Psychological researchers often define personality in terms of five core traits, which can be thought of as stable dispositions that drive behavior. The five-factor model of personality encompasses these basic traits:
The traits, often referred to as the "Big 5," are summed up by the acronyms OCEAN or CANOE. Every individual manifests each of the five broad dimensions of personality to one degree or another, and the infinite variety of ways individuals differ in how the traits are expressed is what makes the study of personality endlessly fascinating. Using questionnaire-based testing, psychologists measure the degree to which each of the traits is individually manifest.
The five-factor model is used to help understand and predict relationships between personality traits and success in social, academic, and professional circumstances. The model has been criticized for its limitations with respect to the number of personality traits evaluated and for the fact that it is a data-driven model and not based on a psychological theory. Proponents of the five-factor model argue that it delivers consistent results and that such a description of personality must come before, not after, a theory of personality.
A more recently introduced six-factor model known as HEXACO adds the factor of honesty-humility to the original five traits to incorporate a measure of ethical behavior into the mix.