Chapter 19, Part 2: The Five Factor Theory of Personality - PSY321 Course Text: Personality Theories (2023)

Part 2: The Five Factor Theory of Personality

Costa and McCrae recognized the important role that Eysenck played in identifying extraversion and neuroticism as second-order personality factors and in the development of the Maudsley Personality Inventory, the Eysenck Personality Inventory, and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. (This last test, developed with his wife Sybil, was the first to include psychoticism as tools to measure these factors (see S. Eysenck, 1997).franknessπŸ‡§πŸ‡· In discussing this issue with Eysenck, he felt that openness might be the opposite of psychoticism, but McCrae and Costa believed that the factors were significantly different (see Costa & McCrae, 1986). Since then, Costa and McCrae have gone beyond the third opening factor and added two more second-order factors:compatibilityyconscientiousness(see Costa & McCrae, 1989; Costa & Widiger, 1994; McCrae & Allik, 2002; McCrae & Costa, 2003). Together, Costa and McCrae developed theNEO Personality Inventory(or NEO-PI) to measure neuroticism, extraversion, and openness, and later developed theNEO PI renewed, or NEO-PI-R, which also measures friendliness and conscientiousness (see McCrae & Costa, 2003).

The five factor model of personality.
FactorLow score descriptionHigh score description
neuroticismCalm, balanced, self-satisfied, comfortable, unemotional, robustConcerned, energetic, self-pitying, confident, emotional, vulnerable
extroversionReserved, solitary, calm, passive, sober, insensitiveAffectionate, Carpenter, Talkative, Active, Funny, Passionate
open to experienceDown to earth, uncreative, conventional, prefers routine, uncurious, conservativeImaginative, creative, original, varied, curious, liberal.
compatibilityInconsiderate, suspicious, mean, hostile, critical, irritablekind, trusting, generous, obedient, forgiving, kind
conscientiousnessCareless, lazy, disorganized, late, aimless, giving upConscientious, Hardworking, Well Organized, Punctual, Ambitious, Persistent
From McCrae and Costa (2003)

Many psychologists believe that the total number of personality traits can be reduced to five factors and that all other personality traits fall into these five factors. According to this model, aFactoris a larger category that includes many smaller personalitiestrainsπŸ‡§πŸ‡· The five-factor model was independently developed over several years by several different psychologists (Boundless, undated).

history and summary

Research on the five-factor model began in 1949 when D.W. Fiske failed to find support for Cattell's 16 expansive personality factors, finding support for only five factors. Research increased in the 1980s and 1990s, providing increasing support for the five-factor model. The five-factor personality traits show consistency across interviews, self-descriptions and observations, and across a wide range of participants from different ages and cultures. It is now the most widely accepted framework among trait theorists and in personality psychology, and the one that comes closest to basic trait dimensions (Funder, 2001) (Boundless, nd).

Because this model was developed independently by different theorists, the names of the five factors and what each factor measures differ depending on which theorist is referring to. However, the version by Paul Costa and Robert McCrae is the best known today and the one most psychologists remember when talking about the Five Factor Model. The acronym OCEAN is often used to recall Costa and McCrae's five factors, or the big five personality traits:oPenness amiExperience,Cconscientiousness,miextroversion,ONEkindness andnorteeuroticism(Unlimited, undated).

open to experience (inventive/curious vs consistent/cautious)

This trait includes an appreciation for art, excitement, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and diverse experiences. Openness reflects a person's level of intellectual curiosity, creativity, and penchant for novelty and diversity. It is also described as the degree to which a person is resourceful or independent; describes a personal preference for a variety of activities over a rigid routine. High scorers on openness to experiment prefer novelty, while low scorers prefer routine (Boundless, n.d.).

Chapter 19, Part 2: The Five Factor Theory of Personality - PSY321 Course Text: Personality Theories (1)

conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. calm/carefree)

This trait is related to one's propensity for self-discipline, sense of duty, competence, thoughtfulness, and effort toward achievement (eg, goal-directed behavior). It differs from the moral implications of "having a conscience"; Instead, this trait focuses on the amount of conscious intent and thought a person puts into their behavior. People with a lot of responsibility prefer planned behavior to spontaneous behavior and are generally organized, hardworking, and reliable. People with low conscientiousness are more relaxed, spontaneous and can be disorganized. Numerous studies have found a positive correlation between conscientiousness and academic success (Boundless, n.d.).

extroversion (outgoing/energetic vs. reclusive/reserved)

(Video) The Big Five Personality Traits

A person scoring high on Extroversion is characterized by high energy, positive emotions, loquaciousness, assertiveness, sociability, and a tendency to seek stimulation in the company of others. Those with low extraversion scores prefer solitude and/or smaller groups, enjoy silence, prefer activities alone, and avoid large social situations. Not surprisingly, people who score high on extraversion and openness are more likely to participate in high-risk and adventure sports due to their curious and exciting nature (Tok, 2011) (Boundless, n.d.).

Chapter 19, Part 2: The Five Factor Theory of Personality - PSY321 Course Text: Personality Theories (2)

compatibility (kind/understanding vs. cold/hostile)

This trait measures a tendency to be compassionate and cooperative, rather than suspicious and hostile towards others. It is also a measure of how trustworthy and helpful a person is and whether or not that person is in a good mood. People with low likability scores are often described as rude and uncooperative (Boundless, undated).

neuroticism (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident)

High neuroticism is characterized by a tendency to experience unpleasant emotions such as anger, fear, depression or vulnerability. Neuroticism also refers to an individual's level of emotional stability and impulse control. People with a high level of neuroticism tend to experience emotional instability and are characterized by being angry, impulsive and hostile. Watson and Clark (1984) found that people who report high levels of neuroticism also tend to feel anxious and unhappy. In contrast, people low in neuroticism tend to be calm and level-headed (Boundless, undated).

Chapter 19, Part 2: The Five Factor Theory of Personality - PSY321 Course Text: Personality Theories (3)

It is important to remember that each of the five factors represents a range of possible personality types. For example, a person usually falls somewhere between the two extremes of "extrovert" and "introvert" and does not necessarily fully define himself as one or the other. Most people are somewhere between the two polar extremes of each dimension. It is also important to note that Big Five traits are relatively stable throughout our lifetime, but there is some tendency for traits to increase or decrease slightly. For example, researchers have found that conscientiousness increases from early adulthood through middle age as we become better able to manage our personal relationships and careers (Donnellan & Lucas, 2008). Tolerance also increases with age, peaking between 50 and 70 years (Terracciano, McCrae, Brant, & Costa, 2005). Neuroticism and extraversion tend to decrease slightly with age (Donnellan & Lucas; Terracciano et al.) (Boundless, n.d.).

These five factors are different, and neither low nor high scores are necessarily better, "good" or "bad":

...all qualities have passed the test of evolutionary survival and, from a social perspective, all kinds of people are needed: those who work well with others and those who can accomplish a task alone; those who find new creative ways of doing things and those who preserve the best solutions of the past. Probably even benefits [sic] can be found in neuroticism, since a society of extremely calm individuals may not compete well with other societies of distrustful and hostile individuals. Cultures need members capable of both war and peace, both work and leisure... (pp. 51-52; McCrae & Costa, 2003)

Criticism of the five-factor model

Critics of the trait approach argue that patterns of variability across different situations are crucial in determining personality, that averaging these situations to find an overall "trait" obscures critical differences between individuals (Boundless, undated).

(Video) A New Big Five by McAdams and Pals - Advanced Theories of Personality Lecture

In particular, critics of the five-factor model argue that the model has limitations as an explanatory or predictive theory and that it does not explain all of human personality. Some psychologists have moved away from the model because they feel it neglects other areas of the personality, such as personality.Humorand risk-taking/excitement (Boundless, n.d.).

Factor analysis, the statistical method used to identify the dimensional structure of observed variables, does not have a widely accepted basis for choosing between solutions with different numbers of factors. A five-factor solution depends to some extent on the interpretation of the analyst. A larger number of factors may actually underlie these five factors; This has led to disputes over the "true" number of factors. Proponents of the five-factor model have disputed that while other solutions are possible in a single dataset, only the five-factor structure is consistently replicated across different studies (Boundless, n.d.).

Another common criticism is that the five-factor model lacks an underlying theory; it is simply an empirical finding that certain descriptors cluster in factor analysis. This means that while these five factors exist, their underlying causes are unknown (Boundless, undated).

As a basis for personality research, the five-factor model has proven to be quite comprehensive. The five factors hold up well when measured by a variety of other tests and within other theoretical perspectives, including a thorough comparison with Henry Murray's list of human needs. The five-factor model is particularly important in psychology today, and it has also performed very well when studied across cultures, a topic we will examine next.

Cross-Cultural Connections: The Cross-Cultural Big Five

To assess the cross-cultural application of the Five Factor Model (FFM), Robert McCrae has suggested that we should approach the problem in three ways.transculturalAnalyzes look for cross-cultural personality factors. In other words, personality factors that are universal or common to all people.IntraculturallAnalyzes examine the specific expression of traits within a culture. And finally,interculturalAnalyzes compare traits across cultures (see Allik & McCrae, 2002). In 2002, McCrae and Allik publishedThe Five Factor Model of Personality Across Cultures, a collection of research in which several researchers examined the applicability of the Five Factor Model (FFM) across cultures. The various studies contained in this book examine personality structure and the validity and generalizability of using the NEO-PI-R to measure personality in approximately forty cultures spanning five continents. McCrae and Allik recognize that there is much more to personality than traits, but the traits identified in the FFM appear to provide a strong cross-cultural foundation for understanding personality around the world.

The potential validity of translating the NEO-PI-R and studying the FFM in different cultures rests on the idea that the most important factors of human interaction are encoded in the languages ​​of most, if not all, cultures (see Pervin, 1999). . Confronted with concerns about this lexical assumption and translation challenges, Peabody (1999) used resource descriptions of contrasting terms to clarify things in a national character assessment study. He was judged by judges from 12 different European countries, as well as the Americas, Philippines, Japan and China. Examining the data from an FFM perspective, Peabody found strong support for the usefulness of this model in cross-cultural studies. Other researchers have had significant success directly translating the NEO PI-R. Rolland (2002) collected data from studies in which NEO-PI-R was administered to people from cultures speaking 16 different languages ​​(including Sino-Tibetan, Indo-European, Uralic, Hamito-Semitic and Austronesian languages ​​and an unclassified language ). πŸ‡§πŸ‡· [Korean]). Overall, it confirmed the generalization of the personality structure identified by the FFM across different cultures. Similar favorable results in terms of personality structure were found in adults and adolescents in the Czech, Polish, and Slovak groups (Hrebickova, et al., 2002) and among the Shona people of Zimbabwe (Piedmont, et al., 2002) in the relationship between personality and emotion in Canadian, Hispanic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean individuals (Yik, et al., 2002); and the relationship between personality and cultural goals in Americans and Vietnamese (Leininger, 2002). These studies, as well as many others not mentioned, provide substantial support for the consistency of the FFM across a variety of cultures, at least with regard to personality structure. However, it is not clear whether the results obtained in two different cultures are equivalent (see Poortinga, Van de Vijver and Van Hemert, 2002). In other words, if culture A scores better than culture B on likeability, for example, it may be that the translation used for culture A is more responsible for the result than an actual difference between cultures A and B. More research are required. determine to resolve such issues.

Chapter 19, Part 2: The Five Factor Theory of Personality - PSY321 Course Text: Personality Theories (4)

Despite numerous studies supporting the cross-cultural use of FFM, there are psychologists who are generally positive about FFM but still advise caution. The fundamental question is whether or not trait descriptions are how people in other cultures describe someone else. While the use of abstract trait names is common in American culture, in other cultures such as India and China, it is more common to describe people with contextual actions. Entering such data into an FFM requires some manipulation, leaving the validity of the work open to some debate (see Pervin, 1999). However, when comparing Chinese and American students, the FFM provides a reasonable measure of each group's stereotypes (Zhang et al., 1999). There is a clear need for continued research into cross-cultural perspectives, as well as the need for cross-cultural training programmes. In this vein, Brislin (1999) has suggested ways in which the FFM can be used as a basis for developing such programs, in part by telling us something about each person in an intercultural training program and therefore the type of program it is. better because they work (see also McCauley, Draguns & Lee, 1999). Regardless of whether one prefers the FFM or another model of personality structure, the importance of cross-cultural studies is clear:

Human nature cannot be independent of culture. Not the human personality. People share certain social norms or rules within their cultural groups. More than 2,000 years ago, Aristotle argued that human beings are by nature social beings. Similarly, Xun Kuang (298-238 BC), a Chinese philosopher, noted that people cannot function in social groups without leadership or shared rules. Therefore, each culture or cultural group sets its own norms. These norms and rules are constantly linked to the behavior and personality of the members of a culture and society. (p. VII; Lee, McCauley & Draguns, 1999)

By proposing a factor of fivetheoryof personality, McCrae and Costa addressed the nature of personality theories themselves:

(Video) Controversy of Intelligence: Crash Course Psychology #23

A personality theory is a way of explaining what people are like and how they behave; A good theory explains a variety of observations and points researchers in the right direction for future research. Freudian theory directed researchers towards the study of dreams, but decades of research have produced very little supporting evidence... This is why most personality psychologists today prefer trait theory to psychoanalysis.... But... The human personality is made up of more than just traits. (pp. 184-185; McCrae & Costa, 2003)

They propose that there are three core components of personality:basic trends(these are the five personality factors),feature settings, youself concept(a highly adapted and widely studied form of trait adaptation). Basic tendencies interact with three peripheral components that mark the interface with systems external to the personality. There are biological contributions to basic tendencies, the external environment, andobjective biography(everything that human beings do and experience). The connection of all these components isdynamic processesperception, coping, dramatization, reasoning, etc. Although this theory is more recent, it addresses one of the key questions that challenge trait theories in general: how to explain the general consistency of traits, but the potential and occasional observation of personality changes? In short, underlying trends are consistent, while characteristic adaptations are subject to change with dramatic environmental influences and age-related changes (McCrae & Costa, 2003).

Lifelong consistency.

In over 25 years of teaching, I've found that most college students want to believe that an adult's personality can change easily. Likewise, most psychologists, especially clinical psychologists who help people transform their dysfunctional lives,Orbelieving that personality can change. However, trait theorists have repeatedly demonstrated that traits are highly resistant to change once adulthood is reached (see, for example, Costa & McCrae, 1989; McCrae & Costa, 2003). This is especially true of neuroticism, extraversion, and outspokenness in both men and women, black and white. While Costa and McCrae acknowledge that people sometimes change dramatically, consistency is clearly more important as a rule. They also suggest that this should be an opportunity for optimism. As people age, they shouldn't be afraid of becoming a different person, e.g. B. someone who is isolated or depressed. However, if a younger person is withdrawn, depressed or suffering from some other mental illness, he must also realize that time or age alone is unlikely to change him, but that psychotherapy can be desirable and cost-effective. Once again, Costa & McCrae emphasize the novelty of these theories and suggest the need for systematic prospective studies of the Five Factor Theory throughout adult life. Fortunately, the NEO-PI-R provides the necessary tool to evaluate Five Factor Theory across the lifespan and across cultures. With the increase in life expectancy in Western societies and the increasing proportion of elderly people in our society, this research is likely to become a priority in the field of personality.

Supplementary Materials

The five factor model or Big Five

This video [5:50] provides an overview of the five main dimensions of personality described by McCrae and Costa. The NEO-PI-R assessment is also briefly discussed in the video.


The Five Factor Model of Personality Traits, also known as "The Big Five"

This video [11:48] describes the Five Factor Model of Personality Traits, also known as the "Big Five" personality model. The video explains and examines each of the five personality traits identified in the model.


(Video) Chapter 2_Trait and Factor Theory

The features of the Big 5 OCEAN explained

This video [6:23] looks at each of the 5 personality traits identified in McCrae and Costa's Big Five model.



Text: unlimited. (undated) The five-factor model. Retrieved from factor-model-311-12846/index.html. Licensed under CC-BY-SA-4.0.

Kelly M (2017). Common personality theory OER. Retrieved October 28, 2019 from Licensed under CC-BY-4.0.

PsychExamReview. (August 8, 2017). The Five Factor Model or Big Five (Introductory Psychology Tutorial #138). [video file]. Retrieved from Standard YouTube license.

dr. Big Todd. (2017, November 21). The Five Factor Model of Personality Traits, also known as "The Big Five". [video file]. Retrieved from Standard YouTube license.

Practical Psychology. (2019, May 7). The Ocean's Big 5 Characteristics Explained - Personality Quiz. [video file]. Retrieved from Standard YouTube license.


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