Openness to experience

Robert R. McCrae, David M. Greenberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Openness to Experience is one of five basic dimensions of personality traits; it is heritable, stable across the adult lifespan, and universal across cultures. Openness is seen in the breadth, depth, and permeability of consciousness, and in the ongoing quest for new experiences and ideas. Although distinct from intelligence, it is related to divergent thinking and to creativity. Case studies of personality traits in geniuses, including self-reports from an eminent mathematician and biographer ratings of a groundbreaking musician, suggest that Openness alone of the five factors is consistently associated with genius. Systematic studies of representative samples of geniuses are needed to confirm that hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Wiley Handbook of Genius
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781118367353
ISBN (Print)9781118367407
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • Case studies
  • Development
  • Five-factor model
  • Heritability
  • Jazz
  • Mathematics
  • Personality traits
  • Universality


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