While working on my amateur studies on personality differences, I use both Big 5 and MBTI to map traits. Using the MBTI theories I can fairly easy recognize the "Sensing" personalities, those who prefer experience and physical activities above philosophy and creativity.

Trying to map MBTI to Big 5 I suddenly realised I have no idea how the Sensing trait correlates with Big 5 traits. So my question is: Do these preferences show in Big 5? If so, where?

For a quick description on Sensing personalities, see http://www.gradschools.com/get-informed/before-you-apply/choosing-what-study/sensing-and-intuition-meyers-briggs-type-indicator-mbti )


1 Answer 1


One study found a slight correlation between physical activity and extraversion (r = 0.23), neuroticism (r = −0.11) and conscientiousness (r = 0.20), though the results were relatively inconclusive. Another study found that physically active individuals ranked slightly higher on all scales except for neuroticism. A third study found correlations between all traits except agreeableness, with neuroticism being the only negatively correlated trait. [1]

Though not every study showed replicable and statistically significant result, they do seem to agree that neuroticism is negatively correlated with physical activity. Among the Big 5, the trait with the highest positive correlation tended to be extroversion, though by a marginal amount at best.

To be fair, I'm not sure if there is a trait that explains 'those who prefer experience and physical activities above philosophy and creativity'. A facility for philosophy and creativity is highly correlated with openness to experience on the Big 5 model. The contrast to this (according to the model) is not an inclination towards the sensate; rather, people with low scores on openness tend to have more conventional, traditional interests, and thus tend to prefer the plain, straightforward, and obvious over the complex, ambiguous, and subtle. [2]

What I think that you are describing is a trait that can be used to describe those who prefer to engage in external activities (sports, physical recreation, external experiences) over internal ones (philosophy, creative abstraction). Based on the evidence above, it would be reasonable to assume that there is no one 'trait' to describe this phenomenon, but rather the contrast is made more evident the higher in extroversion and the lower in openness that a person may be, compared to someone of the opposite temperament.


[1] Kathryn E. Wilson, Rodney K. Dishman. (2014) Personality and physical activity: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

[2] McCrae, R.R.; Costa, P.T.; Jr (1987). "Validation of the five-factor model of personality across instruments and observers". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52 (1): 81–90.


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