Big Five vs 16-Personality

Personality assessments seem to be all the rage lately. Instagram accounts, Subreddits, and Facebook groups centered around different personality types have all formed and they’re gaining plenty of traction.

People are beginning to seek self-growth and understanding, and they’re using different personality models to do it. So what are these different personality models? And why should we trust them to give us insight into ourselves?

Two of these models are the Big Five and 16-Personality Types. Both Big Five and 16-Personality offer personality insights that help people understand themselves and others. Whether you’re an employer looking to better understand candidates for an open position, a person trying to understand your friend, or just someone looking to understand yourself, personality models and assessments can give you a foundation for understanding people, which can help in every aspect of your life.

Overview

Big Five

The Five-Factor Model, which is more commonly known as the Big Five, is the personality platform most commonly used for psychology studies and is widely considered the most scientifically validated.

Psychologists have identified 5 independent traits that do not correlate with each other across any population, each trait with its own causes and observable behaviors: 

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism

Each trait is represented by percentile, compared to the general population. For example, you may have higher Extraversion than 82% of the population, but higher Agreeableness than only 30% of the population. 

16-Personality

The 16-Personality is one of the most well-known personality assessments. Created by Katharine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers, based on the work of Carl Jung, 16-Personality has become especially popular in modern workplaces to help companies better understand their employees.

This model has four distinct traits that represent differences in the way people think and behave:

Introversion (I) & Extraversion (E)

Intuition (N) & Sensing (S)

Feeling (F) & Thinking (T)

Perception (P) & Judging (J)16-Personality

Curious about your type? Check out Crystal's 16-Personality Test.

Strengths and Weaknesses

No single model for personality is perfect. As with all personality assessments, there are areas in which the Big Five and 16-Personality each do well, and areas in which they can improve.

Big Five

Strengths: The Big Five model has been studied by psychologists and is considered to have the most scientific validity and reliability. Big Five has been proven to have precise, accurate measurements for its individual traits.

Weaknesses: Because the results are so individual and unique, it can be tedious to draw general insights and advice from test results making the practical application of the knowledge very difficult. The trait Neuroticism is also tied most closely to negative social outcomes so people are more likely to be upset with their results in regards to this trait.

16-Personality

Strengths: 16-Personality provides insight into our own actions as well as those of others, which allows us to remain more empathetic and open-minded around other people. Helping us get along with those who would otherwise be much more difficult to interact with. By having a better understanding of ourselves and those around us, we’re much more likely to make decisions that sensitively account for personality differences.

Weaknesses: While many people have used and appreciated the model, it has been criticized for a few notable flaws: 

  1. Limited scientific validity and reliability: because it was developed through clinical observation, rather than controlled research, there’s no concrete data to back-up personality claims.
  2. Each personality trait is represented as a binary “either or,” rather than a normal distribution (i.e. a bell curve), which is how traits are actually spread across a population. This can lead a lot of people to find the results inaccurate for their personality. For example, if someone is outgoing, but also enjoys spending time alone, they’d likely feel they were somewhere in the middle of being an introvert or an extrovert. However, the 16-Personality model would type them as one or the other.
  3. There is evidence showing some of the trait differences are not in fact mutually exclusive. People might not be “thinkers” OR “feelers”; they can be both.

When should each be used?

Big Five

Because each trait is represented by a percentile, Big Five’s measurement tends to be extremely reliable, accurate, and useful for the study of individuals; however, it is not as useful for application in relationships, communication, and business. It is best used for individual personality assessments, population-level personality studies, and counseling or therapy. 

16-Personality

The 16-Personality can be helpful for opening-up conversations about personality, creating a deeper understanding of one another, and bringing awareness to our behavioral differences. It is often used by employers to help gain a general understanding of their employees’ strengths and weaknesses.

Personality as a Tool for Understanding

As an eagerness to learn more about ourselves continues to grow, many people turn to personality models to give them an easy-to-understand, straightforward, accurate understanding of how they think, feel, and act. Because we are complex, deep people, learning about personality is not always simple but by using personality insights you can begin to know yourself and others more deeply and communicate more effectively.

Want to learn about your personality
and what comes naturally to you?

Free Personality Test
Recommended posts
Personality Tests
Best Enneagram Test: 2020
With so many Enneagram tests out there, it can be overwhelming to find the best one for you. To make it easier to find your Enneagram type, we’ve compiled a list of the 6 best Enneagram tests online.
(read more)
Personality Tests
Best Personality Test: 2019
With so many personality tests out there, it can feel a bit overwhelming to start on the journey to better understanding yourself.
(read more)
Personality AI
The Personality Behind WeWork's Downfall
At the start of 2019, WeWork was on top of the world. It was valued at nearly $47 billion and crowned one of the fastest growing, most valuable startups in recent history. It’s founder and CEO, Adam Neumann, was soaring as well, preparing to take his co-working empire public, which would make him a billionaire several times over. The company was growing at a historically rapid pace, doubling over the last year to over half a million members renting desks at WeWork locations in 111 cities globally. Revenues were compounding as well, on track to surpass $3 billion at the end of the year. 
(read more)
personality
Big Five vs 16-Personality
Personality assessments seem to be all the rage lately. Instagram accounts, Subreddits, and Facebook groups centered around different personality types have all formed and they’re gaining plenty of traction.
(read more)
personality
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex: How Personality Affected Her Relationship with the Press
The war on Meghan’s personality by the British tabloids has been one of the main tensions in the Sussex family for the last few years. It is what led them to sue the DailyMail in October of 2019 and, ultimately, leave the Royal Family in January of 2020. 
(read more)
Hobbies
Hobbies for Your DISC Type
I was recently reminded of the excitement of my childhood after-school activities when I passed by a group of four-foot-tall seven-year-olds kicking a soccer ball back and forth in the park.
(read more)
personality
Personality Neuroscience #4: The Big Five personality traits
This is Part 4 of our series on Personality Neuroscience. Click here to read from the beginning. Header image by Roslyn Ramos.   Over the past few decades, the Five Factor Model (the “Big Five”) has emerged as the most well-validated model of personality traits. As a result, most personality studies today use the Big Five as a foundation.
(read more)
personality
Which Parks and Rec Character Are You?
Over the course of its 7 season run, Parks and Rec (recreation) became a major hit.
(read more)