.

Conscientiousness – The socially prescribed impulse control that facilities goal and task – directed behaviour, such as delaying gratification, thinking about the outcome before acting, rules, prioritizing tasks etc. comes under the section of Conscientiousness. Conscientiousness is “socially prescribed impulse control that facilitates task- and goal-directed behaviour. Conscientious individuals are said to be efficient, rational, and well-organized, with higher levels of performance in school and jobs.  Those higher in Conscientiousness also tend to be risk averse.  Politically, Conscientiousness is thought to act in the inverse manner as openness to experience:  higher levels lead to beliefs in personal responsibility, tradition, virtue, and thus conservatism (Margolis, 2013). Individuals higher in Conscientiousness provide support for this view. Subsequently, we would expect Conscientiousness to predict an increased likelihood of identifying as a Republican, or conservative, and as well as increased support for Republican candidates.

Extraversion – The traits such as activity, sociability, assertiveness, and positive emotionality is included within extraversion. This division also implies an energetic approach to the material and social world. As with the models considering the relationship between personality and political affect, Extraversion appears to matter only for views toward the individuals (Mica, Amiga & Caselles, 2014).  More specifically, under the broader umbrella of Extraversion, we see that individuals who are predisposed toward excitement (those who like being part of large, boisterous crowds) are more likely to be supported.

Agreeableness – This division contrasts a communal orientation towards other individuals and includes various traits like trust, tender – mindedness, altruism etc. However, agreeableness is seen as one of the least understood traits.  Broadly, it is thought to cover how one manages interpersonal relationships, particularly the degree of trust placed in others and conflict avoidance, as well as pro-social orientations generally (Cooper, 2012).  Politically, it is thought to be relevant for evaluations of candidates, particularly those who emphasize social welfare policies given its emphasis on thoughts of others and was shown to increase preferences.

Neuroticism – This highlights the emotional stability within the individuals, and includes the even – temperedness with various negative emotions. This also includes various feelings such as being nervous, getting tense, feeling sad etc (Gulfbend.org, 2015).

The Emotional Stability is also referred to as Neuroticism.  This trait contrasts the even-temperedness with negative emotionality.  Those lower in this trait are thought to be anxious, disposed to feeling sad, and have poor coping mechanisms in times of stress. While these characteristics affect levels of impulsive behaviour, and can affect social status in groups.  However, politically, Emotional Stability is an inconsistent predictor.

Contrasting with Emotional Stability, Extraversion is an “energetic approach toward the social and material world. Extraverted individuals, unsurprisingly, are described as outgoing, energetic, and sociable. Moreover, they enjoy the company of others, crave stimulation, and prefer leadership role (Solso, 2009). While Extraversion has been related to particular social behaviours, including risk-taking and higher levels of membership in groups. 

While some of the Big Five traits, particularly Extraversion and Openness to Experience have been shown to consistently predict political behaviour; other components (Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Emotional Stability) appear far less influential. Analyzing facets may lend insight into how other parts of personality influence behaviour.

Big five factors

Figure 1: Big five factors

(Source: Eysenck, 2013)

These approach has proved itself to be one of the most logical and positive element among all other various approaches. However, these approaches consist of various limitations and strength, which has been detailed below:

Strength – The major strength of the approach is the certain constructive order it brings to the measurement of a human being. The approach has the ability to determine various traits of human and this was examined by various researches over the time, which came out with a positive result. Personality is a complex element that requires detail to fully capture the underlying variation in characteristics (Robinson, 2012).  Within each of the Big Five domains are sub-dimensions, which may reflect interpersonal or temperamental dispositions. Thus, measuring personality - using facets will improve our ability to attribute political behaviour to personality characteristics. Incorporating facets into measurement may also shed light on an empirical puzzle of personality (Hutton, 2012). Furthermore, the other strength of the approach is that it has the ability to judge almost all the traits of the individuals, which highlights its capabilities to even more in the near future. The model not only has the ability to judge the various traits of human beings but at the same time also is capable of monitoring the change in these traits of an individual.

Limitations – This is one of the topic upon which various researches have been conducted in order to find out the loophole of the approach. However, some of the research has come up with the limitation of the approach but most of the research has not been able to find any sort of new limitation of the approach. This certainly means that the approach does not have any major limitation. The major limitation of the approach is that it does not have the capability to evaluate one of the traits of human being, which is the sense of humour.  Moreover, it has been also seen that negative correlations often appear within Extroversion and Neuroticism. This indicates that the individuals who are less talkative and outgoing have major chance to experience negative emotions (Teovanovic, 2014). This has proved to be one of the major limitations of the approach, as this does not get applicable in the practical life.

Another major drawback of the approach is that the Big Five do not have the capability to explain all the human personality and hence, do not get applicable at all point of time. The model has also been dissented by some psychologists. The reason behind this is that the model neglects various personal traits like Honesty, Sense of humour, Conservativeness, Religiosity etc.

The researchers have worked upon this approach for quiet a time and have succeeded in finding the various loopholes and drawbacks of the model. On the other hand, the findings are minor and have not exceeded in the future researches. Despite a more recent focus on the behavioural implications of personality, research on the influence of personality traits has not ignored how these characteristics link to more foundational components (Eysenck, 2013). While connections between personality and ideological identification have not appeared to cut across all traits, there has been sufficient evidence of connections for us to derive the expectations for each of the Big Five elements.

One of the most practical applications of the theory can be judged when the Agreeableness and the Neuroticism of the study is judged. The Neuroticism states that individuals are exposed to the various affections such as trust, being nervous, getting tense, and feeling sad. This certainly shows that the model has the ability to judge human beings to a massive extent (Kunzendorf & Wallace, 2010). The practical implication of the theory gets even more intense as the study further stated that these affections within an human being is subject to changes and do not stay in a stable  manner for a long span of time. The section of Agreeableness lists various traits such as trust, tender – mindedness, altruism within it. This section also states that these traits within an individual is not permanent and is does change massively with time. Therefore, it can be said that the theory has a huge ability to list the various practical nature of the individuals. The statement can also be evaluated with the daily life of the individuals, which will prove the fact that persons do use these traits for a minimum span of time (Skehan, 2009). However, some extra ordinary case arises where various individuals have found to have these traits within them in a fixed manner.

The expanded instrument compares to recent measurement of the Big Five in replicated analysis.  The strategy, we asserted, has shed light on the underlying characteristics driving the previously observed relationships between various personalities.  Moreover, the study also has potentially uncovered various relationships that have gone unobserved previously due to the simplified measurement of personality. The study also concludes that the big five concept is applicable to a major percentage in practical life. On the other hand, the approach also has some loopholes and drawbacks as it do not have the capability to indulge the traits such as honesty, sense of humour etc. The study also concluded that the strength of the approach has the ability to determine various traits of human and this was examined by various researches over the time, which came out with a positive result.

Reference List

Books

Anastasi, A. (2009). Differential psychology; individual and group differences in behavior. New York: Macmillan.

Anastasi, A. (2011). Individual differences. New York: Wiley.

Birch, A., & Hayward, S. (2009). Individual differences. Basingstoke: Macmillan.

Cooper, C. (2012). Individual differences. London: Arnold.

Eysenck, M. (2013). Individual differences. Hove, UK: L. Erlbaum Associates.

Kunzendorf, R., & Wallace, B. (2010). Individual differences in conscious experience. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Robinson, P. (2012). Individual differences and instructed language learning. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins Pub.

Skehan, P. (2009). Individual differences in second-language learning. London: Edward Arnold.

Journals

Corr, P. (2014). Individual differences: normal and abnormal. Personality And Individual Differences, 17(4), 585.

De Raad, B. (2011). Big Five approaches . European Psychologist, 3(2), 113-124.

Hong, R., Paunonen, S., & Slade, H. (2012). Big Five personality factors and the prediction of behavior: A multitrait–multimethod approach. Personality And Individual Differences, 45(2), 160-166.

Khorramdel, L., & von Davier, M. (2014). Measuring Response Styles Across the Big Five Multivariate Behavioral Research, 49(2), 161-177. doi:10.1080/00273171.2013.866536

Lounsbury, J. (2012). Book Review: The Big Five personality factors (The psycholexical approach to personality). Journal Of Psychoeducational Assessment, 20(3), 309-311.

Margolis, A. (2013). Five misconceptions about big five concept: Why we need a people-centred approach to “Bigâ€Â Data. Ethnographic Praxis In Industry Conference Proceedings, 2013(1), 32-43.

Micó, J., Amigó, S., & Caselles, A. (2014). From the Big Five to the General Factor of Personality: a Dynamic Approach. The Spanish Journal Of Psychology, 17.

Solso, R. (2009). Individual differences in cognition. Personality And Individual Differences, 9(2), 446.

Hutton, R. (2012). Supplemental Material for Separating Method Factors and Higher Order Traits of the Big Five: A Meta-Analytic Multitrait–Multimethod Approach. (2011). Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology.

Teovanovic, P. (2014). Anchoring effect: Individual differences approach. Personality And Individual Differences, 60, S77.

Website

Gulfbend.org,. (2015). Big Five Personality Traits - Psychological Testing. Retrieved 28 June 2015, from https://www.gulfbend.org/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=8948&cn=18

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