creative-process

Align your personality to your creative process.

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Align your Personality to Your Creative Process

In my first presentation for TestKitchen, I hypothesized that an understanding of one’s personality, when aligned with one’s creative process, might result in improved creative outcomes.

View the Google Slide Presentation: How to Create Your Creative Process

If I were more industrious, I would have gone to the library and printed this out to have as handouts.

In other words: as artists and creatives, by matching our personalities to our chosen creative processes, we stand the chance to make better art.

No matter your genre of art or creativity, you have a way of doing whatever you do. When was the last time you not only reflected on your creative process, but actively sought to change it–to update it–to match who you are today, not yesterday, but right now?

I told the story of my 5+ year journey of writing my first two novels, and how after reflecting and learning more about my personality traits I made the effort to create a better process to fit my temperament and interests on my current novel.

You’ve earned a distraction! – Here’s two mathmeticians/physicists discussing their approaches to a theory of everything.

The first step

One possible first step is to take a personality test. After, you might examine the creative process you took on a recent project. Do any new approaches become available?

“I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain. One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night-filled mountain, in itself, forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” - Albert Camus

When you need to leave one project for the next, remember “one always finds one’s burden again”.

We are all ships of Theseus; it is good to notice our changes along the way.

Ready? Here’s a website to complete a Big-5 Asessment (there are others):

https://www.understandmyself.com/personality-assessment

This one is interesting because the work on personality by DeYoung, Quilty, and Peterson is generally agreed to be useful by the scientific community and also holds an additional layer, the 10 subtraits. (Here’s the paper on researchgate.) For what it’s worth, I’ve also taken Myers-Briggs and Strengthsfinder, and several others, which are generally similar views on the same thing, our multi-faceted personalities.

Here’s a very brief summary of the 5:

Extraversion Neuroticism Agreeableness Conscientiousness Openness to Experience

Enthusiasm (spontaneous joy and engagement) and Assertiveness (social dominance, often verbal in nature) for Extraversion.

Withdrawal (the tendency to avoid in the face of uncertainty) and Volatility (the tendency to become irritable and upset when things go wrong) for Neuroticism.

Compassion (the tendency to empathically experience the emotion of others) and Politeness (the proclivity to abide by interpersonal norms) for Agreeableness.

Industriousness (the ability to engage in sustained, goal-directed effort) and Orderliness (the tendency to schedule, organize and systematize) for Conscientiousness.

Openness (creativity and aesthetic sensitivity) and Intellect (interest in abstract concepts and ideas) for Openness to Experience.

If you don’t want to take the test yourself, you might be able to derive where you are based upon reading about someone else.

Here are my results:

The Big Five Aspect Scale for Erik van Mechelen

You have just completed assessing yourself with 100 phrases. Our systems have compared your-self-ratings to those of thousands of other people. You are being compared to men and women of all ages. This means that if you are young, your scores on neuroticism will be higher and on agreeableness and conscientiousness will be lower than if you were compared to people of your own age (with the reverse being true for older individuals). For men, their scores on agreeableness and on neuroticism will be lower than if they were just being compared to men. We decided to make the comparisons simple, so that you know where you stand in comparison to the typical person (with age and sex regarded as irrelevant).

Here are your results: You will see below where you stand in comparison to others in the general population on the major traits and their aspects:

Agreeableness: Compassion and Politeness Conscientiousness: Industriousness and Orderliness Extraversion: Enthusiasm and Assertiveness Neuroticism: Withdrawal and Volatility Openness to Experience: Openness and Intellect

Remember that each personality trait and aspect (and your relative position with respect to them) has advantages and disadvantages. It is for that reason that variation exists in the human population: there is a niche for each personality configuration. Much of what constitutes success in life is therefore the consequence of finding the place in relationships, work and personal commitment that corresponds to your unique personality structure. Good luck with your expanded self-understanding!

Note also that if you find that the descriptions harsher than you might consider appropriate this may mean that you were more self-critical than necessary when completing the questions (remember, the results are based on your own self-report, compared to that of others). This can occur if you were feeling temporarily or chronically unhappy or anxious, or hungry, angry or judgmental when you completed the questions.

Agreeableness: Low

You are low in agreeableness, which is the primary dimension of Interpersonal interaction in the Big Five personality trait scientific model. 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.

Your score puts you at the 15th percentile for agreeableness. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be less agreeable than 84 of them and more agreeable than 15 of them.

AGREEABLENESS 15th percentile

agreeableness

You are less agreeable than 84 of 100 people People with low levels of agreeableness are seen by others as competitive, colder, tougher 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, are 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 strongly tend towards dominance rather than submission (particularly if also below average in neuroticism).

People with low levels of agreeableness are not forgiving, accepting, flexible, gentle or patient. They don’t easily feel pity for those who are excluded, punished or defeated. It is also difficult for them to be taken advantage of by disagreeable, manipulative or otherwise troublesome people, or those with criminal or predatory intent. Their skepticism plays a protective role, although it can sometimes interfere with their ability to cooperate with or trust others whose intentions are genuinely good. They also be less likely to reward good behavior or to give credit where it is due. They can cooperate, when cooperation is in their interest, but very much appreciate competition, with its clear losers and winners. They will not easily lose arguments (or avoid discussions) with less agreeable people, and can enjoy the battle. They are generally good at bargaining for themselves, or at negotiating for more recognition or power and are likely to have higher salaries and to earn more money, in consequence. People low in agreeableness are therefore less likely to suffer from resentment or to harbour invisible anger. In addition, because of their tendency to engage in conflict, when necessary, people low in agreeableness 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, although people close to those low in agreeableness may experience them as overbearing.

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.

Agreeableness has two aspects: compassion and politeness.

Compassion: Typical or Average

You are typical or average in compassion, which is one aspect of Agreeableness. Your score puts you at the 42nd percentile for compassion. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be more compassionate than 42 of them and less compassionate than 57 of them.

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 others, 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.

COMPASSION 42nd percentile

compassion

You are more compassionate than 42 of 100 people 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: Very Low

You are very low in politeness, which is one aspect of Agreeableness. Your score puts you at the 4th percentile for politeness. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be less polite than 95 of them and more polite than 4 of them.

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

POLITENESS 4th percentile

politeness

You are less polite than 95 of 100 people 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.

Conscientiousness: Very Low

You are very low in conscientiousness, which is the primary dimension of dutiful achievement in the Big Five personality trait scientific model. Conscientiousness is a measure of obligation, attention to detail, hard work, persistence, cleanliness, efficiency and adherence to rules, standards and processes. Conscientious people implement their plans and establish and maintain order.

Your score puts you at the 4th percentile for conscientiousness. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be less conscientious than 95 of them and more conscientious than 4 of them.

People very low in conscientiousness do not regard duty as at all important. They are likely to regard those who slog away at their task as suckers, teacher’s pets and boot-lickers. They will only work hard if directly and continually pushed by outside forces (supervisors, spouses, friends, parents). They can be very creative at wasting time. They are very likely to procrastinate (particularly if they are also above average in neuroticism). Even if they do commit to doing something, it is very likely they will be late, or delayed, even when there is no reason for failing to deliver. They formulate and deliver excuses for their failure under such circumstances, blaming the situation for their problems with task focus and completion. They are not at all decisive, neat, organized, future-oriented, or reliable, and they find themselves constantly distracted.

CONSCIENTIOUSNESS 4th percentile

conscientiousness

You are less conscientious than 95 of 100 people People with very low levels of conscientiousness are very likely to obtain poor grades in academic settings (particularly if they also less intelligent), and generally require substantial supervision to stay on task. For this reason, they make poor managers and administrators. They are not compelled to do things by the book, however. This can perhaps be an advantage, if they are engaged in creative tasks, where rules must be broken for advancement to take place. Very unconscientious people will not make career or educational accomplishment a primary goal, and will turn instead to pursuit of safety and security (if high in neuroticism), creative accomplishment (if high in openness), establishment of intimate relationships and friendships (if highly agreeable), or social success, excitement and fun (if extraverted). They are by no means ambitious.

People very low in conscientiousness tend to be markedly free of guilt, shame, self-disgust and self-contempt. Other people, however, are very likely to react negatively to their tendency to slack off and avoid responsibility (particularly if those other people are disagreeable and conscientious).

Individuals who are very low in conscientious appear unconcerned by failure. They are not at all judgmental, to themselves or others, and can easily and quickly find and formulate situational explanations for disappointment, frustration or lack of success. They can handle periods of inactivity and unemployment with ease. They chronically downplay the relationship between hard work, diligence and success, assuming instead that chance factors and luck in life play the only determining roles. They live for leisure and very much look forward to time off. They can be remarkably good at relaxing, taking it easy, and living in the moment (particularly when low in neuroticism). They are very much less concerned than average with cleaning, moral purity and achievement. It’s far more fun to be at the beach or at a party with a person very low in conscientiousness – but you don’t want to invite them over on moving day.

People very low in conscientiousness are strikingly more likely to be political liberals rather than conservatives. This is particularly true if they are also high 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.

Conscientiousness has two aspects: industriousness and orderliness.

Industriousness: Low

You are low in industriousness, which is one aspect of conscientiousness. Your score puts you at the 22nd percentile for industriousness. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be less industrious than 77 of them and more industrious than 22 of them.

People who are low in industriousness are much less likely to be successful in school and in administrative and managerial positions (particularly if they are also less intelligent). If they are highly intelligent, they tend to be regarded as underachievers. They focus less on work than others and are substantively more likely to procrastinate, miss deadlines, or fail to complete assignments or projects completely. They put off responsibilities, concentrating more on fun, worry, relationships, excitement or creative endeavour. They aren’t concerned with schedules, timelines or efficiency, and will have to be supervised excessively before their tasks will be completed. They lack focus and are too-easily distracted.

INDUSTRIOUSNESS 22nd percentile

industriousness

You are less industrious than 77 of 100 people People low in industriousness are not judgmental to themselves or others. They let people, including themselves, off the hook. They believe that people fail not because they don’t apply themselves or work hard but because chance and luck play the determining roles. They are resistant to guilt, self-disgust or self-contempt, and have a very laissez-faire, whatever-will-be-will-be attitude toward life.

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: Exceptionally Low

You are exceptionally low in orderliness, which is one aspect of conscientiousness. Your score puts you at the 1st percentile for orderliness. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be less orderly than 98 of them and more orderly than 1 of them.

People exceptionally low in orderliness are never disturbed, upset or disgusted by mess, disorder and chaos. They appear almost completely blind to such things (or, if they do see them, they don’t at all care). They see the world in shades of grey, never in simple, straightforward black and white, and are extremely non-judgmental and devil-may-care in their attitudes toward themselves and others. They are contemptuous toward and positively hate schedules, list, or routines and, even if they plan, never implement those plans, preferring to take things as they come, and letting chance determine the outcome. They are not oriented toward detail in any way and simply never abide by rules or procedures.

ORDERLINESS 1st percentile

orderliness

You are less orderly than 98 of 100 people People who are exceptionally low in orderliness cannot tolerate or establish any routine or predictability whatsoever. Their schedules are remarkably loose, their time completely unscheduled, and disruption doesn’t bother them in the least. They require continual and constant reminder and supervision to maintain any attention and focus whatsoever, and are continually distracted and off task. They can, however, tolerate the mess, disruption and intervening periods of chaos that may accompany creative endeavour.

Those who are who are exceptionally low in orderliness are remarkably much less likely to be political conservatives. Orderliness is the second-best predictor of conservatism, after 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.

Extraversion: Moderately High

You are moderately high in extraversion, which is the primary dimension of positive emotion in the Big Five personality trait scientific model. Extraversion is a measure of general sensitivity to positive emotions such as hope, joy, anticipation and approach, particularly in social situations.

Your score puts you at the 75th percentile for extraversion. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be more extraverted than 75 of them and less extraverted than 24 of them.

People with moderately high levels of extraversion are quite enthusiastic, talkative, assertive in social situations, and gregarious. They are often energized by social contact, and crave it. They typically like to plan parties, tell jokes, make people laugh and participate in community activities. They are somewhat more likely to have positive memories of the past, above-average levels of current self-esteem (particularly if they are low in neuroticism), and to feel optimism about the future.

EXTRAVERSION 75th percentile

extraversion

You are more extraverted than 75 of 100 people People who are moderately extraverted don’t often keep things to themselves, tending instead to share what they are thinking with everyone. They are self-disclosing (particularly if also high in neuroticism) and they warm fairly rapidly to other people. They are among the first to speak in meetings. They can be captivating and convincing. They are likely to be among the first to act in an ambiguous situation.

People who are moderately high in extraversion make more enthusiastic employees, and tend to be well-suited to jobs involving sales, persuasion, work in groups and public speaking (particularly, once again, if they are low in neuroticism). They are somewhat less suited to occupations that require a lot of isolated work (such as computer programming or accounting).

People moderately high in extraversion have a tendency to be impulsive, particularly when it comes to having fun in social situations. They are somewhat more likely to sacrifice the future to the present, when something social or group-oriented beckons. It can be difficult for them to be alone and to study and work. They can find themselves distracted by opportunities to chat, joke and socialize. This is particularly the case if they are also 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 moderately high in extraversion are comparatively more dominant in social situations, particularly if they are also 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.

Extraversion has two aspects: Enthusiasm and Assertiveness.

Enthusiasm: Moderately Low

You are moderately low in enthusiasm, which is one aspect of extraversion. Your score puts you at the 36th percentile for enthusiasm. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be less enthusiastic than 63 of them and more enthusiastic than 36 of them.

Individuals who are moderately low in enthusiasm are rarely excitable, not particularly easy to get to know, and not known for their talkative nature. When they do talk, it tends only to be about things in which they find particular interest. They do not easily open up to people, particularly in larger social gatherings or parties. They laugh more rarely than others. They tend to prefer solitude, although they can enjoy themselves around other people, in moderation. They are more private people, and are not particularly positive or optimistic. They do not crave the spotlight and, if creative, may find performing less desirable. They rarely seek out stimulation, excitement, activity or fun (and, if they do so, prefer quieter activities). People moderately low in enthusiasm are not gregarious or people-loving, and are not particularly positive about what might happen next .

ENTHUSIASM 36th percentile

enthusiasm

You are less enthusiastic than 63 of 100 people 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: Very High

You are very high in assertiveness, which is one aspect of extraversion. Your score puts you at the 92nd percentile for assertiveness. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be more assertive than 92 of them and less assertive than 7 of them.

Very assertive people are “take charge” types. They put their own opinions forward uncommonly strongly, and tend to dominate and control social situations. Very assertive people can be strikingly influential and captivating. They have the communication style that is often associated with leadership. This is good when they are knowledgeable, competent and able, but not so good when they aren’t. Assertive people are people of action. They don’t wait for others to lead the way, but leap in, heedlessly. They can be impulsive, in consequence, and can act without thinking.

ASSERTIVENESS 92nd percentile

assertiveness

You are more assertive than 92 of 100 people 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.

Neuroticism: Moderately High

You are moderately high in neuroticism, which is the primary dimension of negative emotion in the Big Five personality trait scientific model. Neuroticism is a measure of general sensitivity to negative emotions such as pain, sadness, irritable or defensive anger, fear and anxiety.

Your score puts you at the 69th percentile for neuroticism. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be higher in neuroticism than 69 of them and lower in neuroticism than 30 of them.

People with moderately high levels of neuroticism are somewhat more likely to think that things have gone wrong in the past, are going wrong now, and will continue to go wrong into the future. They are also a bit more likely to be unhappy, anxious and irritable when just thinking or remembering, and when they encounter a genuine problem. They have lower than average levels of self-esteem, particularly when they are also low in extraversion. Neuroticism is a risk factor for anxiety disorders and depression.

NEUROTICISM 69th percentile

neuroticism

You are higher in neuroticism than 69 of 100 people Moderately high levels of neuroticism may interfere somewhat with both success and satisfaction in relationships and career, with the strongest effect on relationships. Moderately high levels of neuroticism are associated with slightly more concern about mental and physical health, as well as more physician and emergency room visits, and higher than average levels of absenteeism at work and at school (particularly if accompanied by below average levels of conscientiousness).

People with moderately high levels of neuroticism appear to be somewhat risk-averse, which means they will be less likely to pursue or enjoy recreational, career, financial and social situations where the possibility of loss is high. Such people appear to be concerned with maintaining their current status, rather than enhancing it. Perhaps this is a good strategy in genuinely dangerous or uncertain times.

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.

Trait neuroticism is made up of the aspects withdrawal and volatility.

Withdrawal: Typical or Average

You are typical or average in withdrawal, which is one aspect of neuroticism. Your score puts you at the 41st percentile for withdrawal. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be higher in withdrawal than 41 of them and lower in withdrawal than 58 of them.

Individuals average in withdrawal may occasionally suffer from anticipatory anxiety, but are generally not impeded by it. They can handle new, uncertain, unexpected, threatening or complex situations quite well. They are not more likely to avoid or withdraw in the face of the unknown and unexpected.

People with average levels of withdrawal sometimes feel sad, lonesome, disappointed and grief-stricken, but not too deeply, and not for too long. They experience normal levels of doubt and worry, embarrassment, self-consciousness and discouragement in the face of threat and punishment. They are reasonably but not excessively sensitive to social rejection, and don’t feel hurt too easily. Even when hurt, frightened, or anxious, they can recover in a reasonable amount of time. People with typical levels of withdrawal are not particularly concerned that something bad is going to happen. Technically, withdrawal has been associated with activity in the brain systems that regulate passive avoidance.

WITHDRAWAL 41st percentile

withdrawal

You are higher in withdrawal than 41 of 100 people 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: High

You are high in volatility, which is one aspect of neuroticism. Your score puts you at the 86th percentile for volatility. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be more volatile than 86 of them and less volatile than 13 of them.

Individuals high in volatility tend to vary in their mood. They can be irritable, reacting strongly to disappointment, frustration, pain and the threat of social isolation. They can lash out and are relatively easily annoyed. They are more likely to act out or verbally express their frustration, disappointment and irritability. They can be stirred up and upset and, once angry or irritated, take a longer than average time to calm down. They can be argumentative and lose their composure. They can be provocative in a dispute (particularly if also low in agreeableness). Perhaps people high in volatility get upset if something bad does happen, while people high in withdrawal (the other aspect of neuroticism) suffer from more concern that something bad might happen. Technically, volatility has been associated with activity in the brain systems that regulate fight, flight or freeze.

VOLATILITY 86th percentile

volatility

You are more volatile than 86 of 100 people 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.

Openness to Experience: Exceptionally High

You are exceptionally high in openness to experience, which is the primary dimension of creativity, artistic interest and intelligence (particularly verbal intelligence) in the Big Five personality trait scientific model. Openness to experience is a measure of interest in novelty, art, literature, abstract thinking, philosophy as well as sensitivity to aesthetic emotions and beauty.

Your score puts you at the 96th percentile for openness to experience. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be higher in openness to experience than 96 of them and lower in openness to experience than 3 of them.

People with exceptionally high levels of openness to experience are almost always characterized by others as extremely smart, creative, exploratory, intelligent and visionary. They are extremely interested in learning, and are constantly acquiring new abilities and skills. They are extremely curious and exploratory. They are exceptionally interested in abstract thinking, philosophy, and the meaning of belief systems and ideologies. They live for 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 deeply love to confront and solve complex, abstract and multi-dimensional problems.

OPENNESS TO EXPERIENCE 96th percentile

Openness

You are higher in openness to experience than 96 of 100 people They are almost always prolific readers, and are interested in a vast range of topics. They have an exceptionally broad and deep vocabulary. They can think and learn remarkably quickly. They are unusually proficient at formulating new ideas, and can be exceptionally articulate (particularly if average or above in extraversion). People exceptionally high in openness can see old things in remarkable ways. They can think outside of the box. When they hear or come up with an idea, many other ideas are usually triggered. They can formulate any single problem in an exceptionally diverse range of ways, and can generate a tremendously large number of problem-solving solutions. They will constantly seek change, often to make things better, but also just for the sake of change.

People who are exceptionally high in openness to experience are poorly adapted to and do not do well in situations or occupations that are routinized and predictable. They fit badly at the bottom of hierarchies. They are unusually 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 extremely radical thinkers. They shake things up, particularly if they are also disagreeable and assertive. They are likely to be revolutionary rebels (particularly if average or below in conscientiousness).

Individuals exceptionally high in openness to experience are entrepreneurial in spirit, as well as smart and creative. They can be overwhelmingly interested in creating new ventures, sometimes for profit, sometimes for curiosity, and sometimes for personal transformation. Exceptionally 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 exceptionally high in openness to experience are interested in absolutely everything, they can find it hard to settle on a single path in life, to specialize to a necessary degree, and to create an integrated identity. This is particularly dangerous if they are above average in neuroticism and/or below average in conscientiousness. People characterized by the combination of high openness to experience and high neuroticism constantly undermine their own convictions and beliefs by incessant questioning and make 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 seldom implement 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.

Trait openness to experience is made up of the aspects of intellect and openness.

Intellect: Very High

Note: Do not confuse the personality aspect of Intellect with IQ. Intellect is a measure of interest in abstract ideas, essentially, while IQ is a measure of processing speed, verbal ability, working memory, and problem solving capacity, and is better measured with a formal IQ test. It is perfectly possible to have a high IQ and a low score on the personality trait of Intellect (or the reverse).

You are very high in intellect, which is one aspect of openness to experience. Your score puts you at the 94th percentile for intellect. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be higher in intellect than 94 of them and lower in intellect than 5 of them.

People very high in intellect are notably interested in ideas and abstract concepts. They crave exposure to novel information, even when it is complex. They are highly curious and exploratory, and actively want to find, tackle and solve challenging problems. They will much more frequently seek out and initiate issue-oriented discussions, and are very likely to read, think about and want to discuss idea-centered books (generally non-fiction). They are markedly articulate, and can formulate ideas clearly and quickly (particularly if average or higher in extraversion). They have a broad and wide vocabulary, and continually want to learn new things. People very high in intellect will constantly find and generate novel, creative concepts and voluntarily search for and adapt very well to new experience and situations.

INTELLECT 94th percentile

intellect

You are higher in intellect than 94 of 100 people People very high in intellect find complex, rapidly changing occupations necessary and will generally excel at them (particularly if they are also high in conscientiousness and low in neuroticism). However, they are very much less well-suited to stable, straightforward and more traditional occupations, where the rules don’t change, and will experience frequent periods of boredom and intolerable levels of frustration 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

You are very high in openness, which is one aspect of openness to experience. Your score puts you at the 93rd percentile for openness. If you were one of 100 people in a room, you would be higher in openness than 93 of them and lower in openness than 6 of them.

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.

OPENNESS 93rd percentile

openness-1

You are higher in openness than 93 of 100 people 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.

If you reached the bottom

Then you owe it to yourself:

Here’s two mathmeticians/physicists discussing their approaches to a theory of everything._