The FFM is like the MBTI, except more scientific, backed up by hereditary tests and factor analysis and all that good stuff, and except for the tiny fact that it inevitably ends up labeling one end of the 5 scales as "good" and one end as "bad."
And it kind of annoys me.
(Turn back ye who follow; this post falls into TL;DR, territory. Basically, what's the deal with the FFM's traits being so strongly associated with positive/negative traits?)
I am (should be) reading this textbook that is talking about how "interest, enjoyment, and shyness (negatively correlated)" are related to the trait of Extraversion. So... in the Five Factor Model, introversion = lack of interest and enjoyment in life? And I thought shyness was related to social anxiety, not necessarily to introversion, although I can certainly understand the correlation. What IS extraversion? A cluster of positive traits?
I mean no one explicitly says that, and lo! Thusly Introversion is Bad, but this is an obvious conclusion. The trait of Neuroticism - I mean, obviously it is not good to be neurotic. Low Conscientiousness indicates you are "aimless, unreliable, lazy,... weak-willed," low on Agreeableness means you are "cynical, rude, suspicious (hey, that's not so bad)", and well, Openness to Experience seems to avoid the harsh adjectives in my textbook that I really ought to be reading right now, but it's still pretty darn obvious that people want to be open to experiences.
What I'm trying to say is - is this definition of, say, Extraversion correct? A definition that includes Activity, Excitement Seeking, and Positive Emotion? I can see the inclusion of Warmth, Gregariousness, and Assertiveness, yes. But just because those former 3 items are correlated with extraversion, does that mean that they are a part of what extraversion is?
And why does the FFM have to infuriate me by implicitly labeling people as "good" and "bad?" Should a personality system do this? Does the system address the fact that unlike Myer-Briggs where every type is equal, someone low on E, O, A, C, and high on N might want to die after reading their description? Am I wrongly imposing my value judgments on something that is actually objective? Or does this make it more useful as a personality system, because it recognizes personality dysfunction on a scale?
Why can't low Neuroticism be "reactive and emotional" instead of necessarily completely messed up? At least, why can't low Agreeableness refer to one's objectivity and efficiency? But would this be mangling the very definitions of these traits, forcing it to be more like the MBTI unrealistically?
...I mean, of course Extraversion is correlated with positive traits if you DEFINE extraversion as containing "positive emotion."
Well I know this is rather long. But someone please say something marginally related. This textbook makes me, quite unwarrantedly (is that a word?), a bit sad to be an introvert, through the implications and wording, not through what it actually says. After all, it does interestingly clarify that positive emotionality and negative emotionality are not ends of one scale - there is apparently evidence I can't be bothered to look up that they are on separate scales. But still - why should high extraversion include all these positive emotional traits? Why is it obvious how a "well-adjusted" person "should" be? (And why do books about personality psychology never mention Myer-Briggs at all? It's sad.)
(I apologize in advance for my ranting and generally poor wording. I am half brain-dead at the moment, furiously typing this up when I should be either studying for this exam or sleeping. Or just taking deep breaths. Sorry if this is in the wrong place/ typed in an offensively idiotic manner/ having the audacity to repeat something that may have been beaten to death in another thread before this)