Life potentials Openness to Experience Definition

Openness to experience is one of the “super traits” in the Big Five model of personality. The trait has six dimensions: active imagination, attentiveness to inner feelings, aesthetic sensitivity, adventurousness, preference for variety & liberal ideas, and intellectual curiosity.

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Openness to experience definition

The Big Five Super Trait: Openness to Experience 

Openness to Experience is one of the super traits belonging to the Big Five model used to describe the major drivers of human personality. The other four are ConscientiousnessExtraversionAgreeableness and Neuroticism, which you can read about in separate posts.

What does the trait Openness to Experience measure? 

Under the super traits of the Big Five are sub traits which helps zero in on the different aspects of our personality. When you take the Big Five Personality test, what Openness to Experience measures is your: 

  • tendency to fantasize
  • emotional awareness
  • aesthetic sensitivity (how you perceive the beauty of objects around you)
  • novelty preference
  • preference for non-traditional values and 
  • intellectual curiosity.

The Big Five dimensions are just a broad summary of your personality traits. Within the domain Openness to Experience are 6 facets which will help you gain a fuller understanding of your inclination towards Openness.

The 6 Facets of Openness to Experience

1. Imagination or Fantasy 

High Score – Loves to fantasize and has a creative imagination. 

Low Score – Prefers facts to fantasy.

2. Emotionality or Feelings 

High Score – Aware of their own feelings. 

Low Score – Less aware of their feelings and not so good at expressing emotions.

3. Artistic Interests or Aesthetics 

High Score – Interested in natural or artificial beauty. Appreciates the Arts. 

Low Score – Not aesthetically sensitive. No interest in the arts.

4. Adventurousness or Actions 

High Score – Loves traveling to new places, experiencing new things and trying new activities. Hates routine. 

Low Score – Prefers routine and the familiar. Uncomfortable with change.

5. Liberalism or Values 

High Score – Tends to challenge authority and question traditional values. At its most extreme, this facet can mean hostility to the law and established rules.

Low Score – Prefers the stability and security of tradition and rules.

6. Intellectual Interests or Ideas (Not the same as Intelligence) 

High Score – Loves to play and debate with ideas. Engages in intellectual discussions. Enjoys puzzles, riddles and brain teasers. 

Low Score – Prefers actual people and things to abstract ideas. Thinks intellectual discussions are a waste of their time.

What your score means

People who score high on Openness to Experience will have most of the following traits: 

  • Wide range of interests. More in the Arts and Sciences.
  • Open to new knowledge.
  • Adventurous. Likes to explore new things.
  • Philosophical thinker.
  • Introspective. In touch with emotions.
  • Thinks in symbols, metaphors and notices patterns.
  • Likes abstract concepts.
  • Pursues higher levels of understanding.
  • Seeks intellectual stimulation.
  • Reacts to aesthetics. Sees the beauty of things.
  • Hates routine.
  • Open to unconventional ideas.
  • Loves to fantasize. Imaginative.
  • Challenges existing rules and authority.
  • Can be totally absorbed in something.
  • Assertive and vocal about opinions and emotions.
  • Impulsive. · Exhibits goal-directed behavior.
  • Industrious and Persevering which often leads to Success.
  • Flexible and is not constrained by rigid beliefs and values. 

There are personality disorders which are related to high openness scores, often getting in the way of social and professional effectiveness: 

  • Extreme ideas and a peculiar way of thinking that alienates people.
  • Inability to meet goals.
  • Too much fantasizing.
  • Extreme non-conformity to society’s standards.
  • Prefers chaos and disorder. 

People who score low on Openness to Experience are on the other side of the spectrum. They often have the following traits:

  • Likes predictability and structure.
  • Conformist.
  • Prefers following a routine.
  • Does not easily adapt to change.
  • Makes mainstream choices.
  • Low tolerance for different worldviews or lifestyles.
  • Narrow range of interests.
  • Play-it-safe.

To summarize, Openness to Experience is a Big Five dimension which distinguishes creative and imaginative individuals from conventional and more practical ones. Your scores does not mean that you’re either bad or good. It’s only meant to show you your inclinations. Take this test and know your score on the 6 facets of Openness to Experience. Truity: How Open Are You?

You can find more interesting facts and articles about your personality here.


  1. Openness to experience, plasticity, and creativity: Exploring lower-order, high-order, and interactive effects
  2. Wikipedia: Openness to Experience
  3. Scientific American: Openness to Experience and Creative Achievement
  4. About Parenting: Definition of Openness to Experience

Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are

What does your personality look like? Read more about the Big Five Model of personality in the book "Personality: What Makes You the Way You Are" by Harvard graduate Shawn Achor.

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