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The NEO Personality Inventory is a psychological personality inventory, a tool used to assess individual personality traits. The NEO is based on the Five-Factor Model of personality, which posits that human personality can be divided into five broad domains.

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The NEO Personality Inventory is a psychological assessment tool designed to measure an individual’s personality across five broad dimensions, often referred to as the “Big Five” or the “Five Factor Model.” These dimensions are Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. The NEO Personality Inventory is used for a variety of purposes including psychological research, clinical diagnosis and treatment planning, as well as in organizational settings for employee selection and development.

  1. Neuroticism: This trait pertains to the degree to which a person is prone to emotional instability, anxiety, moodiness, irritability, and sadness.
  2. Extraversion: This trait pertains to the degree of outgoingness, sociability, assertiveness, and high amounts of emotional expressiveness.
  3. Openness to Experience: This trait reflects how open-minded a person is. People with high scores in openness tend to be inventive, curious, and open to new experiences, while low scores could indicate someone who is more traditional and likes to stick to their routine.
  4. Agreeableness: This trait measures the quality of interpersonal orientation along dimensions of kindness, affection, altruism, and other pro-social behaviors.
  5. Conscientiousness: This trait pertains to how organized, careful, and disciplined one is. High conscientiousness suggests a preference for planned, well-thought-out activities, while low conscientiousness might indicate a preference for spontaneity.

What Is the Format of the NEO Personality Inventory Test?

The NEO Personality Inventory Test has been through several versions, but one of the most commonly used is the NEO PI-R (NEO Personality Inventory-Revised). The format can vary depending on the version of the test and the specific application, but the following elements are generally common:

Questionnaire Format:

  1. Number of Items: The NEO PI-R contains 240 items, while a shorter form known as the NEO-FFI (NEO Five-Factor Inventory) has 60 items.
  2. Response Scale: The items are usually presented as statements, and respondents indicate their level of agreement or disagreement on a Likert scale. The scale typically ranges from “Strongly Disagree” to “Strongly Agree.”
  3. Domains and Facets: The test is designed to measure the five major domains of personality (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness). Each of these domains is further divided into six facets, making for a total of 30 facets measured by the NEO PI-R.
  4. Time Required: Completing the test can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes for the NEO-FFI and around 60 to 90 minutes for the NEO PI-R, depending on the individual’s reading speed and decision-making process.
  5. Administration: The test can be administered in various settings, including clinical, educational, and research contexts. It can be given on paper or through computerized formats.
  6. Self-Report and Observer-Report: Although the NEO is most commonly administered as a self-report, observer-report forms also exist, where someone who knows the individual well completes the questionnaire about them.


  • Scores are calculated for each of the five major domains as well as for the 30 facets in the case of the NEO PI-R.
  • These scores are often standardized into t-scores or percentile ranks for easier interpretation.


  • Interpretation of the NEO Personality Inventory is generally done by trained professionals who can contextualize the results and discuss them in a meaningful way.
  • The scores provide a snapshot of an individual’s tendencies across the five major personality domains and their associated facets but should not be taken as absolute measures of one’s personality. Context and additional information are often needed for a comprehensive understanding.