Battle of the Personalities: HEXACO vs. Big-5

If you’ve ever taken an intro psych class or beyond, chances are you’ve heard of “The Big Five” (Big-5), — the most popular and widely accepted model of personality today (Myers-Briggs, on the other hand, is a story for another time 👀).

The Big-5 describes five traits: Extraversion, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Openness to Experience. It presents itself as sufficient to address all aspects of human personality. But can Big-5 tell you who you are and how you act all the time? Not exactly.

You could be a dependable, hard-working person at work, while being an impulsive, disorganized mess at home. It changes based on who you’re around too — are you shy and quiet around people you don’t know, but goofy and loud around the people you do? If so, which is the “real” you?

The truth is, there’s no such thing as a single “real” you. The version of you we’re trying to understand is the you when you are in a relationship. From the perspective of matchmaking, personality matters most when it comes to how you love. No current model of personality can ever truly predict behavior in any given situation, so we need to be more specific if we want to make great romantic matches. Enter: HEXACO.

HEXACO is superficially similar to the Big-5. The acronym stands for Honesty-Humility, Emotionality, eXtraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness to Experience. Its biggest asset is its specific emphasis on interpersonal relationships and communication. We utilize HEXACO because it injects a built-in social relevance to matchmaking that Big-5 doesn’t, and using this model helps us identify important social tendencies and behaviors that make for much better matches.

Using HEXACO, we can more accurately account for Dark Triad traits (Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy), personality traits that are 100% social in nature. How will you react to your partner when things go south? What are you willing to do to get your way?

HEXACO can also predict marital satisfaction and parenting styles. How much trust do you put in people? How emotionally vulnerable will you be with your family?

The Big-5 doesn’t sufficiently answer these questions, but HEXACO does. This is why we incorporate it as part of our matchmaking model. The Marriage Pact thus officially declares HEXACO the official winner of the battle of the personalities.