Monthly Archives: June 2013

Personality: Your ”Big 5” Characteristics

PersonalityThere exists many theories of personality, and of these nearly all avoid defining what exactly the stuff of personality is. The Big 5 theory is the easiest of theories to comprehend. This theory explains that we are unique individuals whose personalities are different, but that differences are only in degree. The Big 5, refer to the following traits, that they are in each of us:

1] AGREEABLENESS: this trait implies we all have varied temperments, diplomatic skill, and that we are easy or difficult to get along with;
that we hold people’s health, well~being in high regard, and that we can suppress the ‘self’ for others’ benefit;
3] EXTROVERSION: the degree to which we seek new experiences, adventure, and independence;
4] OPENNESS: the ability to share our ideas, feelings, and beliefs with others;
5] EMOTIONAL STABILITY: the degree to which we are affected by stress, whether our behavior is consistent over time.

We can draw interesting inferences simply by understanding these definitions. Also, we can safely state that people each have a greater absence or presence of each of these traits, and that these variations make up our behavioral inclination, thus, global personality. This term can be defined, in my opinion, as follows:


Why this definition? Since experts cannot agree upon a term (across many academic fields), we look to how the social sciences define Personality Disorder, and flip it on its head. A personality disorder then, points to ”any mental disorder manifested by maladjustments in motivation and maladaptive patterns relating to ones social environment” (Reber, 2005: 527).

Now we are getting deeper! We know that using this theory, we each develop~more or less~of each of these traits; that if we imagine traits along a spectrum, say from 1~to~10, we can build a simple profile of who our traits claim we are if you assign yourself 5 personal numbers. From that set of numbers we can hypothesize what we would do in particular situations.
And we can also learn where to strengthen our ‘selves’!

Personality is a part of us that people try to measure everyday. Quantifying personality, that is, measuring it, is of benefit to business, education, and criminology (by design, the areas that the RippleFX Foundation operates).

Personality change can alert people to disease (alcoholism) or disorder (depression). Personality, is considered an inflexible thing, alterable only through life~changing events (war~PTSD; birth~post~partem depression), or other trauma.
Personality (behaviorial propensities) however, can also be consciously re~molded!
Introducing how behavior develops into personality is one goal of The RippleFX Foundation. We are working to reinforce the prosocial side of our Big 5 traits in the criminal justice system now! See our Criminal Justice page to download actual copies of our research~based publications. These workbooks were designed to enrich extroversion, openness, agreeableness, conscienciousness, and emotional stability. Please sponsor a class or download a copy for a loved one. Help us further our community efforts by purchasing a t~shirt via email, or donate to us at any Bank of America location.

What is your personality profile? Where can you use development? Are you a parent? If so, remember this post and use these concepts. Your child’s future may depend on it.


-Aurther Reber and Emily Reber. DICTIONARY OF PSYCHOLOGY. N.Y. Penguin, 2005.

-Photo of brainscan by, Bill Bosking.


Charles Horton Cooley: Reluctant Sociologist

Cooley, born during the year of African slave emancipation in America, died in the year of another historic event: Black Friday, the year The Great Depression began. Like many great minds, he came from dark times.

Cooley’s father was a Michigan State Supreme Court Justice, who also taught at Michigan, the place Cooley would also later teach. Cooley was one of America’s first sociologists (and disliked being labeled a sociologist). He influenced many eminent scholars such as, George Herbert Mead and the psycholgist, William James, who was cousin to philosopher, Jeremy Bentham.

Cooley began his academic career with an engineering degree, working briefly for the Census office and the Interstate Commerce Commission. After his graduate studies, Cooley taught Michigan~Ann Arbor’s first sociology course, and immersed himself with theorizing and research regarding the concept of the ‘self’.

Cooley’s notion of the ”looking~glass self” (his most significant idea) highlighted that peoples’ self~concept and personalities were socially constructed, that we are social reflections, that we are the image people reflect back upon us.

Cooley provided an additional contribution in 1899, when he noted in a paper, that the rise of industrialization had led to the subsequent weakening of the nuclear family (mom, dad, kids: the nucleus). Cooley stated Industrialization had stretched the primary family bonds and traditions, and the weakening family had become an exacerbated problem by the increase in individuality.

These two (2) concepts remain relevant and even puzzling. This is because Cooley expounded upon them, lived in heightened awareness of an era of extensive social changes, but he could do nothing to fix them! The images his ideas conjure, when combined, are of Cooley standing helplessly amid the fraying traditional American family, and all the while acknowledging he is but a reflection of them, of society; aware of the changing fabric and unable to reflect much back, being prodded by his own invention!

That society and the individual influence eachother is not a profound concept; it’s profound, however, when individuals refuse to positively influence their world, to shape it: THAT is truly profound.

Here at the RippleFX Foundation, we help you to influence others, taking each quadrant of society and creating a movement toward synergy between the people and their communties. We need you to help us, to recall what you really need your reflection to mean. After all, while the ‘self’ is yours alone, it is the people who give that to you.

It’s time to pick up where Cooley could not: help us give back to our community using the principle of the ripple effect. What can you accomplish for others?
Knowing you can fix a problem and ignoring that call is a neglegent act. Turn to the light?


-John Scott and Gordon Marshall. DICTIONARY OF SOCIOLOGY. Oxford U.P. : NY 2005.

-photo: public domain

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