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Agreeableness in Personality: Definition & Overview

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  • 0:02 The Personality
  • 1:31 Agreeableness Defined
  • 2:13 Examples
  • 3:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Chris Clause
In this lesson, you will learn to define agreeableness as a personality trait. We will also discuss how knowing a person's degree of agreeableness can be beneficial.

The Personality

What words do you use choose when asked to describe someone you know? I bet you would use words like honest, cruel, or smart to describe what makes someone who he is. The list of options is literally endless. I'm sure that without much effort at all, you could write a long list of words to describe someone's personality.

Researchers in the field of personality psychology have long been interested in identifying what qualities, or traits, can be used to accurately encapsulate all characteristics of individual personality. Over the past several decades, researchers have designed and tested a variety of assessment tools in an attempt to identify which personality traits can most accurately account for the individual personality.

What we have learned over time is that research has begun to clearly support a model that proposes to characterize one's personality based on five distinct qualities. Naturally, this model is most commonly referred to as the big five factors of personality. The five personality traits that have emerged to comprise this model are:

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Neuroticism
  • and Agreeableness

It's important to note that while researchers have identified these five distinct characteristics of personality, it is not an all-or-none situation. We all possess each of these traits to some degree. In other words, a person is not agreeable or conscientious but rather, a certain degree both. This will make more sense when we look at a couple of examples.

Agreeableness Defined

As you now know, agreeableness is one of the big five factors of personality, but what does agreeableness mean? You likely are familiar with the word 'agree,' but agreeableness isn't necessarily a word that is used in everyday conversations. The definition of agreeableness in the context of personality psychology is used to describe the degree to which person is kind, how dependable, he or she is, and also how cooperative he or she is in certain situations.

As mentioned, personality psychologists won't describe someone as being either agreeable or not agreeable. The level of agreeableness can be used to describe a person and also make predictions about future behavior.

Examples

Let's apply what we've learned about agreeableness to a real-world example:

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