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Who Am I Anyway? An Investigation of Personality Essay

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Updated: Jun 1st, 2021

Abstract

The present project focused on studying personality differences among students from two different colleges. The data collection process involved administering the OCEAN personality test to all participants. The results were compared based on the mean scores in each domain.

The hypothesis was that students from Medgar Evers College would score higher than those from LaGuardia College. The results proved the hypothesis to be true for all domains except for neuroticism, where MEC students scored less than LGC students. The outcomes of the project indicate that MEC students are more likely to experience the benefits of positive personality traits in their career and daily life. LGC, on the other hand, students require more support in developing the aspects of their personality related to communication.

Introduction

Personality research is an exciting field of psychology that seeks to identify and explain the differences in people’s behaviors, attitudes, and other personal characteristics. Throughout the years, scholars have created a wide variety of methods used to assess one’s personality based on certain domains. The results of such tests can be used both by individuals to better understand themselves and by researchers to uncover common trends in certain populations. In the present paper, the research focused on whether or not students from two different schools have different results on the OCEAN personality test.

In order to learn more about the topic, the researcher used the OCEAN test, also known as the Big Five. The researcher chose to administer the test to students in two different schools: Medgar Evers College and LaGuardia College. The main hypothesis was that students from MEC would have higher results in all domains than the students from LG. Statistical data analysis was used to analyze the results and identify common trends and differences. Further sections of the paper will expand on the methodology and discuss the results of the research.

Method

Participants

The participants included students from Psych class who were enrolled in MEC or LGC at the time of conducting the study. At MEC, a large share of students majored in psychology, but there was no information on majors of students at LG. Similarly, no information on the demographic characteristics of these students was provided, which could impact the possibility to discuss and analyze the results correctly. Among MEC students, there were only three male students, and the rest of the class were females. The class was ethnically diverse and included students of Caucasian, African American, and Hispanic ethnic origins.

Procedure

The data collection took place on January 27, 2019, during the Sunday Psych 322 class in classroom C07 of the AB-1 building in MEC. Each participant accessed an online version of the OCEAN test and was given brief information about the study, its goals, and plans with regards to the dissemination of results. To protect students’ confidentiality, the researcher used personal identification numbers in place of names and refrained from collecting identifying information such as their address, date of birth, and similar items. All students expressed their informed consent to participate in the project verbally, which is why no informed consent form was used.

Materials

The key material used for data collection was the online OCEAN personality test, which was accessed by each student from their personal computer through the website www.truity.com/personality-test. The chosen tool is based on the OCEAN personality model, which stipulates that the key individual differences among people step from variations in one of the psychological domains (Ziegler, Horstmann, & Ziegler, 2019). There are five domains included in the model, which are reflected in the abbreviation: openness, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion, and neuroticism (Ziegler et al., 2019).

The online personality test has 60 questions in the form of statements used to assess an individual’s score in each domain. The participants respond to each statement by marking its degree of accuracy in relation to them. For instance, there are statements such as “I have a kind word for everyone,” “I am always prepared,” and “I feel comfortable around people” (Truity, 2017). Given the fact that the test relies on subjective measures, the results reflect how each individual perceives themselves.

Results

All of the students who signed up to participate in the study completed the full test, which allowed them to evaluate the results in great detail. Using statistical analysis, the researcher compared and contrasted the results of students from MEC and LG. Students from MEC scored higher in openness, showing a mean openness score of 76.92 as opposed to LG students’ mean of 67.28. The difference in conscientiousness was not as striking since MEC students achieved a mean score of 59.73 and LG students showed a mean result of 58.14. MEC students also scored higher than those from LaGuardia in extroversion and agreeableness, with mean scores of 58.80 and 76.26, respectively.

For comparison, LG students achieved mean results of 49.76 and 71.14 in extroversion and agreeableness. Lastly, in neuroticism, the results showed by MEC students were also better. The mean score shown by MEC students in this domain was 45.57, whereas students from LaGuardia scored the mean result of 57.95.

Discussion

The hypothesis was that students from MEC would score higher than students from LG in all five personality domains evaluated in the test. Based on the results above, the hypothesis was only partly true. While MEC students indeed achieved higher scores in openness, extroversion, and agreeableness, they had a lower outcome in neuroticism. Although this result deviates from the proposed hypothesis, it means that MEC students have a lower chance of developing psychological complications associated with neuroticism, such as anxiety and depression (Aldinger et al., 2014).

Additionally, the results in the conscientiousness domain were only slightly different, which indicates that students from both groups are likely to benefit from diligence and cautiousness. As explained by Roberts, Lejuez, Krueger, Richards, and Hill (2014), moderate to high conscientiousness is associated with health, success, and positive aging. Incidentally, higher scores in openness, extroversion, and agreeableness showed by MEC students can also have a positive impact on their future career, as they are associated with success in the workplace (Hachana, Berraies, & Ftiti, 2018). Overall, the results are mostly positive for MEC students but also indicate that students from LaGuardia need more support in developing their communication skills and attitudes and decreasing neuroticism.

Although the test provided quantitative results that could be interpreted clearly, there are concerns with regards to its validity and reliability. This is mainly because the test relies on perceived characteristics and is thus subjective. It is possible that allowing students to assess one another would produce different results, which indicates low validity. Additionally, if the same person took the test more than once, they could have different outcomes based on their mood and self-perception. This indicates that the reliability of the tool is also low.

Despite the limitations discussed above, the project provided valuable insight into individual differences and their possible effects on a person. It also raised some questions with regards to the determinants of differences in personal characteristics, and it is suggested that future research focuses on this problem.

For example, it would be useful to evaluate whether the low score of LG students in domains related to communication is connected with the academic environment (e.g., few opportunities for teamwork and interaction). The results of future research would help to explain the outcomes of the project and provide more information on the topic of personality development.

References

Aldinger, M., Stopsack, M., Ulrich, I., Appel, K., Reinelt, E., Wolff, S.,… Barnow, S. (2014). . BMC Psychiatry, 14(1), 210-222. Web.

Hachana, R., Berraies, S., & Ftiti, Z. (2018). Journal of Innovation Economics Management, 3(27), 169-193. Web.

Roberts, B. W., Lejuez, C., Krueger, R. F., Richards, J. M., & Hill, P. L. (2014). Developmental Psychology, 50(5), 1315-1331. Web.

Truity. (2017). The Big Five Personality Test. Web.

Ziegler, M., Horstmann, K. T., & Ziegler, J. (2019). Personality in situations: Going beyond the OCEAN and introducing the Situation Five. Psychological Assessment, 31(4), 567-580.

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