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Openness. McCrae & Sutin (2009) Openness to Experience . Definition. Definition of Openness As a concept is hard to explain, McCrae & Costa describes it as ‘Openness is seen in the breadth, depth and permeability of consciousness and the recurrent need to enlarge and examine experience’

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McCrae & Sutin (2009) Openness to Experience


Definition of Openness

As a concept is hard to explain, McCrae & Costa describes it as ‘Openness is seen in the breadth, depth and permeability of consciousness and the recurrent need to enlarge and examine experience’

Open people are generally seen as imaginative, sensitive to art and beauty, emotionally differentiated, behaviourally flexible, intellectually curious and liberal in values

openness and facets
Openness and Facets

Six facets of Openness: Fantasy, Aesthetics, Feelings, Actions, Ideas and Values

The Facets of Openness are the most loosely related of all 5 of the factors

So Openness is the most broad of all the Personality factors


Openness increase during early adolescence, but decreases after the mid twenties

Open people admire other open people, closed people despise it

Openness is related to Consciousness, Integrative Complexity (considering a range of options before coming to a conclusion), Emotional Intelligence and Recognition and experience seeking ( facet of Extraversion)

Negatively related to Authoritarianism and Need for Closure

openness and social interaction
Openness and Social Interaction

Social presentation

Marriage and family

Strangers and Friends

social presentation
Social presentation

How open people express themselves: they express their creativity and intellectual curiosity, and need for variety through humour, verbal fluency and expression in interaction (hand gestures etc.)

They are more unconventional (not just about being artistic, but about uniqueness i.e. how they decorate their houses)

Love of novelty

social perception
Social Perception

Perceivers are good at detecting the cues that open people express

Spend more time in bars, coffee houses, shops

False perceptions of Open people- they are more likely to have more info and pics on their social networking sites

First encounter biases- people make very quick judgements on whether some one is open or closed, once this judgement is formed it is hard to change (differs from judgements of Agreeableness and Conscientiousness which require frequent confirmatory evidence)

marriage and family
Marriage and Family

Although there is social expectation that people should marry Open people are more likely to break the mould and chose not to marry

This is because open people are high on absorption and low on Traditionalism. Less likely to be conventional

People looking for a partner look for people with the same levels of openness as priority (agreeableness and then extraversion after)


Marital difficulties- are more likely to resolve conflicts through problem focused solving, whereas closed people are more likely to use demand withdraw

Open people more likely to see others perspective

Closed people more likely to ignore problem, leads to poor communication and relationship satisfaction is lower


Open parents more open minded, tolerant, listen to child\'s perspective and understanding of child\'s emotion

Closed parents more authoritarianism, stricter, demand obedience

Open parents are less likely to report child\'s misbehaviour as a major daily stressor.

Could be because open parents more tolerant of child\'s misbehaviour rather than them being better behaved

strangers and friends
Strangers and Friends

Similarity correlations between friends are modest for all factors but highest for Openness ( r = .35)

Low openness is linked to problems in interpersonal functioning

They have more conflict with friends, lose their sense of self when interacting with strong minded others and easily persuaded by others

Closed people more likely to feel intimidated by philosophical and political debates. See differences of opinion as a threat

openness and work group
Openness and Work group

High team level openness is generally advantageous but only for certain tasks and in certain contexts

Open members contribute by generating new ideas, promoting free discussion and synthesizing team efforts. And promotes emergent leadership (the ability to take charge of a group)

Openness predicts success in investigative tasks (problem solving) but was unrelated to success in social, conventional or enterprising tasks

Managers high in Openness rated higher in performance

However Openness is unrelated to goal clarity, achieving relationship harmony and how well groups get along

social and political affects
Social and Political affects

Open people value uniqueness and individuality

Closed people are loyal and patriotic

Closed people have an intolerance for out groups

Racism, sexism, homophobia, prejudice against those with mental disabilities are all inversely related to Openness

Open people more liberal and closed people more conservative

openness and culture
Openness and Culture

Some cultures are generally more open than others (though differences are generally small)

Most open countries- Switzerland, Serbia, Austria, Germany

Lowest scores are – Crotia, Spain, Hong Kong, Malaysia and India

These suggest that modern well educated cultures are higher on openness than traditional cultures

Openness is significantly related to low power distance, high individualism and high masculinity