Behavioral Finance and the Big Five

A recent Morningstar article is the first in a new series that will share insights from the study of the “Big Five” personality traits and their relationship to investor behavioral biases.

Developed in the 1940’s, the “Big Five” list of personality traits are as follows:

The article compares the Big Five to the Myers-Briggs (MBTI) personality test, introduced by psychiatrist Carl Jun in the early 1900s, highlighting an ongoing debate regarding their relative usefulness.

The MBTI categories are as follows:

The MBTI model, the article explains, organizes people according to their levels of introversion or extroversion “and by their cognitive tendencies, which are either perceiving or judging.” The Big Five, however, focuses on actual behavior rather than on perceptions, and is considered a more scientific approach.

“In some ways,” the article says, “the Big Five is an easier personality test to work with because of its simplicity. On the one hand, one still needs to diagnose and understand which traits an investor has in order to best extract meaningful information,” which both profile models attempt to accomplish. “Either way,” it says, “understanding the underlying personalities of your clients can lead to better advice and outcomes.”