René Mõttus

René Mõttus
The University of Edinburgh | UoE · Department of Psychology

PhD

About

145
Publications
101,473
Reads
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4,011
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2013 - present
The University of Edinburgh
Position
  • Lecturer
May 2010 - September 2013
University of Tartu
Position
  • Senior Researcher

Publications

Publications (145)
Article
Mental health disorders share substantial variance, prompting researchers to develop structural models that can capture both generalised psychopathology risk and disorder/symptom‐specific variation. This study investigated the associations of the general and specific psychopathology factors with multiple personality trait hierarchy levels: broad do...
Preprint
Most Five-Factor Model questionnaire items contain unique variance that 1) is heritable, stable, and observable; 2) demonstrates consistent associations with age and sex, and 3) is predictive of life outcomes over and above higher-order factors. This is consistent with items indexing a unique level of the personality trait hierarchy—nuances. Extend...
Article
Objective: Personality traits change from childhood through late-adolescence, however the effects of social expectations and self-regulatory efforts remain unknown. This study aims to explore mechanisms underlying personality development by assessing mean levels personality traits from childhood to late-adolescence. Method: We used Common-Langua...
Article
Full-text available
Little research has examined age differences by using more than one source of information. We compared age differences in Five-Factor Model (FFM) facets and nuances in self-reports and ratings by knowledgeable informants using samples from three countries (Estonia, Germany, and the Czech Republic; N=5,624). We hypothesized that age differences woul...
Article
Despite the widespread use of the Dirty Dozen (DD) and Short Dark Triad (SD3) as inventories for antagonist personality constructs, appropriately powered studies on their test-retest reliability (rtt) are lacking. We report the 12-day rtt-s of the DD and SD3 scales. Leveraging the test-retest data, we also calculated their convergent and discrimina...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the widespread use of the HEXACO model as a descriptive taxonomy of personality traits, there remains limited information on the test-retest reliability of its commonly-used inventories. Studies typically report internal consistency estimates, such as alpha or omega, but there are good reasons to believe that these do not accurately assess...
Article
Various personality traits are known to correlate with body mass index (BMI). However, this index of adiposity conflates fat mass with lean body mass and may therefore lead to biased estimates of correlations. Yet, rarely have studies looked beyond BMI to understand how adiposity and other physiological characteristics relate to these psychological...
Article
Full-text available
The present study conducted a meta-analysis to examine the relation between grit and subjective well-being (SWB). The association between grit (i.e., overall grit, perseverance of effort, and consistency of interest) and SWB (i.e., positive affect, negative affect, happiness, depression, life satisfaction, job satisfaction, and school satisfaction)...
Article
Full-text available
Many personality traits correlate with BMI, but the existence and direction of causal links between them are unclear. If personality influences BMI, knowing this causal direction could inform weight management strategies. Knowing that BMI instead influences personality would contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms of personality deve...
Article
Full-text available
To understand what was driving individual differences in voting intentions in a large German sample, we investigated the predictability of voting intentions from the Big Five personality domains, facets, and nuances, thereby tackling shortcomings of previous studies. Using random forest analyses in a dataset of N = 4,286 individuals (46.01% men), s...
Preprint
Despite the widespread use and popularity of the Dirty Dozen (DD) and Short Dark Triad (SD3) as measurements of “dark” personalities, there appears to be a lack of appropriately powered studies on the test-retest reliability (rtt) of the two brief measurements. We report 12-day test-retest of the DD and SD3 at the level of domains and items. Levera...
Preprint
Applying correlations that usefully describe trends in the population to individuals can often lead to incorrect conclusions. In individuals, high (as opposed to medium or low) values of one variable typically do not go with high values of another variable, even if these variables have a sizeable correlation at the population level. Even more unpre...
Preprint
Objective: Personality traits change in both mean levels and variance across the life span but the mechanisms underlying these developmental trends remain unclear. Social investment theory is one of the leading theories trying to explain personality maturation, suggesting that social role expectations drive personality changes in adulthood. However...
Preprint
Full-text available
Associations between personality traits and life outcomes are usually studied using the Big Five domains and, occasionally, their facets. But recent research suggests these associations may be driven by the items (reflecting nuances) chosen to measure these traits. Using a large dataset (N = 6,126), we examined associations with 53 self-reported ou...
Article
Associations between personality traits and life outcomes are usually studied using the Big Five domains and, occasionally, their facets. But recent research suggests these associations may be driven by the items (reflecting nuances) chosen to measure these traits. Using a large dataset (N = 6,126), we examined associations with 53 self‐reported ou...
Preprint
Background: Mental health disorders share a substantial amount of variance, reflecting a generalised vulnerability to any and all mental health problems. Studies on personality-psychopathology associations have previously been mainly focused at the domain-level of the personality hierarchy even though research has indicated that lower level persona...
Article
This replication and extension of Mõttus and Rozgonjuk (2019) compared the extents of age-related information captured by different levels of the personality trait hierarchy (domains, facets and nuances, indexed by individual items) in several samples (N = 51,524) of different age ranges and cultural backgrounds, and tested with different instrumen...
Preprint
Rationale: Personality traits change in both mean levels and variance from childhood through mid-adolescence, but the mechanisms underlying these developmental trends remain unknown. We tested the possible roles of social pressure and self-regulation. Methods: The Common-Language California Child Q-Set was used to measure youths’ mean-level persona...
Preprint
Many health problems that occur later in life have their origins in behaviours and associated lifestyle habits established earlier in life. We aimed to gain new insights into the structure of health and well-being of late adolescents and emerging adults through examining a multi-dimensional network that quantitatively estimates the personality simi...
Preprint
Various personality traits are known to correlate with body mass index (BMI). However, rarely have studies looked beyond BMI to understand how adiposity and other metabolic characteristics relate to psychological traits. We explored personality traits’ phenotypic and genetic associations with basal metabolic rate (BMR) and an improved index of adip...
Preprint
This replication and extension of Mõttus and Rozgonjuk (2019) compared the extents of age-related information captured by different levels of the personality trait hierarchy (domains, facets and nuances, indexed by individual items) in several samples (N = 51,524) of different age ranges and cultural backgrounds, and tested with different instrumen...
Preprint
Full-text available
The HEXACO model of personality is currently one of the most widely-used in its field. While numerous studies report HEXACO facet and domain alpha reliabilities (), few have examined its test-retest reliability (rTT)—a fundamental property of psychological tests. We thus report 12-day rTT of the 100-item HEXACO-PI-R domains, facets, and items and c...
Article
Although the Dark Triad (DT) of personality has been studied for almost two decades, research regarding its structure is lacking, which is pertinent to understanding personality-outcome associations. This study examined the structure of the DT domains, both independently and as a cluster. Initial results were replicated with a validation sample. Pa...
Chapter
Claude Shannon’s groundbreaking work on information theory (Shannon, 1948a) was published just as the field of psychological testing was reaching its potential. Many of the fundamental underpinnings of the psychological testing theory were proposed in this same era, and the application of these ideas over the ensuing decades has greatly informed ou...
Preprint
Age differences in personality traits can inform us on the magnitude and qualities of personality development and describing them accurately is therefore of utmost importance. Little research yet has examined age differences by combining more than one source of information, despite many psychologists knowing that any one assessment method is prone...
Preprint
Voting decisions of individual voters have the power to influence political developments by enabling certain parties and politicians to govern their country. Therefore, it is of tremendous importance to understand what is driving individual differences in voting intentions and decisions. This study investigated the predictability of voting intentio...
Preprint
In pursuit of a more systematic and comprehensive framework for personality assessment, we introduce procedures for assessing personality traits at the lowest level: nuances. We argue that constructing a personality taxonomy from the bottom up addresses some of the limitations of extant top-down assessment frameworks (e.g., the Big Five), including...
Preprint
Full-text available
We argue that it is useful to distinguish between three key goals of personality science – description, prediction and explanation – and that attaining them often requires different priorities and methodological approaches. We put forward specific recommendations such as publishing findings with minimum a priori aggregation and exploring the limits...
Article
We argue that it is useful to distinguish between three key goals of personality science—description, prediction and explanation—and that attaining them often requires different priorities and methodological approaches. We put forward specific recommendations such as publishing findings with minimum a priori aggregation and exploring the limits of...
Article
Full-text available
In pursuit of a more systematic and comprehensive framework for personality assessment, we introduce procedures for assessing personality traits at the lowest level: nuances. We argue that constructing a personality taxonomy from the bottom up addresses some of the limitations of extant top-down assessment frameworks (e.g., the Big Five), including...
Article
Objective A prerequisite of any psychological instrument used to compare individuals from different groups is measurement invariance (MI). It indicates that the test measures the same psychological constructs regardless of the particular grouping variable of the test-taker. Our purpose was to evaluate the MI across sex, age groups and educational l...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change mandates us to understand why individuals do (not) behave pro‐environmentally and personality traits are well suited for this purpose. Past research has mostly focused on how broad domain‐level personality traits were associated with pro‐environmental attitudes and behaviors. In two datasets (N = 501 and 287), we examined whether per...
Preprint
Although the scientific evidence of anthropogenic climate change continues to grow, public discourse still reflects a high level of scepticism and political polarisation towards anthropogenic climate change. In this study (N = 499) we attempted to replicate and expand upon an earlier finding that environmental terminology (“climate change” versus “...
Preprint
Full-text available
Climate change mandates us to understand why individual’s (do not) act environmentally and personality traits are well suited for this purpose. Research has mostly focused on broad do-main-level associations between personality traits and pro-environmental behaviors and attitudes. In two datasets (N = 501 and 287), we examined whether facets provid...
Article
Climate change is one of the greatest threats to humanity and requires immediate action. Schuldt, Konrath, and Schwarz (2011) suggested that beliefs in environmental phenomena can be influenced by the terminology used to describe it: changing question wording from global warming to climate change resulted in a 6.3 percentage point increase in belie...
Preprint
Importance: Many personality traits robustly correlate with BMI, but the existence and direction of causality are unclear. As personality traits also correlate with various other mental and physical health outcomes, understanding causality in these intersections is widely useful; understanding causality between BMI and personality specifically coul...
Article
We investigated the distinction between traits (also labelled basic tendencies or dispositions) and (characteristic) adaptations, two related features of the personality system postulated to influence how personality manifests throughout the lifespan. Traits are alleged to be universal, causal, and enduring entities that exist across cultures and t...
Article
Full-text available
With climate change and its consequences believed to be among the most vital challenges for humanity and the Earth’s ecosystem, it is important to understand why individuals (do not) adopt pro-environmental attitudes and behaviors. Personality traits are well suited for this purpose. Because no recent work has systematically combined the accumulati...
Article
Full-text available
Obesity is a widespread health condition¹, likely to be driven by the increased availability of inexpensive high-calorie food². People vary greatly in their behavioural response to food. Such variation is likely to be driven by behavioural styles3,4, as behaviour accounts for overall food intake⁵. A prominent hypothesis is that people with obesity...
Article
Full-text available
We examined the extent to which the Big Five domains, 30 facets, and nuances (uniquely represented by individual questionnaire items) capture age differences in personality, expecting domains to contain the least and nuances the most age-related information. We used an Internet sample (N = 24,000), evenly distributed between ages of 18 and 50 years...
Preprint
Full-text available
Accepted for publication in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (24/10/2019). We examined the extent to which the Big Five domains, 30 facets and nuances (uniquely represented by individual questionnaire items) capture age differences in personality, expecting domains to contain the least and nuances the most age-related information. We u...
Article
Full-text available
Environment-friendly behaviors may be desirable in helping to solve worldwide ecological issues. This has sparked interest in the associations of such behaviors with established psychological constructs such as the Five-Factor Model personality traits. Of these, Openness has been most consistently linked with proenvironmental behavior; yet, the ext...
Preprint
Full-text available
Among the main topics of individual differences research is the associations of personality traits with life outcomes. Relying on recent advances of personality conceptualizations and drawing parallels with genetics, we propose that representing these associations with individual questionnaire items (markers of personality “nuances”) can provide in...
Article
Full-text available
Classical psychometrics held that scores on a personality measure were determined by the trait assessed and random measurement error. A new view proposes a much richer and more complex model, including trait variance at multiple levels of a hierarchy of traits and systematic biases shaped by the implicit personality theory of the respondent. The mo...
Article
The purpose of this study was to explore how individual and environmental predictors of intergenerational social mobility intersect in rarely studied post‐communist developing society of Estonia. We used a contemporary cross‐sectional dataset (n = 759) to assess the influence of cognitive ability and parental socioeconomic status to the participant...
Preprint
Full-text available
In two studies, we examined the genetic and environmental sources of the unfolding of personality trait differences from childhood to emerging adulthood. Using self-reports from over 3,000 representative German twin pairs of three birth cohorts, we could replicate previous findings on the primary role of genetic sources accounting for the unfolding...
Preprint
Obesity, a broad health marker, has inconsistent associations with broad personality domains, possibly because the links pertain to only some facets of these domains. Collating published and unpublished studies (N = 15,311), we meta-analysed the associations between body mass index (BMI) and 30 Five-Factor Model facets. BMI had a positive associati...
Article
Full-text available
Personality researchers often supplement or substitute self-reports with ratings from knowledgeable informants, at least implicitly assuming that the same constructs are measured regardless of the source of ratings. However, measurement invariance (MI) of personality constructs across these rating types has rarely been empirically tested. Here, thi...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives We tested predictions about the structure and magnitude of method biases in single‐source personality trait assessments. We expected a large number of distinct biases that would parallel the observed structure of traits, at both facet and item levels. Method We analyzed multi‐method ratings on the Estonian NEO Personality Inventory‐3 in...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
For a few decades, personality research has mostly relied on the paradigm of few broad personality traits. This has been, and will be, a resounding success in a great many ways. But even the best paradigms tolerate supplementary approaches. I will present some ideas on how we can extend personality beyond few broad personality traits. For a thought...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Personality factors, or traits, are meant to efficiently summarize and, as ostensible latent causes, explain individual differences in personality. A widely accepted finding is that personality differences can be represented a hierarchy of factors. (One or) Two factors could account for a part of individual differences, but they can be broken down...
Preprint
Full-text available
Obesity is a widespread health condition largely explained by behaviour. Its increasing incidence in recent years is attributable to the availability of inexpensive high-calorie food. However, individual vulnerability to weight gain in this obesogenic environment may reflect specific behavioural profiles. Obese people have been proposed to respond...
Article
We discuss the Gaussian graphical model (GGM; an undirected network of partial correlation coefficients) and detail its utility as an exploratory data analysis tool. The GGM shows which variables predict one-another, allows for sparse modeling of covariance structures, and may highlight potential causal relationships between observed variables. We...
Article
Full-text available
Participants (N = 10,672 with the mean age of 20.7 years) of the Russian Character and Personality Survey (RCPS), involving 40 universities or colleges from across the Russian Federation, rated their happiness and satisfaction with life; the ratings were combined into an index of subjective well-being (SWB). Using the National Character Survey (NCS...
Article
Full-text available
Mõttus and colleagues (2017) reported evidence that the unique variance in specific personality characteristics captured by single descriptive items often displayed trait-like properties of cross-rater agreement, rank-order stability and heritability. They suggested that the personality hierarchy should be extended below facets to incorporate these...
Article
We compared different methodological approaches in research on the accuracy of national stereotypes that use aggregated mean scores of real people's personality traits as criteria for stereotype accuracy. Our sample comprised 16,713 participants from the Central Europe and 1,090 participants from the Baltic Sea region. Participants rated national s...
Article
Full-text available
Recent work in personality development has indicated that the magnitude of individual differences in personality increases over child development. Do such patterns reflect the differentiation of individuals by genotype, an increasing influence of environmental factors, or some (interactive) combination of the two? Using a population-based sample of...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter deals with one of the most pervasive personality-related phenomenon: the coalescence of tendencies for specific thoughts, feelings and behaviors (characteristics) into broader patterns—traits. Two possible explanations are discussed. The more established explanation is that certain characteristics tend to co-exist because they reflect...
Chapter
Five-Factor Theory (FFT; McCrae & Costa, 2008) is one of the grand theories of current personality psychology. Its foundations are built on empirical evidence and the interpretation of this evidence is guided by some time-tested hypotheses from earlier theorists such as Allport, Cattell, and Eysenck. It is a comprehensive theory in that it covers m...
Article
Full-text available
Do individual differences in personality traits become more or less pronounced over childhood and adolescence? The present research examined age differences in the variance of a range of personality traits, using parent-reports of two large samples of children from predominantly the United States and Russia, respectively. Results indicate (a) that...
Article
Full-text available
Heritable variance in psychological traits may reflect genetic and biological processes that are not necessarily specific to these particular traits but pertain to a broader range of phenotypes. We tested the possibility that Five-Factor Model personality domains and their 30 facets, as rated by people themselves and their knowledgeable informants,...
Preprint
Personality researchers often supplement or substitute self-reports with ratings from knowledgeable informants, at least implicitly assuming that the same constructs are measured regardless of the source of ratings. However, measurement invariance (MI) of personality constructs across these rating types has rarely been empirically tested. Here, thi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Heritable variance in psychological traits may reflect genetic and biological processes that are not necessarily specific to these particular traits but pertain to a broader range of phenotypes. We tested the possibility that Five-Factor Model personality domains and their 30 facets, as rated by people themselves and their knowledgeable informants,...
Preprint
The chapter argues that individuals are dynamic systems that continually transact with their situational experiences. Computational modeling may provide a useful set of tools for generating and refining hypotheses regarding general principles of such person-situation transactions. Building computational models encourages conceptual rigor and allows...
Article
Full-text available
We discuss the Gaussian graphical model (GGM; an undirected network of partial correlation coefficients) and detail its utility as an exploratory data analysis tool. The GGM can highlight potential causal relationships between observed variables---psychological dynamics---in addition to showing which variables predict one-another. We describe the u...