Openness to Experience: Definition, History, and Further Reading

Openness to experience is a personality trait that describes an individual’s curiosity, receptivity to new ideas, and ability to think abstractly. It is one of the five basic dimensions of personality, and has been studied extensively by psychologists since the advent of the Five-Factor Model in the 1980s.

The definition of openness to experience has changed over the years, as the understanding of this personality trait has evolved. Early definitions of openness to experience focused primarily on traits such as creativity, intellect, and culture. However, as researchers have gained a better understanding of the trait, the definition has shifted to encompass a broader range of behaviors, including curiosity, flexibility, imaginativeness, and aesthetic sensitivity.

Openness to experience is associated with a wide range of positive outcomes, such as creativity, intelligence, academic achievement, and psychological well-being. It has been linked to higher levels of self-awareness, as well as the ability to think abstractly and critically. This trait has also been shown to correlate with higher levels of cognitive functioning, as well as increased openness to new experiences.

The study of openness to experience is an area of ongoing research. In recent years, researchers have explored the relationship between openness to experience and mental health, as well as its implications for social and cultural identity.

For further reading on openness to experience, see the following scientific journal articles:

McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T., Jr. (1987). Validation of the five-factor model of personality across instruments and observers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(1), 81-90.

Cervone, D., & Pervin, L. A. (2008). Personality: Theory and research. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Digman, J. M. (1990). Personality structure: Emergence of the five-factor model. Annual Review of Psychology, 41(1), 417-440.

Mõttus, R., & Realo, A. (2008). Openness to experience: Relationships with general intelligence and academic achievement. Personality and Individual Differences, 44(3), 671-681.

McCrae, R. R. (2009). Openness to experience and its relation to culture and intellect. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4(3), 315-321.

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