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What is HEXACO?

HEXACO builds on the work of the Big Five and adds a 6th personality factor: Honesty-Humility. This additional factor makes the system more accurate when measuring or predicting unethical or anti-social behaviour. It is worth noting that in numerous comparison tables of Big 5 items (see the IPIP inventories), Agreeableness almost always has a slightly lower mean item correlation than any of the other traits, suggesting that there is some validity to the claim that the Agreeableness trait requires further division.

Although the other 5 factors are very similar to the Big Five factors, there are some subtle differences. HEXACO can be regarded as an expansion of the Big 5 theory, but to conceive of it as "The Big Five plus one more trait" would be an oversimplification. Here are some descriptions of the HEXACO factors, based on an IPIP item inventory:



High Scorers: Unpretentious. Genuine, Authentic, Unwilling to manipulate others.

Low Scorers: Smarmy. Manipulative. Show-off. Disloyal. "Fake it to make it". Feign sympathy. Social Chameleon. Bootlicker. Servile.


High Scorers: Unlikely to cheat or steal and would feel bad if they ever did. Follow rules. 

Low Scorers: Admire skillful deceit. Cheat. Steal. Betray trust. Don't feel bad about taking advantage of others. 

Greed Avoidance

High Scorers: Don't want to be famous. Don't strive for elegance. 

Low Scorers: Love luxury. Desire power, money and status. Try to impress others. Prefer expensive restaurants. Out for personal gain. 


High Scorers: Don't think they're better than others. Regard and view themselves as "average" or "ordinary".

Low Scorers: Want to be more powerful than others. Think they're better and more competent than others. Like to attract attention. Tend to show off. Boast.



High Scorers: Cowardly. Tremble or panic when in danger. Worry about being mugged. Wary of participating in extreme sports.

Low Scorers: Get a kick out of frightening or dangerous situations. Think they would be good at rescuing others in danger. Risk-takers.


High Scorers: Worry about unimportant things. Become stressed. Upset by unpleasant thoughts. Panic.

Low Scorers: Rarely worry. Seldom depressed. Not easily disturbed. Calm under pressure. Don't worry about what's in the past.


High Scorers: Need to be reassured. Easily influenced. Seek approval. Need protection. Need help. Don't conceal their sadness. Seek support. Want to be liked.

Low Scorers: Self-assured, independent, can handle problems without help or advice


High Scorers: Feel others' emotions. Feel sad when hearing sad news. Cry during movies. Sensitive to the needs of others. Moved by the misfortune of others.

Low Scorers: Don't cry during sad movies or when reading sad novels. Not bothered by the suffering of strangers. Alienated by displays of emotion. Rarely become emotional.



High Scorers: Talk a lot. Never at a loss for words. Life of the party. Let others know when they're annoyed. Laugh loudly.

Low Scorers: Don't talk much. Don't draw attention. Bottle up feelings. Speak softly.

Social Boldness

High Scorers: Can make impromptu speeches. Don't mind being the center of attention. Comfortable around others. Natural leaders. Strong personality.

Low Scorers: Afraid of public speaking. Stay in the background. Find it hard to approach others. Don't want to be the centre of attention. Have little to say.


High Scorers: Spend their free time with people. Talk to many people at parties. Love to chat. Make friends easily. Enjoy being part of a group.

Low Scorers: Less likely to enjoy interacting with others. Avoid jobs that require social interaction. Hard to get to know. Keep others at a distance.


High Scorers: High energy levels. Great stamina. Active. Smile and laugh a lot. Have fun.

Low Scorers: Get tired easily. Often feel blue.



High Scorers: Loving. Forgiving. Nice. Trusting (Trust people)

Low Scorers: Unforgiving. Hold grudges. Vengeful. Not trusting.


High Scorers: Rarely complain. Take things as they come. Accepting. Have nice things to say about everyone.

Low Scorers: Frustrated by the shortcomings of others. Judgmental. Find faults with others. Speak ill of others. Sharp tongued. Critical of others.


High Scorers: Good at taking advice. Willing to cooperate with others

Low Scorers: Often annoyed by others, especially by their errors. React badly to criticism. Dislike having their plans changed by others. Stubborn. Don't like to be contradicted. Hard to please. Hard to reason with.


High Scorers: Not easily brought to anger. Patient. Rarely irritated.

Low Scorers: Easily made angry, irritated or upset.



High Scorers: Tidy. Finish chores promptly. Prefer order. Want things to be "just right".

Low Scorers: Have messy rooms. Leave their belongings around. Don't finish what they start. Forget to put things back. Not bothered by disorder.


High Scorers: Work hard to succeed. Start work easily. Exacting. Complete tasks.

Low Scorers: Do just enough to get by. Stop when things become too difficult. Don't do enough work. "Do nothing". Lose interest in tasks.


High Scorers: Pay attention to details. Attain perfection. Have an eye for detail. Take care of every detail. Dislike imperfection. Detect mistakes. Insist on quality.

Low Scorers: Don't pay attention to details. Just "let things happen".


High Scorers: Avoid mistakes. Stick to their plans.

Low Scorers: Jump in without thinking. Make rash decisions. Behave impulsively when bothered. Make careless mistakes. Don't know why they behave the way they do. Act foolishly.

Openness to Experience

Aesthetic Appreciation

High Scorers: Believe art is important. Become immersed in music. See beauty in things that others may not. Like being "close to the earth". Have read the great literary classics.

Low Scorers: Don't like art. Rarely notice the emotional aspects of paintings and pictures. Don't like poetry. Don't like concerts. Don't enjoy watching dance performances.


High Scorers: Interested in science. Like to explore. Enjoy intellectual games. Like to read challenging material. Find political discussions interesting. Have a rich vocabulary.

Low Scorers: Don't know much about history. Avoid difficult reading material. Not interested in political or social issues. Won't look deeply into a subject.


High Scorers: Vivid imagination. Original. Discuss lofty topics. Full of ideas. Inventive. Have good ideas.

Low Scorers: Don't have a good imagination. Have trouble imagining things. Have trouble guessing how others will react. Seldom experience sudden intuitive insights.


High Scorers: Eccentric. Their ideas can surprise people. Behave strangely. Rebel against authority. Swim against the current.

Low Scorers: Would hate to be considered odd or strange. Like being considered "normal". Avoid complex people.


Multi-Construct IPIP Inventories


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