Skip to main content

The Power of Habits

Lesson 14 of 34

Personality Dimensions

Art Markman

The Power of Habits

Art Markman

Starting under


Get access to this class +2000 more taught by the world's top experts

  • 24/7 access via desktop, mobile, or TV
  • New classes added every month
  • Download lessons for offline viewing
  • Exclusive content for subscribers

Lesson Info

14. Personality Dimensions


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Dr. Art Plays the Sax Duration:00:57
2 Intro to Your Habits Duration:31:16
3 The Rule of 3 Duration:36:02
4 Taking a Step Back Duration:18:11
5 Habits: Creating & Changing Duration:31:50
6 Understanding Your Habits Duration:39:52
7 The Motivation System Duration:26:39
8 The Arousal System Duration:32:38
9 Commiting to Your Goals Duration:28:15
10 Goal Satisfaction Duration:19:28
11 Abstract to Specific Goals Duration:33:13
12 The Big Picture Goals Duration:27:08
13 Know Yourself Duration:23:43
14 Personality Dimensions Duration:28:27
15 Experiences & Brainstorming Duration:33:50
16 Advanced Personalities Duration:28:35
17 Risk Tolerance & The Workplace Duration:36:16
18 Influence: Use the Environment Duration:35:24
19 Creating Consistent Mapping Duration:24:23
20 Affecting Others Duration:23:55
21 People in Our Environment Duration:28:14
22 Silos Duration:29:01
23 Building a Reef Duration:18:06
24 Approach & Avoidance Goals Duration:25:01
25 Affect vs Emotion Duration:23:57
26 Attribution & Choice Duration:37:10
27 Finding Causes Duration:36:00
28 Learning Causal Knowledge Duration:27:08
29 Reusing Knowledge Duration:25:07
30 Analogy: Problem Solving Duration:33:40
31 The Power of Redescription Duration:25:39
32 Defining the Problem Duration:22:09
33 Tools to Define Problems Duration:26:48
34 Planning a Problem Solution Duration:29:32

Lesson Info

Personality Dimensions

Here are the dimensions this these air the dimensions there called the big five by personality psychologists because there are five of them and uh but but the way that the big five came about was actually purely through experimentation through question asking essentially what personality psychologist did starting in the nineteen sixties was they just asked a ton of questions about people's behavior how often do you do go to the movies? How much do you like to interact with other people? How often do you get really angry at somebody? Just think of any question you could about about people's behavior and how often you do something or how much you like to do something or how much you wish you could do something, take all of those questions and put him into a big vat okay, and mix him up and do some statistics on it. For those of you who are really statistics geeks then uh then there's there's something called factor analysis that gets done on this. If you're not a statistics geek, don't w...

orry about it, but they do factor analysis on these questions and they ask, how do these questions hang together? Right in what ways does your answer from one question relate to your answer to all of these other questions? And when you do this kind of statistical analysis, what you find is that consistently there are five dimensions that seemed to do a really good job of predicting the way that people answer these kinds of questions, and when you begin to look at those five dimensions and asked, what are they? What is it that seems to be driving those answers? These are the five dimensions that come out, and they come out consistently meaning if I take the same personality inventory several different times, I'll get the same five dimensions. If I give it to several different people in different countries, in different cultures, you'll get the same five dimensions. I mean, this seems to come out in lots of different situations, okay? So what are those five dimensions? The first dimension is a dimension it's called extra version. Okay extra version versus in introversion. Okay, that's the first dimension. And I want to point out that it's very important to realize that for most of these dimensions, there isn't a good end and a bad end like, oh, I wish I'd come out on the other side. It it turns out that you think about it like this, that your motivational system wouldn't have a setting in it. That was always bad, right? That would be wiped out by evolution. Right if we had a setting that never worked for anyone that would be that we just I wouldn't exist anymore so really generally speaking there are sort of good good things and bad things about being on either end and if you actually have character both of those characteristics inside of you that's actually a reasonably good thing because it means you can adopt different kinds of situations okay extra version excuse me the extra version dimension reflects how much motivational e do you need to be the center of attention do you like to have that spot light of attention shone on you now that's not the way we often use the term introvert the term introvert is used all the time and in the popular press as a synonym for shy or herman and they're not the same thing okay introverts are people who don't really like that that spot light of attention shown on them they may have lots of friends but they like to interact with him a little bit behind the scenes you know they're the kind of people who may go into a volunteer organization and do stuff but not necessarily want any credit for it in any kind of a public way all right it's not the same thing is just being you know completely shy or being you know not wanting to deal with people at all so it's not like introverts wanna like close themselves up from the world okay, introverts just don't really want that spot light of attention and extroverts do right? So if you were the sort of person for example, who gets up on stage all the time and gives lectures and then in your spare times say performs and a band I don't know who that might be uh but if you were that sort of a person then you might be on the extroverted side of things okay um so the extroverts really get energy from from having that spot light of attention on them? Yeah, I've always had trouble with it like the term extra version because part of my definition of extra version is if you're you know, a group you introduce yourself you start conversation, you talk, which I think oh, I do and a lot of situations yet I don't really like the attention on me and I do get energy from not being with people, right? Right um and so that right, what that would say is that you've got a little bit of of of of everything going on but probably a little bit more on the introverted side of things so you're not afraid of people all right? But introversion doesn't mean afraid of people it just means not really comfortable having that kind of social spotlight on you so that to me is, you know, is reasonably consistent with with being an introvert and and you know there's a difference between walking up to people in a social setting and introducing yourself and sort of creating the crowd right there are there are some people you know so the introvert way of meeting people like at a social networking event it's the kind of, you know, walk around the edges the crowd, introduce yourself to someone who may not be talking to anybody else at the moment have a conversation with them and engage with them, then move on to somebody else. And the extroverted way of of engaging these social network things is to find this group that's already talking to each other and step into the middle and introduced yourself to everybody and engage in the conversation and make a couple of jokes and, you know, do things that that attracts amount of the attention, right and that's, you know, notice that by the end of the networking thing, everybody's met people, right? But the difference wass were you doing it in a way that attracted attention to yourself or did you do it in a way that was often a little bit more one on one and a little bit more kind of behind the scenes? Yeah, so how we could interpret it this scoring like, if you write on the middle, so how I can't describe myself like or are extra yeah, so so what I would say is that if you're in the middle, so if you're in the extremes, then you have a label, right? You're ten ten towards real introversion or extra version, if you're in the middle, what you say is that on that extra version dimension I've got, I've got both, you know, there are situations in which I'm willing to be it the center of attention, their situations in which I'm a little bit uncomfortable with that and and that I don't I don't do either one and that's actually, you know, that's a kind of a great place to be I mean, I think the middle on a lot of these dimensions is actually ah, wonderful place to be there's a reason why most people are sort of in the middle of most of those dimensions, right? Because, ah lot of social situations really do require balancing those things out, someone who is driven to be the center of attention, every situation is really annoying, right? I mean, you know, somebody, you can't let anyone else be the center of attention, they've gotta have everybody looking at them that's, that's actually kind of problematic, right? So so if you've got somebody who's, who's, sort of will, you know, so if you're the sort of person is willing you know when necessary to kind of take on that mantle of you know I'm gonna have people looking at me but then at other times really give other people that opportunity to do that that's I think that's a very healthy thing so that's our first dimension extra version um our second dimension is agreeableness now I must admit right when when they labeled these terms they often used words that make it seem like one of these uh these one of these is better than the other because if you think about agreeableness what's the opposite of agreeable disagreeable which just sounds unpleasant right to be disagreeable you think so everyone would think I should be agreeable right that's the best the best wayto exist in the world is to be agreeable right don't we want that well so what is agreeableness agreeableness is again it's a motivational thing now the question is how much as a personality characteristic do you need people tto like you okay so do you walk around the world structure in your interactions in the hope that people are gonna like you when they get to the end of that interaction now that's an interesting one because on the one hand we certainly it's certainly nice to be in a situation in which you structure your world so that you say things that are nice to people that you did you try to make people feel comfortable to feel at home those air those air very good characteristics in certain ways on the disagreeable end of things it's not so much that when you're in the disagreeable end of things that you go out of your way to get people not toe like you so disagreeable doesn't necessarily mean irritable it's more like you're you don't really care that much whether people like you or not it's just not the way that you structure your interactions you structure interactions and that and whether you are socially loved at the end of it doesn't matter so much to you so what does that mean if you're disagreeable you are often willing to tell people things they don't want to hear all right? So you're willing to give criticism because think about this when you criticize somebody else when you criticize somebody else they don't like you in that moment very much or at least it sort of feels that way you know if somebody gives you an essay to read, you know and you think, oh, this is awful right if you're a very agreeable person you're like oh wow, thanks that was really interesting was a really interesting thing to read wow, I've never read anything quite like that before, right? Whereas the disagreeable person goes well, all right, you got a lot to work on here, you know and they'll and they'll they'll give you all the specific criticisms and they don't really care whether when you get to the end of that you they like you know that that that that you like them or not okay so you know and disagreeable people are also much more willing to stick up for themselves so an agreeable person will go along with what you want to do right so so you know the agreeable person you know you say them let's go to the movies and you don't feel like going to the movies but you're agreeable so you're like all right you know and you go along with it the disagreeable person says and no I don't want to do that I want to do something else right? So they're sticking up for themselves which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on the situation and how strongly you do it so for example it was a really interesting paper that came out not long ago looking at agreeableness in the workplace so it turns out that disagreeable people and particularly disagreeable men make more money than agreeable people okay, why is that? Because disagreeable people are much more likely to go into the boss's office and ask for a raise okay? They're much more likely to kind of make themselves noticed in those ways now interestingly, disagreeable people are also more likely to get fired than agreeable people although they make more money even taking into account the greater likelihood of getting fired okay because they really do stick up for themselves a lot more and um there are very few gender differences in psychology you know, we we often I mean there are some but but not as many as we'd like to think one interesting gender difference at least in the united states is that there's a the biggest difference in between agreeable and disagreeable people in their success in the workplace happens for men and not for women so um men are seen as much weaker leaders when they're very agreeable than when they're disagreeable women not so much women are seen as equally good leaders regardless of their level of agreeableness and it's a little bit hard to interpret the data on uh money because unfortunately there's still a gender difference in pe overall in the that that women are making less money over all for the same jobs than men are and so it's a little bit hard to know what's going on with that that gender difference in agreeableness for how much people are paid but but agreeableness really does influence your willingness to stick up for yourself your willingness to criticize and so you know it's probably a little bit dangerous to be too agreeable it's probably a little bit dangerous to be too disagreeable and it's not so bad to be in the middle now here's what's important right when you think about these kinds of personality characteristics they are creating habits so let's think about this starting from a young age, you're the sort of person who really, really wants to get along with other people. And you noticed early on that if you say something that's a little bit critical of somebody else, that that isn't necessarily what they want to hear if you go against what they want to do, that they're not happy with you in that moment, and what that does is it creates the habit to avoid conflict in lots of situations in your life. And so if you all, if you know somebody who's really conflict avoidance, what they've done is that they have they have created a habit over the course of their lives as a result of years of wanting to be liked by other people that keeps that that tries to help them to to sugar coat things. And this could be a real problem. For example, in the workplace, if you've ever had a really agreeable boss, it's very hard to have an agreeable boss because think about the kinds of feedback you get from them. You know, imagine you do a really bad job on something, and you go in your boss's office and you sit down your bosses. Well, that didn't go so well and I don't know, I know you worked really hard and it was a tough situation but you know, I may be next time we need to you know, do something a little bit differently or better and, you know, thanks and then you leave the office in your boston wow, that was hard I'm glad I got through that and you walk out of the office it's on who? Yeah, I worked hard, I was awesome, you know it's very hard and then later your boss comes up and says, why didn't you do things differently the next time you're like? But you told me I worked hard, right? Because you get a miscommunication people who are too agreeable have a really hard time giving that kind of criticism, and so part of what you need to do if you're too agreeable is to create strategies for helping you to be more direct often teach very agreeable people the value of the simple declare it of sentence, right? This didn't go well, we need to change right? And sometimes you have to in order to develop the habit to speak more directly, you need to actually create a little script for yourself now I don't know how many of you have seen the movie bull durham okay, but bull durham was this great baseball movie and uh and and in the movie there's a manager of this minor league baseball team who's a very agreeable guy he wants to get along with all of its players but as the manager every once in a while he has to give a player some bad news often that bad news involves being released or traded to another team and so several times through the course of the movie he has this prepared speech he gives in which he is informing a player that he's been released you are traded and so he's you know and so he goes through this speech as a way of getting himself to give this bit of bad news and the speech is kind of humorous by the end of the movie because you because you realize what's coming but but that strategy is actually not a bad one if you have difficulties delivering bad news to someone if you need to script it out to get yourself into saying something directly so that you so that you speak clearly to someone that's actually a great way of developing habit to help you deal with an element of your personality that might make something very difficult to do so that's the agreeableness dimension ok so far we've gotten two extra version agreeable third time I wish there were only three right then we just have the rule of three but unfortunately there are five um the third dimension is conscientiousness okay conti again that's another one where you think oh, I should be on the conscientious end of things right because otherwise I'm not on the conscientious and that that seems wrong I shouldn't be what is conscientiousness conscientiousness reflects two aspects of your motivational system how much do you really like to make sure that you get things completed that you get things done and how much do you really feel like it's important for you to follow the rules okay um so in many situations of course we like conscientious people you know, if let's live let's think about this if you're planning a party right that karaoke party and you want somebody to help you to bring refreshments you'd like to call one of your conscientious friends uh to do that for you because if you call one of your less conscientious friends and say yeah, I need you to pick up some snacks and some drinks for the party and then they show up and you're like, where the snacks and drinks and you're like, uh oh, I'll be back you know, um they forget things they don't get stuff done right and in business right? Anyone who's ever you know, in a business setting we know the conscientious people, right? We know the ones we can rely on to get things done and we know the people that we're gonna have to hound in order to make sure that they get stuff completed okay, so so you know, on the one hand we think conscientiousness could be really great and obviously conscientious people come to the attention of others in group settings so whether you're in a volunteer organisation or in a business you you identify those conscientious people and you give them stuff to do you know you can rely on them and often conscientious people get top to become managers in business is very quickly because they they they come to the attention of oh, this is someone I can rely on they get put into a leadership track so there's a lot of wonderful things about conscientiousness but here's the problem I'm conscientious people because they like to follow the rules often don't do things that are all that innovative, so if you look at the people who are really innovators who are really inventors, those air people who are actually moderate or even low in conscientiousness because they are not necessarily doing things the way they're supposed to be done so the conscientious person says nope gotta follow step one and step two and step three the person is less conscientious is thinking, you know, he doesn't need to be done that way step two doesn't actually seem like it's actually that important or maybe we could do it this other way and so that willingness to break the rules you know, obviously the willingness to break the rules could be good or bad depending on exactly what those rules are those air if those rules are structures of of of a dough of a domain right where breaking those rules might lead to something really creative then that's wonderful if those rules are, you know, for example, laws then then being a willing to kind of break, break the laws or assume that those those rules don't apply to you maybe that could be a little bit dangerous, right? Um but but it's it's there is some value in the willingness to treat the rules as mere guidelines as opposed to a strong structures on your life because that's, what really allows you to consider some of these alternate possibilities that can often lead to riel innovations? And if you look inside organizations and we've actually done some studies with some big companies, if you look at the people in companies who are really innovative, they are often kind of moderate or low and conscientiousness, and this is this is sort of interesting because a lot of companies reward people for being conscientious. So if you look at who's getting the raises it's often the really conscientious people, the people who are getting stuff done and the lower the people lower in conscientiousness who might actually end up creating the innovation that saves the nous are not getting rewarded for it and if you look at a lot of big companies and you talk to the people who are and who are considered by their peers is being really innovative and really creative you know and you to find people sort of mid to late career and interview them ah lot of have say a very similar thing they say you know I survived in this company despite the system and not because of it right where luck as luck would have it they managed to stumble through and then turned out to be uh extraordinarily valuable because companies tend not to nurture the people who aren't that conscientious because they're they're really interested particularly early in your career on people who are going to get stuff done and so if you're a low conscientiousness person early in your career you have to masquerade as a has a highly conscientious person if you can in order to make sure that you don't ruffle too many feathers and then let that let that lower level of conscientiousness out you know when when you've got a little bit more stability yes so would you say like a practical application of that would be like let's say that you identify someone who's low on the scale and there the person who might come toe work late like six minutes late right and maybe as a conscience persons that's like that feels unacceptable because we should all be here on time are you saying that you kind of give people like different kind of standards by which to hold them to well yeah so so really I mean you have to you know you have to ask as an organization what are you going to value so some organizations really value everyone following the rules if I'm going to be here at nine you're going to be here at nine and some organizations care about that and some organizations don't care about that there are universities and you know luckily I've always said it's it's you know I am lucky that there are institutions called universities that sequester people like me and give us productive things to do in society right but one of the things about universities is nobody's paying any attention to what time we show up in what time we leave they just want to know did we get any ethan done and some organizations air like that they don't care you know if I roll I mean I get that I get to work early I had a colleague where if we ever met if we ever had a meeting face to face it had to be at four o'clock in the afternoon because that was the only point of overlap in our days I would leave around five five thirty he would get he would roll in to work about four o'clock but he'd be up until three a m working right and so um and that was great we were all fine with that but then there are other organizations where you're going to clock in at nine you're gonna clock out at five and that's the way it's going to be um you know uh each of those organisations is going to cater to a different dimension of of conscientiousness right? So there's a reason why universities air also bizarre in there in their administrative structures it's because you take a whole bunch of people who are moderate to low and conscientiousness and then you ask some of them to run the place which is a little a little strange is why we need highly conscientious staff people to keep us in compliance with federal regulations but it's you know it's you know it's it's a different debt about about howto structure your workplace and and it's worth I mean, you know, one of things I liked about your question is you know you then have to recognize sometimes you know if you're a very conscientious person and you are prone to look at somebody else who seems to be breaking the rules and thinking to yourself they're getting away with something that annoys me um you have to ask yourself how important is it right to be worried about that? I I have a friend who's a therapist who uses the phrase sometimes do I do I want to die on this hill today right. In terms of the arguments you want to get in and you have to ask yourself, do you know if if I have somebody who consistently shows up five or ten minutes late to work, you know, is there is there a reason to crack down on that? And the and by the way, the answer could be yes, depending on the the importance of rule following within the organization and jenna. All right, so think about think about on organization whose whose task is to make sure you like a regulatory organization, for example, whose whose job is to make sure everyone's following the rules. You know what in an organisation like that, making sure that you that you forced everyone to follow even the detailed rules is a way of enforcing a culture that says we are a rule following culture? Because that's, what makes our organization succeed? There are other organizations, like universities, where they sort of let everyone let their own flag fly, because that's what allows the university six to succeed universities succeed if people are trying all kinds of things nobody's considered before right, most organisations fall somewhere in between. And so you have to ask yourself, who do we want to be right? So not only I mean, every organization will cater to particular, uh, personality types and and what that means is, you know, can I make a conscientious person? Sorry, can I make someone who isn't very conscientious show up on time to work every day? I can, but they might not like it, and if they don't like it enough, they might leave, which could be fine with you. But what are the implications of having an organization in which every single person is highly conscientious? You're gonna get a lot of stuff done, but everyone's going to follow the rules? Is that good for your business? Maybe could be depends on what you do. Any other questions that had come in from? Yeah, we had a question come in from brainiac in the chat room, and they say low that name's a good name wouldn't willingness to break the rules be more like being disagreeable. I'm conscientious and accountable, but I'm also regarded as a rule breaker and innovative. Yeah, um so in the data, the willingness to break rules seems to fit with, um, the conscientiousness dimension mohr than the agreeable estimate. However, one of the things that is true is think about your willingness to show other people that you like to break the rules. So you know, there's a there's a there's an issue of you know of what do you do in in public versus what do you do in private and there's a lot of research on this, so for example, people are much more willing to cheat on something when nobody's watching then when they know somebody's watching right um now cheating is generally what cheating means is doing something that breaks a rule that somebody has and in a way that I'm aware that I'm doing that um so agreeableness will influence the strength of that that's social influence on your behavior so someone who is very who's really low and conscientiousness might not care that much about those rules and might be prone to want to take something from somebody else. But if there and if there's somewhat disagreeable, they might also be willing to to bend some of those rules even when they know other people are watching maybe not cheating but but someone who flaunts walking into the office late for example, you know, you know, if you watch if you watch mad men right then then ah, don draper is both kind of low and conscientiousness, you know, probably in an alcohol fuel old way and and also not particularly agreeable right and so he's perfectly willing to flaunt wandering into the office at nine thirty a little hung over right. Um, somebody who is very agreeable, but not so conscientious is going to show up at nine, hung over. And, uh, you know, because other people are watching, but may still do all kinds of, you know, maybe prone to break other kinds of rules in more in more private setting. So these things interact with each other.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available here as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers. 

Setting a goal is one thing, but actually doing the work to achieve that goal is a totally different endeavor. If you want to hit your targets and make lasting changes in your life, join author and psychologist Art Markman, Ph.D., to learn what it takes to build and maintain healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

This course won’t serve up superficial self-help tips; instead, you’ll dive into the latest cognitive science behind behavior change. You’ll learn how to build new, positive habits and break the cycle of existing negative ones. You’ll explore what it takes to sustain healthy habits over time and increase your chances of maintaining new habits by empowering your friends and family to make positive changes, too.

Don’t waste another day simply wishing you could make a change that really sticks — equip yourself with the techniques you need to transform your life in measurable, powerful, and positive ways.


Tanya Johnston

Fantastic! I'm loving this course and am so grateful to have the opportunity to listen to Art's great insight on behavior and ways to tweak it. Thank you, really awesome.


Wow. Very engaging, entertaining, and enlightening. Art Markman is so much fun to watch and listen to during the entire 3 day class. His brain dump has zero fluff. The concentration of so much information is incredible, and how he gets it into your head is mind boggling. He's whipped my brains into a spongy soufflé. I am so happy I discovered this class. Thank you!