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What are the key characteristics of personality?

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Quick Answer

The five key characteristics of personality include extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness. Personality researchers have proposed that there are five basic characteristics to personality, although at one time scientists believed there were many more.

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Extraversion is the trait related to high levels of emotional expressiveness, such as excitability and assertiveness. Agreeableness is related to prosocial behaviors such as trust and kindness. Conscientiousness traits include thoughtfulness and good impulse control. Neuroticism traits are those which tend to reflect emotional instability, such as anxiety and irritability. Openness includes traits such as imagination and insight, and those high in this characteristic have a wide range of interests.

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