Dr. Phil Tests Your Personality: Dr. Gosling

The Big Five

Dr. Sam Gosling is a professor of psychology at the University of Texas and author of Snoop: What Your Stuff Says about You. He explains, "Snoop is about how we can express ourselves, both deliberately and unconsciously, in the spaces around us, and, in turn, how you can look at spaces around people and figure out what they're like. Some of it they want to tell you, and they're being authentic when they do that, but some of the things they tell you accidentally, just by the way they leave their objects on their desk, and organize their books and so on." 

 

"It seems like there is a real consensus that there are five big factors that describe personality right now," Dr. Phil says. "I'm not saying that it's perfect. Those five characteristics are openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism."

 

Dr. Gosling describes the five personality traits:

  • Openness
    "Imagine that you go into a restaurant. Are you the type of person, when you get the menu, who points to the thing you've never seen and say, 'I'll have that, whatever it is,' or are you the sort of person who says, 'I don't even need to open the menu. I'll have the spaghetti. I like what I know. I know what I like. Bring me the spaghetti'?" he asks. 
  • Conscientiousness 
    "Conscientiousness is more about people who think before they act. They plan," Dr. Gosling says. "Are you the sort of person who only replaces the toilet roll when it runs out, or do you get some beforehand?"
  • Extroversion
    "These people tend to be more dominant. They tend to be more active, and they really get energized by people," Dr. Gosling explains. "Many people can come to a party, but afterward, you can really tell between the introverts and the extroverts, because the introverts need to go sit down and be alone for a bit to decompress, whereas the extroverts are energized by it."
  • Agreeableness 
    "It's really people who are warm, sympathetic, versus people who are going to tell it to you bluntly, and they're not going to try to hide their feelings. They're going to be direct with you," Dr. Gosling says.
  • Neuroticism
    This trait relates to stability, stress and worry. "It depends on what kind of a world you live in. If you're in a world full of threats, then it's good to be very alert to threats. If you're in a safe world, which most of us are now, then you can get very anxious and worried, worrying about things that aren't actually threats to you," Dr. Gosling explains.

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Dr. Gosling explains that a good test of conscientiousness is if a person carries stamps in his or her wallet or purse. If they do, they would be considered high in conscientiousness. "But it goes beyond that," Dr. Gosling says. "What's really interesting about that is not only the people who carry stamps but reactions, like yours, of the people who don't ... What it shows you is that personality is not only what we do, like carry stamps, but it's also how we perceive the world."

 

[AD]"What do you say that it says about somebody like me, who can't believe that somebody would wag a stamp with them around for five years?" Dr. Phil asks. "That does shock me."

 

"People just have these different standards, which is why it's quite hard to fake it. It's hard to see the world, truly, as somebody with a different personality sees the world," Dr. Gosling says.