The Big Five traits of Conscientiousness and Openness may be distinguished by the capacity to maintain vs. reallocate task and goal focus, respectively. We herein investigate whether these differences in focus translate into differences in attentional scope. Consistent with our hypothesis, Conscientiousness and Openness emerged as the sole personality predictors of attentional scope processes. Conscientiousness alone significantly predicted performance on all three measures of attentional scope employed herein. Most notably, Conscientious people demonstrated a pronounced capacity to deliberately attend to narrow visual details. Open people demonstrated a general capacity to reallocate attentional resources flexibly. Overall results suggest that Conscientious and Open people can be distinguished as attentional specialists and attentional generalists, respectively. Implications for Big Five theory and measurement are discussed.
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