How people judge people

People judge one another according to five characteristics

From Rudolf Grimm


Hamburg - Psychologists speak of the Big Five, the Big Five. Characteristics of personality are meant. In numerous studies of how people judge each other, five characteristics came out time and again: Specifically, the test subjects stated the presence or absence of conscientiousness, tolerance, extraversion (turning away, opposite pole introversion), neuroticism (opposite pole emotional stability). and openness to new experiences. These characteristics appear to be of central importance in both personal and professional relationships: The Big Five emerged when Spanish subjects filled out questionnaires and they emerged when Russian teachers assessed their students. In a large comparative study, they emerged in Canada, Germany, Poland and Russia as well as in Finland and Hong Kong. According to a report in the magazine "Psychologie heute", the first result was in the USA in the 1950s, when industrial psychologists tested prospective officers . The answers were en bloc as if the comrades to be assessed only had five personality traits. In Germany, Bielefeld psychology professor Alois Angleitner and his test team selected 430 adjectives from a dictionary and then had many volunteers and acquaintances assessed on the basis of these characteristics. The computer analysis again showed those five personality traits. The explanation of the phenomenon is possibly the same as the answer to the question why people have exactly five fingers on each hand with lengths that are not easily obvious: They have evidently made sense in the course of evolution proven. According to this logic, people have learned in the course of their development to pay attention to those traits of their horde comrades that could be decisive for their own survival. Even for Stone Age people it was important to know whether someone would reliably perform his tasks while hunting together - so whether he was conscientious. And who in a difficult situation could have a new strategy in store - that is, whether openness to new experiences was one of the essential characteristics. The Big Five criteria were also revealed in a survey of 166 couples in love and married by Michael Botwin of California State University. As another American, Lewis Goldberg, who named the Big Five, once said, each of these characteristics represents a question that people ask themselves when they meet someone for the first time, such as: "Is he tolerable, well warm-hearted and pleasant, or not tolerable, so cold and averted? "Personnel psychologists are particularly interested in conscientiousness. Conscientious people are not only more careful with their work, but are also less prone to violence and theft in the company. Extroverts do particularly well in positions where they have to get along with other people. Particular emotional stability is also required in various professions, such as pilots. Tolerance is also important in many types of employment, and many of the study findings are not interesting in themselves. The sensation lies in their combination. The same properties always prove to be important in very different situations. However, some researchers have only come up with three or six, eight or 16 determining factors. Most personality psychologists, however, accept the Big Five at least as a "work consensus". No other personality model had come this far before.