ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Consensual stereotypes of some groups are relatively accurate, whereas others are not. Previous work suggesting that national character stereotypes are inaccurate has been criticized on several grounds. In this article we (a) provide arguments for the validity of assessed national mean trait levels as criteria for evaluating stereotype accuracy; and (b) report new data on national character in 26 cultures from descriptions (N=3,323) of the typical male or female adolescent, adult, or old person in each. The average ratings were internally consistent and converged with independent stereotypes of the typical culture member, but were weakly related to objective assessments of personality. We argue that this conclusion is consistent with the broader literature on the inaccuracy of national character stereotypes.
Content may be subject to copyright.
The inaccuracy of national character stereotypes
Robert R. McCrae
, Wayne Chan
, Lee Jussim
, Filip De Fruyt
, Corinna E. Löckenhoff
Marleen De Bolle
, Paul T. Costa Jr.
, Martina Hr
, Sylvie Graf
, Anu Realo
, Jüri Allik
Katsuharu Nakazato
, Yoshiko Shimonaka
, Michelle Yik
, Emília Ficková
, Marina Brunner-Sciarra
Norma Reátigui
, Nora Leibovich de Figueora
, Vanina Schmidt
, Chang-kyu Ahn
, Hyun-nie Ahn
Maria E. Aguilar-Vafaie
, Jerzy Siuta
, Barbara Szmigielska
, Thomas R. Cain
, Jarret T. Crawford
Khairul Anwar Mastor
, Jean-Pierre Rolland
, Florence Nansubuga
, Daniel R. Miramontez
Veronica Benet-Martínez
, Jérôme Rossier
, Denis Bratko
, Iris Marušic
, Jamin Halberstadt
Mami Yamaguchi
, Goran Knez
, Danka Puric
, Thomas A. Martin
, Mirona Gheorghiu
Peter B. Smith
, Claudio Barbaranelli
, Lei Wang
, Jane Shakespeare-Finch
, Margarida P. Lima
Waldemar Klinkosz
, Andrzej Sekowski
, Lidia Alcalay
, Franco Simonetti
, Tatyana V. Avdeyeva
V.S. Pramila
, Antonio Terracciano
809 Evesham Avenue, Baltimore, MD, USA
National Institute on Aging, Baltimore, MD, USA
Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, USA
Department of Developmental, Personality, and Social Psychology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
Department of Human Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Institute of Psychology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Brno, Czech Republic
Department of Psychology, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia
Estonian Academy of Sciences, Tallinn, Estonia
Faculty of Social Welfare, Iwate Prefectural University, Iwate, Japan
Department of Human Studies, Bunkyo Gakuin University, Bunkyo, Japan
Division of Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Institute of Experimental Psychology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
Faculty of Psychology, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
Department of Psychology, University of Buenos Aires,Buenos Aires, Argentina
Department of Education, Pusan National University, Busan, Republic of Korea
Department of Psychology, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Department of Psychology, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran
Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland
School of Cognitive Science, Hampshire College, Amherst, MA, USA
Department of Psychology, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ, USA
Personality Research Group, University Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia
UFR STAPS, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, Nanterre, France
Institute of Psychology, Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
Office of Institutional Research and Planning, San Diego Community College District, San Diego, CA, USA
ICREA and Department of Political and Social Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
Institute of Psychology, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland
Department of Psychology, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Institute for Social Research in Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
Department of Psychology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
Department of Psychology, Belgrade University, Belgrade, Serbia
Department of Psychology, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, PA, USA
School of Psychology, Queens University, Belfast, United Kingdom
School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Falmer, United Kingdom
Department of Psychology, La Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
Department of Psychology, Peking University, Beijing, China
School of Psychology and Counseling, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
Faculty of Psychology and Educational Science, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Department of Psychology, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Lublin, Poland
Escuela de Psicología, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
Graduate School of Professional Psychology, University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis, MN, USA
0092-6566/$ - see front matter Ó2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Journal of Research in Personality 47 (2013) 831–842
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Journal of Research in Personality
journal homepage:
Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India
Department of Geriatrics, Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, FL, USA
article info
Article history:
Available online 22 August 2013
National character
Five-Factor Model
Personality traits
Consensual stereotypes of some groups are relatively accurate, whereas others are not. Previous work
suggesting that national character stereotypes are inaccurate has been criticized on several grounds. In
this article we (a) provide arguments for the validity of assessed national mean trait levels as criteria
for evaluating stereotype accuracy and (b) report new data on national character in 26 cultures from
descriptions (N= 3323) of the typical male or female adolescent, adult, or old person in each. The average
ratings were internally consistent and converged with independent stereotypes of the typical culture
member, but were weakly related to objective assessments of personality. We argue that this conclusion
is consistent with the broader literature on the inaccuracy of national character stereotypes.
Ó2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Since Lippmann (1922/1991) first introduced the term stereo-
type to refer to people’s beliefs about social groups, most social sci-
entists have emphasized their inaccuracy (Allport, 1954/1979;
Brown, 2010). Basic cognitive processes have been identified that
lead people to exaggerate real differences between groups (Camp-
bell, 1967), ignore or misremember stereotype-inconsistent infor-
mation (Stangor & McMillan, 1992), and develop false beliefs to
justify injustice (Jost & Banaji, 1994). These processes are practi-
cally important because of the role stereotypes can play in sustain-
ing and exacerbating social inequalities, and theoretically
important because they demonstrate that people’s perceptions
and judgments may deviate from objectivity and rationality.
‘‘However’’, as Swim (1994, p. 21) put it, ‘‘reasons for inaccuracy
are not evidence of inaccuracy’’. And, surprisingly, much of the evi-
dence to date shows considerable accuracy in many consensual
stereotypes, including those involving age (Chan et al., 2012), gen-
der (Swim, 1994), and race (McCauley & Stitt, 1978; see reviews by
Ryan, 2002; Jussim, 2012). By accuracy we mean statistical agree-
ment between beliefs about a group and the aggregate characteris-
tics of the group in question. Importantly, stereotype accuracy does
not refer to beliefs about the sociological, historical, or biological
bases of differences between groups; it implies only that individu-
als are able to perceive group differences with some degree of pre-
cision. We are concerned here with the accuracy of consensual
stereotypes (operationalized as the average beliefs across a sample
of respondents); because of the ‘‘wisdom of crowds’’ (Surowiecki,
2004) these are likely to be substantially more accurate than per-
sonal stereotypes.
It is now clear that the degree of accuracy or inaccuracy of ste-
reotypes cannot be assumed, but must be evaluated empirically, on
a case-by-case basis. In these evaluations, however, the burden of
proof has shifted to those who claim that stereotypes are inaccu-
rate, because failure to find evidence of accuracy is often a null re-
sult, and the interpretation of null results is always difficult. In this
article we take on that burden with respect to the inaccuracy of na-
tional character stereotypes. We argue that aggregate personality
traits are appropriate criteria for evaluating the accuracy of na-
tional character stereotypes and review evidence on the adequacy
of our stereotype measure; we then report new data replicating
previous findings of inaccuracy.
The term national character might be broadly understood to in-
clude a wide range of characteristics, including intelligence,
appearance, food preferences, and athletic abilities (e.g., Ibrahim
et al., 2010). We adopt a narrower view, equating character with
personality traits, and we use a comprehensive model of personal-
ity traits, the Five-Factor Model (FFM). Our study thus speaks to the
accuracy of national stereotypes of personality traits, but does not
imply accuracy or inaccuracy in perceptions of other national
Age and gender stereotypes concerning personality traits ap-
pear to be largely accurate (Chan et al., 2012; Löckenhoff et al.,
2013), but Terracciano et al. (2005) reported that national charac-
ter stereotypes are not. They examined beliefs about the typical
personality traits of members of different cultures and found that
they were essentially unrelated to assessed mean levels of traits
in 49 cultures. However, that conclusion has been challenged on
a number of grounds (e.g., Perugini & Richetin, 2007). Because ste-
reotypes in general are often accurate, it is reasonable to ask if
flaws in the Terracciano study accounted for the negative results.
Because the sample was large (N= 3,989) and a number of alterna-
tive analytic strategies were employed, the most plausible argu-
ments are that (a) the criteria—i.e., assessed national levels of
personality traits—were invalid, or (b) the stereotype measure
was inadequate. We consider these arguments and then offer
new data on the (in)accuracy of national character stereotypes.
1.1. Validity of the accuracy criteria
The accuracy of stereotypes can only be determined by com-
paring beliefs to some objective standard. Terracciano et al.
(2005) argued that objective data on the mean levels of person-
ality traits in various nations provided such a standard, but that
view is currently a matter of controversy. In the 2005 study,
personality was assessed using either self-reports or observer
ratings of individuals in each culture on versions of the NEO
Inventories (McCrae & Costa, 2010), which measure 30 specific
traits, or facets, that define the five major personality factors
of the FFM. There is ample evidence that these instruments pro-
vide valid assessments of personality within cultures—that is,
when members of a culture are compared to each other (e.g.,
McCrae & Terracciano, 2005a).
It is less certain that mean values can be compared across cul-
tures, because different translations, response styles, or reference
group effects (RGEs) may limit the scalar equivalence of scores
(Church et al., 2011; Heine, Buchtel, & Norenzayan, 2008; Zecca
et al., 2013). However, there are reasons to doubt that response
styles or problems in translation have serious effects on culture-le-
vel NEO Inventory scores, as a number of studies have shown. We
review these before turning to a consideration of the RGE.
There are known cultural differences in acquiescent responding
(Smith, 2004), but scales from the NEO Inventories have balanced
Corresponding author. Address: Department of Geriatrics, Florida State Univer-
sity College of Medicine, 1115 W. Call Street, Room 4425-B, Tallahassee, FL 32306-
4300, USA.
E-mail address: (A. Terracciano).
832 R.R. McCrae et al. / Journal of Research in Personality 47 (2013) 831–842
keying, so acquiescent responding should have minimal effect.
Cultures also differ in self-enhancement; that might bias self-re-
port data, but should not affect informant ratings of personality.
Mõttus et al. (2012a) showed that extreme responding, although
it had little effect on individual scores, had a larger effect on cul-
ture-level scores of Conscientiousness. Nevertheless, the rank-or-
der of cultures was similar when scores corrected for extreme
responding were compared to uncorrected scores, rho = .68,
p< .001. The frequency of random responding or missing data
might vary across cultures, but McCrae and colleagues (McCrae
& Terracciano, 2005b; McCrae et al., 2010) screened out proto-
cols with evidence of random responding or excessive missing
Several studies have asked bilingual respondents to complete
inventories twice, in different languages. Using the Big Five
Inventory (BFI; Benet-Martínez & John, 1998), Ramírez-Esparza,
Gosling, Benet-Martínez, Potter, and Pennebaker (2006) showed
that English/Spanish bilinguals scored higher on Extraversion,
Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness when tested in English.
However, most studies using the NEO Inventories have seen only
small and scattered differences. For example, in a study of Hong
Kong Chinese, consistent differences were found for only 3 of 30
facets (Excitement Seeking, Straightforwardness, and Altruism;
McCrae, Yik, Trapnell, Bond, & Paulhus, 1998). Bilingual studies
in Korean (Piedmont & Chae, 1997), Shona (Piedmont, Bain, McC-
rae, & Costa, 2002), and Spanish (Costa, McCrae, & Kay, 1995)
have also shown comparability of mean levels across translations
for most scales. Different Filipino samples completing the NEO
Inventory in Filipino or in English (Church & Katigbak, 2002)
and different Indian samples completing the inventory in Mara-
thi or Telugu (McCrae, 2002) showed similar, although not iden-
tical, profiles.
These studies suggest that response styles and translations may
have some impact on culture-level scores, but that it is likely to be
relatively small. When culture-level scores are examined directly
for construct validity—a ‘‘top down’’ approach—several lines of evi-
dence support their validity. The geographical distribution of traits
is consistent with the hypothesis that national scores are accurate
reflections of trait levels (Allik & McCrae, 2004; see also Gelade,
2013)—for example, Danes and Norwegians showed similar per-
sonality profiles, as did Zimbabweans and Black South Africans.
Again, scores are meaningfully correlated at the culture level with
dimensions of culture; for example, cultures high in aggregate
Openness score high in Hofstede’s Individualism (Hofstede & McC-
rae, 2004).
Perhaps most compelling are data from three different sources
that demonstrate mutual agreement. McCrae (2002) compiled
self-report data from 36 cultures; McCrae and colleagues (McCrae
& Terracciano, 2005b) obtained observer ratings of college-age and
adult targets in 51 cultures as part of the Personality Profiles of
Cultures (PPOC) project; and McCrae et al. (2010) gathered obser-
ver ratings of 12–17-year-old targets in 24 cultures as part of the
Adolescent PPOC (APPOC). Correlations across cultures of mean
scores from these three studies for each of the 30 facet scales of
the NEO Inventories ranged from .18 to .82 (Mdn = .52); 69
(77%) of these were statistically significant (McCrae & Terracciano,
2005b; McCrae et al., 2010). Additional analyses using intraclass
correlations (ICCs) showed significant agreement for personality
profiles within most cultures (68%). Schmitt et al. (2007) found evi-
dence of convergent validity for Extraversion, Conscientiousness,
and Neuroticism when BFI culture means were correlated with
NEO Inventory means—although the scales showed rather poor
discriminant validity in that study. McCrae (2002) found evidence
for both convergent and discriminant validity when NEO Inventory
means were correlated with Eysenck Personality Questionnaire
(Eysenck & Eysenck, 1975) Neuroticism and Extraversion means
(see also Bartram, 2013). Taken together, these findings appear to
provide evidence of construct validity for the national means.
1.2. The reference-group effect and other standards of comparison
However, Heine and colleagues (Heine, Lehman, Peng, & Green-
holtz, 2002; Heine et al., 2008; Heine & Buchtel, 2009) have argued
that these findings may be artifacts of the RGE. In this view, re-
sponses to personality items are not absolute judgments, but are
made relative to some implicit normative group, notably the citi-
zens of one’s country: ‘‘Japanese tend to evaluate themselves on
the basis of how they compare with other Japanese, whereas Cana-
dians tend to evaluate themselves on the basis of how they com-
pare to other Canadians’’ (Heine et al., 2002, p. 905). RGEs have
been demonstrated to operate in several contexts; for example,
Guimond et al. (2007) offered evidence that women in more tradi-
tional cultures describe themselves relative to other women,
whereas women in more progressive cultures adopt people-in-
general as their frame of reference.
Heine and colleagues further argued that RGEs can explain
much of the ‘‘top down’’ evidence for the validity of culture means
in personality traits. Data from self-reports agree with data from
peer ratings, but this might be because both adopt the same refer-
ence group. Similarly, geographically close nations might have
similar personality profiles because they share similar RGEs.
This is an appealing argument, but it requires careful scrutiny. A
number of considerations argue against it.
(1) The first and most obvious problem is that, carried to its log-
ical conclusion, RGE would eliminate cultural differences in
assessed traits, because means everywhere would be aver-
age. About half the population in any culture would call
themselves high on a trait (relative to their compatriots),
and half would call themselves low; the culture mean would
always be average. (Note that this is exactly what would
happen if a researcher standardized raw scores as T-scores
within each culture: All means would be 50.) Where there
is no variation—except random sampling error—there can
be no correlation, so we would not, for example, expect
NEO Neuroticism means to be correlated across cultures
with EPQ Neuroticism means, or with mean peer ratings of
Neuroticism. Yet such correlations are repeatedly found.
Heine et al. (2002) recognized this problem and argued that
consistent cultural differences occur because social compar-
ison ‘‘is not the only process by which people come to under-
stand themselves’’ (p. 907). This suggests that RGE serves
only to attenuate cultural differences—to drive scores some
way toward the mean. That would imply that assessed cul-
ture means are not accurate in an absolute sense, but—other
things being equal—would still be accurate in a relative
sense, and it is the relative levels of traits across cultures
that we use to assess the accuracy of national character
(2) It is not clear to whom people in fact compare themselves
when completing personality inventories. To their circle of
friends? To the national average? To a ‘‘perceived interna-
tional norm’’ (p. 301) that Heine et al. (2008) suggested is
used when describing national stereotypes? In some cul-
tures, comparisons seem to be made to one’s own gender
These studies do not directly address the issue of measurement invariance as
assessed by such techniques as multigroup confirmatory factor analysis (MCFA). A
head-to-head comparison of results from bottom-up techniques like MCFA with top-
down approaches such as culture-level correlations would be illuminating.
R.R. McCrae et al. / Journal of Research in Personality 47 (2013) 831–842 833
(Guimond et al., 2007). The most plausible case is that differ-
ent respondents choose different reference groups, contrib-
uting noise, but not systematic bias, to mean scores.
(3) RGE is more problematic for some items than for others. As
Heine et al. (2002) noted, responses to some questions
‘‘might rely more on introspection and comparison with
internal standards than on implicit comparisons with con-
sensually shared standards’’ (p. 914). Rating the item ‘‘I am
not a very methodical person’’ may require some idea of
how methodical the typical person is, but it is not clear that
any reference group at all is needed to rate such items as ‘‘I
have never literally jumped for joy’’ or ‘‘I’d rather vacation at
a popular beach than an isolated cabin in the woods.’’ All
these items are included in the NEO Inventories.
(4) The RGE is in fact only one example of a broader class of arti-
facts, namely, different standards of comparison. In particu-
lar, members of a culture might have very high standards for
assessing a trait such as Conscientiousness, not because their
compatriots on average scored high on the trait (as the RGE
assumes), but because Conscientiousness is highly valued in
the culture. But are there in fact large cultural differences in
norms for Conscientiousness? Mõttus and colleagues (Mõt-
tus et al., 2012b) examined that idea by generating a set of
anchoring vignettes and asking respondents in 21 diverse
cultures to rate the Conscientiousness of the individual
depicted in each. They concluded that there were ‘‘no sub-
stantial culture-related differences in standards for Consci-
entiousness’’ (p. 303) and the small differences they found
had little effect on the ranking of self-report means in these
(5) McCrae et al. (1998) examined social judgment effects by
comparing ratings of Chinese undergraduates made by
Canadian-born Chinese or recent immigrants from Hong
Kong. These two groups of raters might be assumed to have
different standards for judging personality traits. However,
the resulting profiles were strikingly similar, and showed
significant differences for only four of the 30 NEO Inventory
facets and only one factor, Neuroticism (Hong Kong-born
raters perceived Chinese undergraduates as somewhat
higher in Neuroticism than did Canadian-born raters).
(6) Geographical patterns cannot easily be explained by RGEs or
other culture differences in standards—at least not in ways
that favor the accuracy of national stereotypes. Heine and col-
leagues argued that geographically close countries such as the
US and Canada have similar observed mean personality pro-
files (ICC = .66; Terracciano et al., 2005) because they share
cultural norms for the assessment of traits. Shared standards
would indeed lead to similar observed profiles—but only if the
real underlying profiles were also similar. This must be so
because the observed score is a function of the true score
and the standard of evaluation that is implicitly relied on in
evaluating the true score. But the national stereotypes of
unassuming Canadians and arrogant Americans are diametri-
cally opposed (ICC = –.53); if the true underlying profiles are
similar, one or both of the stereotypes must be wrong.
These arguments are not definitive. There have been no stud-
ies to date on cultural standards for four of the five factors.
England and Australia might have different true score profiles
and different standards of comparison that just happen to
cancel out to yield similar observed profiles. But the most par-
simonious conclusion at present is that RGE and other cultural
differences in standards for evaluating traits have fairly minor
effects. The assessed personality profiles in our criterion sets
are surely not perfect, but they are probably adequate for
the assessment of the accuracy of national stereotypes.
1.3. Adequacy of the stereotype measure
Is it possible that the null results reported by Terracciano et al.
(2005) are due to problems in the instrument used to assess ste-
reotypes, the National Character Survey (NCS)? When first used
it was an ad hoc measure with 30 items corresponding conceptu-
ally to the 30 facet scales of the NEO Inventories. Respondents
were asked to ‘‘judge the likelihood of 30 characteristics for the
typical’’ member of their own culture, using five-point scales. For
example, the characteristic national level of anxiety was rated on
a scale from anxious, nervous, worrying to at ease, calm, relaxed.
Terracciano et al. (2005) showed that the NCS had reasonable psy-
chometric properties, given its brevity: The five domain scales (cre-
ated by summing the relevant six items for each of the five factors)
had adequate internal consistency, the factor structure gave a rea-
sonable approximation to that of the NEO Inventories, and, when
aggregated across raters, the mean scores for each trait reliably dis-
tinguished among nations.
Subsequent studies using the NCS have provided additional
support. Terracciano and McCrae (2007) reported that NCS ratings
of Americans remained similar in Lebanon (ICC = .74) and Italy
(ICC = .92) in the six-month period before and after the American
invasion of Iraq. Five years after the PPOC study, the NCS was read-
ministered to new samples of raters in Estonia and Poland (Realo
et al., 2009) and in Slovakia, Germany, Poland, and the Czech
Republic (Hr
ˇková & Graf, 2013; Kour
ˇilová & Hr
2011); in all five cultures, very similar trait profiles were found
on the two occasions (ICCs = .78–.93, N= 30, p< .001). This might
be seen as evidence of retest reliability at the culture level; it is a
particularly stringent test, both because different raters were used
on different occasions, and because the retest interval was quite
These two studies also provided evidence that different transla-
tions of the NCS yield comparable scores. Raters in Estonia, Finland,
Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, and Poland generally agreed on their
depiction of the typical Russian (Mdn ICC = .58; Realo et al.,
2009). Raters in Austria, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland,
and Slovakia generally agreed on their views of each other (e.g.,
Czechs and Germans agreed on the depiction of Austrians), with
25 of 30 comparisons statistically significant (Mdn ICC = .68;
ˇková & Graf, 2013). Further, there is evidence that heteroste-
reotypes agree with autostereotypes for some (though not all) cul-
tures (Boster & Maltseva, 2006). For example, pooled international
ratings of the typical American closely resembled ratings from
Americans themselves (Terracciano & McCrae, 2007), and the ste-
reotype of Germans held by other central Europeans matched Ger-
man autostereotypes (Hr
ˇková & Graf, 2013). These findings
might be interpreted as evidence of the interrater reliability of
the NCS at the culture level, an international consensus on national
stereotypes. But consensus is not necessarily evidence of accuracy
(Kenny, 1994), just as reliability is not equivalent to validity.
It is more difficult to assess the validity of the NCS. A stereotype
measure that accurately reflects what people believe might be
called valid, even if the beliefs themselves were entirely false. To
avoid confusion between validity and accuracy, we will refer to
this psychometric property as fidelity: Does the NCS faithfully re-
flect the beliefs of respondents? On its face, it does. Terracciano
et al. (2005) found, for example, that Americans were characterized
as being assertive and the British were described as reserved; these
seem to fit familiar stereotypes. Chinese Malaysian students ste-
reotype Malays as friendly but lazy (Ibrahim et al., 2010), consis-
tent with their NCS scores on Warmth (T= 54.5) and Self-
Discipline (T= 45.1; McCrae, Terracciano, Realo, & Allik, 2007).
Church and Katigbak (2002) recruited panels of American and Fil-
ipino judges, all of whom had lived in both the US and the
834 R.R. McCrae et al. / Journal of Research in Personality 47 (2013) 831–842
Philippines for at least three years, and asked them to indicate on a
7-point scale whether Filipinos or Americans were higher on each
of the NEO facet traits. These judgments correlated r= .72, N= 30,
p< .001, with the difference between Terracciano et al.’ NCS scores
for Filipinos and Americans. However, a broader and more system-
atic assessment of fidelity is needed.
When the validity of a trait measure is assessed, the most com-
mon form of evidence is a correlation between the measure and
another scale designed to assess the same trait—for example, a
new anxiety scale may be correlated with an established measure
of anxiety. McCrae, Terracciano, Realo, and Allik (2008) provided
such evidence for NCS measures of Agreeableness and Conscien-
tiousness by correlating them with scales from the Global Leader-
ship and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) project
(House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, & Gupta, 2004). The GLOBE Hu-
mane Orientation scale asks informants if members of their culture
are generous and friendly; this scale correlated .50 (N= 33 cultures,
p< .01) with NCS Agreeableness. The GLOBE Future Orientation
scale, which assesses the degree to which typical culture members
are thought to plan ahead, correlated .65 with NCS Conscientious-
ness. At present, there do not appear to be alternative measures of
national stereotypes of Neuroticism, Extraversion, or Openness
(but see Peabody, 1985, for data on other personality variables).
One design might be to ask respondents to complete the full,
240-item NEO Inventory to describe the typical culture member
and to evaluate the briefer NCS against that criterion. In the pres-
ent study we assess the fidelity of the NCS across different formats
of administration. Our design allows us to ask if NCS scores faith-
fully reflect the perceived character of the whole nation, or if they
depict only some demographic segments of the nation.
1.4. The accuracy of national character stereotypes
Terracciano et al. (2005) assessed the accuracy of national char-
acter autostereotypes—the views of the group held by ingroup
members—of 30 traits across 49 cultures, and of 49 cultures across
a 30-trait profile, using both self-reported and observer rated per-
sonality assessments as criteria. They found no consistent evidence
of accuracy, except for the personality profile of Poles. McCrae et al.
(2010) found that the national autostereotype profiles reported by
Terracciano and colleagues were related to mean national profiles
of adolescents aged 12–17 in Argentina (ICC = .39, p< .05) and Tur-
key (ICC = .42, p< .05), but not in 20 other cultures. Realo et al.
(2009) reported the accuracy of autostereotypes of national char-
acter in nine samples from seven cultures, using the NCS to assess
stereotypes and a modification of the NCS to obtain self-reported
personality assessments to serve as the criteria. They showed
agreement (ICCs = .39–.52) for only four of the nine samples (Poles,
Finns, Russians, and adult Estonians). Hr
ˇková and Graf (2013)
found accurate autostereotypes for Poles and adult Czechs, but
not for Austrians, Germans, Slovaks, or college-age Czechs. Overall,
it appears that there is little evidence that national character aut-
ostereotypes as assessed by the NCS are accurate representations
of mean trait levels except in Poland, where agreement may be
simply a coincidence.
Arguably, autostereotypes may be distorted by ethnocentric
bias, whereas the perceptions of outgroup members may be more
objective. Terracciano et al. (2005) did not address that possibility,
but Realo et al. (2009) compared perceptions of the typical Russian
by Belarusians, Estonians, Finns, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Poles to
the assessed personality profile of Russians and found no agree-
ment (ICCs=.39 to .31). Hr
ˇková and Graf (2013) used the
NCS to gather information on the views of Austrians, Czechs, Ger-
mans, Poles, and Slovaks about each other. They found no evidence
that any of these heterostereotypes agreed with assessed personality.
Outgroup members do not appear to have any more accurate per-
ceptions of national character than do ingroup members.
Many stereotypes are reasonably accurate (Jussim, 2012). When
the 30 NCS items were used to assess typical adolescents, adults,
and old persons, these age stereotypes proved to be remarkably
accurate when compared to known age differences in personality
(Chan et al., 2012). In addition, Löckenhoff et al. (2013) showed
that, when applied to males and females, NCS items captured gen-
der stereotypes that correspond to established sex differences in
personality (Costa, Terracciano, & McCrae, 2001). These studies,
which also used NEO Inventory data as criteria, demonstrate that
stereotypes assessed by the NCS may be quite accurate when an
appropriate target is chosen. Of course, there is no guarantee that
all stereotypes are accurate, and if NCS ratings of national character
do not resemble NEO Inventory profiles of different cultures, it is
probably because national character stereotypes are inherently
One possible explanation for that inaccuracy might be that na-
tional character stereotypes vary substantially across different
subcultures or subgroups. For example, the stereotype of Northern
Italians is dramatically different from that of Southern Italians
(McCrae et al., 2007). Conceivably, national character may be dif-
ferent for males and females, or for adults and old persons. If, when
asked to rate the typical culture member, some respondents use
men as their frame of reference and others use women, the pooled
responses might be meaningless.
1.5. A replication and extension
Psychologists have recently been reminded of the crucial
importance of replication for their science (Pashler & Wagenmak-
ers, 2012). It is thus important to attempt to replicate the null find-
ings of Terracciano et al. (2005); here we use a modified version of
the NCS in a subset of the cultures originally examined. As part of
the APPOC (De Fruyt, De Bolle, McCrae, Terracciano, & Costa, 2009),
respondents in 26 cultures were asked to make ratings of the typ-
ical male or female of a specific age in their own culture—for exam-
ple, one group of Ugandans rated the traits of the typical
adolescent Ugandan girl. Earlier research had asked only about
an undifferentiated national character (e.g., the typical Ugandan),
and it is unclear what respondents had in mind when making rat-
ings. In the present study age and gender of the target are specified,
and we can determine if national stereotypes are in fact consistent
across these categories. If national stereotypes prove to be general-
izable across age and gender categories, then averaging them may
provide the most faithful assessment of the true national stereo-
type. The accuracy of these assessments can be judged against as-
sessed mean personality traits. It has been shown that national
personality profiles are generalizable across age and gender (McC-
rae, 2002; McCrae & Terracciano, 2005b), so the criteria can be
averaged across these groups.
However, the personality profiles of different age and gender
groups in a given culture are not identical, and it is possible that
age- and gender-specific stereotypes will be more accurate when
compared to criteria matched on age and gender. This hypothesis
is based on the premise that people have extensive experience
with different age and gender groups within their own culture,
and can therefore describe age and sex differences with some de-
gree of accuracy. When they assess a particular category (e.g., adult
male Chileans), their ratings are a function of their accurate knowl-
edge of age and gender differences as well as their beliefs about na-
tional differences. Even if their national character stereotypes are
completely unfounded, these ratings will correlate to some extent
with the assessed personality traits of the corresponding age and
gender group, because both sets of scores share variance due to
R.R. McCrae et al. / Journal of Research in Personality 47 (2013) 831–842 835
true within-culture differences in age and gender. In this study, we
also test that hypothesis.
2. Method
2.1. Procedure
Participants (N= 3323) from 26 countries around the world
rated the personality characteristics of typical males and females
in their culture as part of a study on stereotype accuracy (see Chan
et al., 2012). These participants were previously described in detail
in Löckenhoff et al. (2009); about two-thirds were women and
most were in their early 20 s.
They were assigned either males or
females as targets, then rated the personality traits of the typical
adolescent, adult, and old person in their own country in counterbal-
anced order. Previous analyses (Chan et al., 2012) suggested that one
effect of this design was to exaggerate age contrasts for the second
and third rating; for that reason this article employs only the first
rating made by each participant.
Approximately one-sixth of the
sample provided ratings of each group: adolescent boys, adolescent
girls, adult men, adult women, old men, and old women.
In previous studies, Chan et al. (2012) and Löckenhoff et al.
(2013) analyzed the accuracy of age and gender stereotypes,
respectively, using the data set analyzed here. The present article
provides the first analyses of the accuracy of national character
2.2. Measures
Stereotypes were assessed using the National Character Survey
(NCS; Terracciano et al., 2005), which consists of 30 bipolar items
corresponding to the 30 facets of the NEO Inventories (McCrae &
Costa, 2010). NCS domain scores are calculated by summing six
facets for each of the five factors; in this sample, Cronbach’s
(N= 3323) were .62, .61, .66, .66, .77 for Neuroticism, Extraversion,
Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness, respectively,
which are acceptable for six-item scales. Interjudge reliability
[ICC(1,k)] of the mean values for each Culture Sex Age group
was calculated for each NCS domain and facet; these values ranged
from .64 to .95 (Mdn = .80), suggesting that respondents generally
agree on the perceived personality features that differentiate these
groups. Analyses also showed that male and female raters gave
similar ratings (see Chan et al., 2012, for details).
To assess overall national character stereotypes, we collapsed
data across age and gender groups. NCS scores were first standard-
ized as T-scores (M= 50, SD = 10) within the entire sample, so that
all traits would have the same metric. These scores, however, con-
tain variance due to stereotypes of age and gender that can obscure
the effects of national character. To eliminate universal age and gen-
der effects we centered each trait within each of the six target groups
by subtracting its mean within that target group and adding 50.0,
such that the grand mean of each trait across all raters is 50.0 for
each age and gender group. Note that this is similar to the familiar
practice of standardizing personality test scores by using age- and
gender-specific norms. The recentered NCS scores are age- and gen-
der-corrected ratings that should contain only variance due to na-
tional character differences, age and gender effects unique to
different cultures, and error. Finally, the recentered scores within
rater country were averaged across all six targets to generate mean
national character stereotype scores for each trait.
2.3. Comparison samples
To assess the fidelity of mean NCS scores as measures of national
character stereotypes, we compared them to previously published
mean national character stereotype data (N= 25 cultures with
complete data; Terracciano et al., 2005). To assess the accuracy of
national character stereotypes, we compared mean NCS scores to
mean personality assessments from three previous studies that
had used versions of the NEO Inventories. The first (Self) consisted
of self-reports from college-age and adult respondents (N=18
overlapping cultures; McCrae, 2002; McCrae & Terracciano,
2008). These data had been collected by a variety of independent
investigators using their own sampling designs; some included
only adult, some only student samples, and some both age groups.
McCrae (2002) standardized the data as T-scores within age and
gender groups using American norms (Costa & McCrae, 1992)
and estimated national trait levels as the unweighted average of
the available groups. The second comparison sample (PPOC) con-
sisted of observer ratings of college-age and adult (40 + years) tar-
gets (N= 26 cultures; McCrae & Terracciano, 2005b). These data
had been collected as part of a collaborative project in which
roughly equal samples of college age and adult male and female
targets had been rated. Data were standardized as T-scores using
norms from the full international PPOC sample, and culture means
were published in McCrae and Terracciano (2008). The third com-
parison sample (APPOC) consisted of observer ratings of adoles-
cents aged 12–17 (N= 21 cultures; De Fruyt et al., 2009)
collected in a design modeled on the PPOC. T-scores were calcu-
lated using the full APPOC norms (McCrae et al., 2010).
3. Results
3.1. Generalizability across targets
If national character stereotypes in a given culture are truly na-
tional, they ought to be reflected in perceptions of the typical man
as well as the typical woman, the typical adolescent as well as the
typical adult in that culture. To test that assumption, we conducted
reliability analyses at the domain and profile levels, asking
whether facet levels across all cultures were similar in each of
the six target groups. For the five domain analyses, we treated rec-
entered NCS facet means in each country as cases (N= 6 facets 26
cultures = 156 rows) and the age-by-gender target groups as items
(k= 6 columns). The composite score, which is the mean of the six
groups (items), had an
of .65 for Neuroticism, suggesting that in
cultures where adolescents were thought to be high in Neuroticism
facets, adults were also generally thought to be high; where wo-
men were considered low in Neuroticism (relative to women in
other cultures), so, in general, were men. Alphas for the other do-
mains were .56, .71, .66, and .46 for Extraversion, Openness, Agree-
ableness, and Conscientiousness, respectively. For the full profile
analysis, we treated recentered NCS facet means in each country
as cases (N= 30 facets 26 cultures = 780 rows) and the age-by-
gender target groups as items (k= 6 columns). For this analysis,
was .62, which is adequate for so brief a measure. All corrected
item/total correlations were above .25 (p< .001), and none of the
six category means would improve
if removed from the scale.
It thus appears to be appropriate to treat the mean across catego-
ries as a measure of overall national character stereotypes.
3.2. Fidelity and accuracy of stereotypes for traits
We analyzed fidelity and accuracy of scales on a case-by-case
basis. For the trait analyses, the fidelity or accuracy of each domain
and facet scale was calculated as the Pearson correlation between
Supplementary analyses in a subset of cultures (Chan et al., 2012; Terracciano
et al., 2005) suggested that similar results would be obtained from older raters.
Analyses using all three ratings showed results similar to, but somewhat weaker
than, those presented here.
In France, all participants first rated the typical adolescent French boy or girl, so
only these two groups are represented in the French composite.
836 R.R. McCrae et al. / Journal of Research in Personality 47 (2013) 831–842
mean NCS scores from the present study and mean scores from the
comparison samples (e.g., stereotypes of national Extraversion vs.
mean assessments of Extraversion). This analysis allows us to
determine whether national character stereotypes are faithful
and accurate for specific personality traits. Note that these correla-
tions do not depend on the metric of the scales (e.g., raw scores,
American norms, international norms) because correlations are
invariant across linear transformations.
Table 1 contains the comparison analyses by domain and facet.
The first data column demonstrates convergent fidelity for stereo-
types of specific traits. All correlations are positive, and 30 of 35 are
statistically significant; the median correlation across facets is .47.
Thus, similar results are obtained whether national stereotypes are
assessed by asking about the typical culture member in general
(the PPOC NCS criteria; Terracciano et al., 2005), or by averaging
across assessments of national character in different age and gen-
der groups (the present study). Because these data were obtained
from entirely different sets of raters, national character stereotypes
of personality appear to be generalizable.
The last three columns report correlations with the personality
assessment criteria of accuracy. Significant correlations are found
for 19 of the 105 correlations, and two-thirds of the correlations
are positive. Results replicate across at least two of the three com-
parisons for five facets: Angry Hostility, Vulnerability, Tender-
Mindedness, Order, and Deliberation.
The median facet values,
however, are quite modest, ranging from .05 to .12. National charac-
ter stereotypes might be said to contain a grain of truth, with true
national differences accounting for perhaps 1% or 2% of the cross-na-
tional variation in perceived personality differences.
3.3. Fidelity and accuracy of stereotypes for cultures
For the profile analyses, we correlated profiles based on the 30
facets within each culture separately; this allows us to determine
whether national character stereotypes are faithful and accurate
for particular cultures. As in previous profile analyses (McCrae &
Terracciano, 2005b; McCrae et al., 2010), both NCS means and cri-
terion means were restandardized within the subset of cultures
analyzed. Standardization ensures that profile agreement is not
an artifact of normative levels of traits (see Furr, 2008); the
Table 1
Correlations across cultures of APPOC NCS means with PPOC NCS and NEO Inventory means.
Trait NCS NEO Inventory
(25) Self
(18) PPOC
(26) APPOC
: Neuroticism .59
.21 .39
: Extraversion .51
.08 .19 .23
: Openness .48
.42 .10 .04
: Agreeableness .67
.39 .33
: Conscientiousness .45
.11 .17 .45
: Anxiety .46
.17 .02 .08
: Angry Hostility .67
.14 .45
: Depression .73
.09 .15 .05
: Self-consciousness .31 .11 .11 .11
: Impulsiveness .49
.06 .14 .05
: Vulnerability .49
: Warmth .65
.16 .41 .45
: Gregariousness .35
.16 .09 .00
: Assertiveness .24 .24 .23 .21
: Activity .28 .26 .02 .11
: Excitement Seeking .45
.05 .35
: Positive Emotions .52
.09 .24 .46
: Fantasy .47
.08 .02 .16
: Aesthetics .47
.17 .30 .58
: Feelings .36
.60 .50 .49
: Actions .41
.18 .03 .07
: Ideas .44
.08 .49
: Values .42
.47 .11 .02
: Trust .56
.21 .23 .13
: Straightforwardness .59
.12 .10 .07
: Altruism .39
.14 .08 .04
: Compliance .56
.18 .23 .25
: Modesty .68
.32 .09 .12
: Tender-Mindedness .65
: Competence .19 .20 .01 .40
: Order .34
.26 .42
: Dutifulness .35
.04 .18 .44
: Achievement Striving .18 .04 .13 .14
: Self-Discipline .63
.07 .07 .29
: Deliberation .64
.27 .37
Facet Mdn .47 .05 .12 .09
Note: Ns in parentheses. APPOC = Adolescent Personality Profiles of Cultures project. PPOC = Personality Profiles of Cultures project. NCS = National Character Survey.
Ratings of typical culture member from Terracciano et al. (2005).
Self-reports from McCrae (2002), and McCrae and Terracciano (2008).
Peer ratings from McCrae and Terracciano (2005b).
Peer ratings from De Fruyt et al. (2009).
p< .05, one-tailed.
p< .01, one-tailed.
p< .001, one-tailed.
Terracciano et al. (2005) also found evidence of accuracy for stereotypes of
Vulnerability (with the observer rating criterion) and Tender-Mindedness (with the
self-report criterion), but not for Angry Hostility, Order, or Deliberation.
R.R. McCrae et al. / Journal of Research in Personality 47 (2013) 831–842 837
expected value for chance agreement in these analyses is zero, and
any positive correlation suggests some degree of accuracy. Further,
standardization means that each facet is given equal weight in the
profile. Furr (2010) recommended Pearson correlations of stan-
dardized scores as a measure of profile agreement; because they
are sensitive only to the shape of the profile, they would correctly
assess accuracy if the RGE attenuates the observed level of traits. In
previous research we used intraclass correlations, which are more
conservative because they take into account both shape and eleva-
tion of the profile. Here we report both.
Table 2 reports analyses of personality profiles for individual
cultures. The first four data columns report Pearson correlations.
With regard to stereotype fidelity, the profile correlations are posi-
tive in all countries except Russia;
17 of 25 values (68%) are signif-
icant (N= 30 profile elements, p< .05, one-tailed), and the median
correlation is .50. By contrast, the accuracy analyses in the next three
columns show only 13 of 65 correlations (20%) are significant; med-
ian values ranged from .04 to .18. Replicated effects are seen only for
France and Hong Kong (although Poland, which had shown evidence
of an accurate autostereotype in previous research, does show a sig-
nificant effect when compared to PPOC assessments). As expected,
the more conservative intraclass correlations in the last four col-
umns are consistently smaller than the Pearson correlations. Of the
25 tests of fidelity, 13 (52%) were significant, but only 9 of 65 tests
of accuracy (14%) reached statistical significance. In most of these
cultures, personality stereotypes contain no more than a grain of
3.4. Accuracy of age- and gender-specific national stereotypes
The analyses of accuracy presented in the previous sections em-
ployed a composite stereotype score averaged across all six age-
by-gender targets, but it is possible that stereotypes of some target
groups may be more accurate than others. To examine that, we cre-
ated a summary index of national character stereotype accuracy by
correlating the profile of APPOC NCS scores with the profile of
PPOC NEO Inventory means for each trait in each culture (N=30
facets 26 culture = 780 cases). For the composite stereotype
score, this correlation was .12, comparable to the median facet cor-
relation with the PPOC criteria in Table 1. Overall accuracy correla-
tions using centered scores for each target group ranged from .00
for adolescent boys to .14 for adult women.
However, higher correlations might be found if more differenti-
ated analyses were conducted. For this purpose, we correlated cen-
tered NCS scores for each of the six target groups with six different
criteria: mean NEO Inventory scores for adolescent boys and girls
from the APPOC study and college-age and adult men and women
from the PPOC study. Because these are profile analyses, we used
the restandardized criterion scores described in the previous sec-
tion. Results are reported in Table 3. In general, the data support
the hypothesis that specific stereotypes show greatest accuracy
when evaluated against corresponding criteria. All 8 such matches
in Table 3 are significant (Ns = 600–780 cases, p< .05, one-tailed),
Table 2
Associations of APPOC national stereotype profiles with PPOC national stereotype profiles and with NEO Inventory personality profiles.
Culture Pearson r ICC
NEO Inventory NCS PPOC NEO Inventory
Argentina .67
— .19 .19 .65
— .19 .16
Australia .72
— .48
.19 .65
— .43
Chile .65
.15 .19 .51
.25 .06
Croatia .74
.04 .02 .23 .72
.09 .11 .11
Czech Republic .22 .12 .25 .48
.21 .06 .24 .34
Estonia .70
.01 .28 .20 .67
.03 .27 .16
France .28 .34
.25 .22 .31
Hong Kong .40
.20 .26 .62
India .55
.05 .04 .52
.21 .07 —
Iran — — .23 .28 — — .13 .23
Italy .50
.14 .27 .49
.13 .23
Japan .33
.27 .02 .16 .25 .29 .01 .14
Malaysia .42
.08 .09 .03 .41
.06 .08 .10
New Zealand .84
— .63
— .81
— .63
PR China .59
.13 .03 .14 .52
.13 .09 .12
Peru .06 .36
.26 .18 .00 .19 .09 .18
Poland .67
.30 .49
.20 .65
.29 .47
Portugal .26 .43 .17 .44 .23 .43 .17 .37
Russia .13 .35 .05 .14 .20 .36 .06 .14
Serbia .51
.05 .04 .07 .23 .31 .28 .20
Slovakia .25 — .00 .33
.25 — .04 .07
South Korea .23 .28 .11 .37
.22 .20 .10 .37
Switzerland .71
.38 .03 .71
.44 .12 —
UK .14 .09 .12 — .06 —
USA .43
.25 .33
.01 .38
.18 .24 .05
Uganda .50
.07 .26 .20 — .25 .40
Mdn .50 .04 .09 .18 .38 .02 .05 .11
Note: N = 30 facets. Associations with NCS assess stereotype fidelity; associations with NEO Inventory assess accuracy. APPOC = Adolescent Personality Profiles of Cultures
project. PPOC = Personality Profiles of Cultures project. NCS = National Character Survey.
Ratings of typical culture member from Terracciano et al. (2005).
Self-reports from McCrae (2002) and McCrae and Terracciano (2008).
Peer ratings from McCrae and Terracciano (2005b).
Peer ratings from De Fruyt et al. (2009).
p<.05, one-tailed.
p< .01, one-tailed.
p< .001, one-tailed.
NCS Russian autostereotype data were also collected in a much larger (N= 3695)
and more representative sample who rated Russians from their own region (Allik
et al., 2009). The profile from that study correlated .49 (p< .01) with the PPOC Russian
stereotype, so the Russian ratings in the present study appear to be anomalous.
838 R.R. McCrae et al. / Journal of Research in Personality 47 (2013) 831–842
with a median value of .12, whereas only 5 of 28 mismatches are
significant, with a median value of .04.
The lowest accuracy values
(.08) are found when the stereotype of boys is compared to the as-
sessed profile of adult women and when the stereotype of old men is
compared to the assessed profile of college-age women. These data
are consistent with the view that individuals are able to discern per-
sonality characteristics of specific groups—although the level of
accuracy is extremely modest.
4. Discussion
All previous research using the NCS has asked for undifferenti-
ated ratings of the typical citizen of a country or region; in this rep-
lication we specified the age and gender of the culture member.
This modification yielded averaged scores that were generally
comparable to those found with a global target, adding to the evi-
dence that NCS scores yield faithful representations of shared be-
liefs about national character. However, consistent with most
previous literature, the accuracy of these beliefs appeared to be ex-
tremely limited. Although positive associations outnumbered neg-
ative ones, the median values hovered near the summary accuracy
score of .12—far lower than the corresponding summary accuracy
scores of .74 for age stereotypes (Chan et al., 2012) and .67 for gen-
der stereotypes (Löckenhoff et al., 2013). People appear to have a
fairly good grasp of real age and sex differences in personality,
but a largely illusory understanding of national differences.
A few traits (Angry Hostility, Vulnerability, Tender-Mindedness,
Order, and Deliberation) showed significant effects in more than one
analysis, and the effects for Vulnerability and Tender-Mindedness
were replicated in an earlier study (Terracciano et al., 2005). It is pos-
sible that these are flukes, but researchers who wish to pursue the
question of accuracy in judgments of national character might focus
on these traits. Across studies, only Poland consistently appears to
have a relatively accurate national character stereotype.
4.1. Collective indicators of personality
These findings seem to be at odds with data showing that ste-
reotypes of some traits are accurate predictors of certain culture-
level indicators. In particular, Heine and colleagues (2008; see also
Oishi and Roth, 2009) reported that national stereotypes of Consci-
entiousness were associated with rapid pace of life, longevity, and
per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP). If we assume that these
indicators reflect high collective levels of Conscientiousness, then
national stereotypes appear to be accurate assessments of that
trait. In contrast, these criteria were not associated with assessed
Conscientiousness, and efforts to validate culture-level traits using
collective behavioral indicators have had mixed success. Oishi and
Roth (2009) found evidence for Agreeableness and Neuroticism,
but not Conscientiousness; Mõttus, Allik, and Realo (2010) found
some evidence for the criterion-related validity of Conscientious-
ness and its facets—although many predicted associations were
not found.
However, the association between traits and outcomes is com-
plex even at the individual level (e.g., Epstein, 1979), and likely to
be much more so at the culture level (McCrae & Terracciano, 2008;
Mõttus et al., 2010), where group behaviors also reflect history,
government policy, religion, climate, and so on. Judged by the syn-
chronized watches, polished shoes, and disciplined marching on a
military base, one might imagine that soldiers are especially high
in Conscientiousness; this, however, is not the case (e.g., Jackson,
Thoemmes, Jonkmann, Lüdtke, & Trautwein, 2012). Behaviors are
poor indicators of personality traits in strong situations, and cul-
ture is surely a strong situation.
Consider an instance in which stereotypes were belied by first-
hand acquaintance. Asian Americans tend to be accurately stereo-
typed as strong academic achievers (Caplan, Choy, & Whitmore,
1989; Chao, Chiu, Chan, Mendoza-Denton, & Kwok, 2013), and
one might expect that they would score high on measures of
Achievement Striving and other facets of Conscientiousness. In-
deed, when Anthropologist April Leininger (2002) tested a sample
of Vietnamese Americans, she was initially surprised to find that as
a group they scored a bit below average on measures of Conscien-
tiousness. After several months of participant observation, how-
ever, she concluded that the scores were accurate, and she
attributed the high academic achievement of her informants not
to intrinsic motivation but rather to relentless pressure from fam-
ily and peers to get ahead through academic pursuits in order to
advance family interests. As this example illustrates, collective
behaviors and group-level outcomes may not be useful criteria
for assessing the accuracy of national character stereotypes be-
cause they may not reflect the operation of personality traits.
Is per capita wealth a good indicator of Conscientiousness? One
useful test was provided by Rentfrow, Gosling, and Potter (2008),
who related mean Conscientiousness levels to wealth across the
50 US states. That comparison ought to be free of any distortion by
the RGE, because all Americans presumably use the same American
standard of reference. Yet the observed correlation was .19, sug-
gesting that wealth is in fact a poor criterion of collective
McCrae et al. (2007) offered a different interpretation of the
association of stereotypes of Conscientiousness with GDP: an attri-
butional bias. Fiske, Cuddy, Glick, and Xu (2002) showed that peo-
ple tend to assume that wealthy individuals are conscientious, as if
their high status were clear evidence of their innate competence. In
the same way, raters may presume that wealthy nations have
industrious citizens. Most people know which nations are wealthy
and which are poor; if knowledge of national wealth leads to pre-
sumptions of elevated national Conscientiousness, it is under-
standable that stereotypes of Conscientiousness are correlated
with GDP. It does not, however, mean that they are accurate ac-
counts of the personal dispositions of culture members.
Understanding the behavioral and institutional manifestations
of collective personality traits in different cultural contexts
is clearly an important endeavor for both personality and
Table 3
Profile correlations of age- and gender-specific national stereotypes with age- and
gender-specific NEO Inventory criteria.
NCS target APPOC
Criteria PPOC
Adolescent College-age Adult
Girls Boys Women Men Women Men
Girls .11
.04 .06
Boys .10
.04 .12
.08 .01
Women .01 .04 .04 .06 .09
Men .04 .03 .00 .06 .05 .12
Old Women .03 .03 .04 .01 .15
Old Men .04 .05 .08 .05 .04 .13
Note: Correlations in boldface are matched on age and gender. Ns vary because data
were available from different cultures for APPOC and PPOC criteria, and because
French stereotypes were available only for boys and girls. APPOC = Adolescent
Personality Profiles of Cultures project. PPOC = Personality Profiles of Cultures
project. NCS = National Character Survey.
Ns = 600–630.
Ns = 750–780.
p< .05, one-tailed.
p< .01, one-tailed.
p< .001, one-tailed.
We conducted similar analyses at the domain level, with similar results. The
median values for matched groups were .10, .07, .10, .17, and .27 for Neuroticism,
Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness facet profiles, respec-
tively; the corresponding values for mismatched groups were .10, .07, .07, .08, and
R.R. McCrae et al. / Journal of Research in Personality 47 (2013) 831–842 839
cross-cultural psychologists, but it is an exceptionally difficult one.
We do not yet understand whether traits cause associated features
of culture or vice versa (Hofstede & McCrae, 2004), and we can only
speculate on how traits might interact with preexisting customs
and the current socio-political situation to shape national patterns
of behavior. It seems clear that there is no one-to-one correspon-
dence between collective traits and collective behaviors that would
allow us to use the latter as a gold standard criterion for validating
culture-level personality measures. A more fruitful approach at
this time might be the use of alternative methods that minimize
RGEs (such as forced-choice measures; Heine et al., 2002) to refine
our assessments of culture-level traits. We also believe that psy-
chologists may more rapidly begin to untangle the riddles of per-
sonality and culture if they adopt the working hypothesis that
current assessments of culture-level personality traits are reason-
ably accurate, and trace out the implications of that assumption
in accounting for cultural variations in behavior and institutions.
This approach might clarify which aspects of culture are and are
not direct reflections of aggregate personality—and why—and
may eventually lead to better assessments of the personality pro-
files of cultures.
4.2. Problems with national character stereotypes
If the only data by which to evaluate the accuracy of national
stereotypes were correlations with assessed personality levels,
critics might point to lingering doubts about the validity of person-
ality comparisons across cultures. But in fact there are several
other lines of evidence that suggest there are serious problems
with national character stereotypes. In contrast to assessed person-
ality means, national stereotypes often make no geographical
sense (McCrae et al., 2007). Judging by stereotypes, Canadians
are far more like Indians and Burkinabè than they are like Ameri-
cans; Chinese from Hong Kong resemble Hungarians more than
they resemble Chinese from the Mainland. Again, stereotypes are
strongly influenced by variables, such as climatic temperature, that
have no plausible relation to underlying personality traits. Stereo-
types of interpersonal warmth are closely related to annual tem-
perature (r= .54, N= 49 cultures, p< .001), which appears to be
an effect of metaphoric thinking (McCrae et al., 2007; cf. Zhong &
Leonardelli, 2008). In conjunction with contrast effects, such think-
ing can lead to absurd results. Southern Italy is only a few degrees
warmer than Northern Italy, but stereotypes of Southern Italians
portray them as over 1.5 standard deviations higher in interper-
sonal warmth (McCrae et al., 2007). And although Northern Italians
constitute half the population of Italy, the stereotype of Northern
Italians is virtually the mirror image of Italians in general
(ICC =.72).
The sharp contrast of regional stereotypes in Italy points to an-
other characteristic feature of national stereotypes: They appear to
exaggerate differences (Terracciano et al., 2005). Hr
ˇková and
Graf (2013) compared stereotypes of Austrians, Germans, Czechs,
Slovaks, and Poles with personality assessments in these countries
and concluded that ‘‘stereotypical beliefs exaggerate the differ-
ences between typical representatives of given countries, while
their inhabitants are actually similar in most of the examined char-
acteristics’’. Quantifying exaggeration is difficult when different
instruments (such as the NCS and the NEO Inventories) are used,
because both must be standardized in order to make them compa-
rable. For that reason, an analysis by Realo et al. (2009) is of partic-
ular interest. They assessed both national stereotypes and self-
reports of personality using the same NCS items, and compared
the proportion of variance in unstandardized scores accounted
for by national differences between Estonians, Latvians, Lithua-
nians, Poles, Belarusians, and Finns. They found that ‘‘differences
in ingroup stereotype ratings between six cultural samples were
six times bigger than differences in self-ratings of personality’’ (p.
Exaggeration is probably the wrong term to apply here, because
it suggests the unwarranted magnification of real differences,
when in many cases there is reason to think that the perceptions
of differences are completely groundless. Canadians and Ameri-
cans, for example, have highly similar assessed personality profiles
(ICC = .66), whereas their autostereotypes are diametrically op-
posed (ICC =.53; Terracciano et al., 2005). National character ste-
reotypes might more properly be said to exhibit unrealistically
large national differences.
Finally, there is evidence that RGE can affect heterostereotypes.
There is general agreement across cultures on the view that Amer-
icans are high in competence, presumably because the US is a very
wealthy nation (McCrae et al., 2007). But there are also cultural
variations in the degree of competence ascribed to Americans,
and ratings of American competence are strongly inversely associ-
ated with the per capita GDP of the raters’ nation, r=.51, N= 48,
p< .001 (Chan et al., 2011). Raters from wealthy nations judge
wealth, and therefore competence, in terms of their own standards.
That finding is a reminder that national character heterostereo-
types present a rich field for study, even if they prove to be as inac-
curate as autostereotypes. In an ideal design, informants from a
wide variety of cultures would provide ratings of each of the other
cultures. Evidence to date (e.g., Boster & Maltseva, 2006; Terracci-
ano & McCrae, 2007) suggests there would be some degree of con-
sensus on the description of each target nation, but also some
variation across cultures. That variation might be due to features
of the perceivers’ country, as Chan et al. (2011) showed, or to com-
plex interactions of perceiver and target nations. For example,
Argentines might have particularly negative views of the British
because of the Falkland Islands conflict.
Consensual stereotypes of personality traits of different age
groups and sexes have proven to be remarkably accurate. Consen-
sual stereotypes of national character are internally consistent,
generalizable across raters, and stable over time—but they show
only weak traces of accuracy. New theories are needed to help ex-
plain differential accuracy in the formation of stereotypes.
This research was supported in part by the Intramural Research
Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on
Aging. Anu Realo and Jüri Allik were supported by Grants from the
Estonian Ministry of Education and Science (SF0180029s08 and
IUT2-13). Martina Hr
ˇková and Sylvie Graf were supported by
a Grant from the Czech Science Foundation (13-25656S). Robert
R. McCrae and Paul T. Costa, Jr., receive royalties from the NEO
Allik, J., & McCrae, R. R. (2004). Toward a geography of personality traits: Patterns of
profiles across 36 cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 35, 13–28.
Allik, J., Mõttus, R., Realo, A., Pullmann, H., Trifonova, A., McCrae, R. R., &
Meshcheyakov, R. S., 55 Members of the Russian Character and Personality
Survey. (2009). RoycnpybpoBaybeyawboyakmyouo xaparnepa: Cdoqcndakb[yocnb,
gpbgbcmIdaevm Ienbgb[ovy pyccrovy. Cultural and Historical Psychology (1), 2–18
(How national character is constructed: Personality traits attributed to the
typical Russian).
Allport, G. W. (1979). The nature of prejudice (2nd ed.). New York: Perseus Books
(Original work published 1954).
Bartram, D. (2013). Scalar equivalence of OPQ32: Big Five profiles of 31 countries.
Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44, 61–83.
Benet-Martínez, V., & John, O. P. (1998). Los cinco Grandes across cultures and ethnic
groups: Multitrait multimethod analyses of the Big Five in Spanish and English.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 729–750.
Boster, J. S., & Maltseva, K. (2006). A crystal seen from each of its vertices: European
views of European national characters. Cross-Cultural Research, 40, 47–64.
840 R.R. McCrae et al. / Journal of Research in Personality 47 (2013) 831–842
Brown, R. (2010). Prejudice: Its social psychology. West Sussex, UK: John Wiley &
Campbell, D. T. (1967). Stereotypes and the perception of group differences.
American Psychologist, 22, 817–829.
Caplan, N. S., Choy, M. H., & Whitmore, J. K. (1989). The boat people and achievement
in America: A study of family life, hard work, and cultural values. Ann Arbor, MI:
University of Michigan Press.
Chan, W., McCrae, R. R., De Fruyt, F., Jussim, L., Löckenhoff, C. E., De Bolle, M., et al.
(2012). Stereotypes of age differences in personality traits: Universal and
accurate? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103, 1050–1066.
Chan, W., McCrae, R. R., Rogers, D. L., Weimer, A. A., Greenberg, D. M., & Terracciano,
A. (2011). Rater wealth predicts perceptions of outgroup competence. Journal of
Research in Personality, 45, 597–603.
Chao, M. M., Chiu, C. Y., Chan, W., Mendoza-Denton, R., & Kwok, C. (2013). The
model minority as a shared reality and its implications for interracial
perceptions. Asian American Journal of Psychology, 4, 84–92.
Church, A. T., Alvarez, J. M., Mai, N. T. Q., French, B. F., Katigbak, M. S., & Ortiz, F. A.
(2011). Are cross-cultural comparisons of personality profiles meaningful?
Differential item and facet functioning in the Revised NEO Personality
Inventory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 1068–1089.
Church, A. T., & Katigbak, M. S. (2002). The Five-Factor Model in the Philippines:
Investigating trait structure and levels across cultures. In R. R. McCrae & J. Allik
(Eds.), The Five-Factor Model of personality across cultures (pp. 129–154). New
York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
Costa, P. T., Jr., & McCrae, R. R. (1992). Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R)
and NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI) professional manual. Odessa, FL:
Psychological Assessment Resources.
Costa, P. T., Jr., McCrae, R. R., & Kay, G. G. (1995). Persons, places, and personality:
Career assessment using the Revised NEO Personality Inventory. Journal of
Career Assessment, 3, 123–139.
Costa, P. T., Jr., Terracciano, A., & McCrae, R. R. (2001). Gender differences in
personality traits across cultures: Robust and surprising findings. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 322–331.
De Fruyt, F., De Bolle, M., McCrae, R. R., Terracciano, A., & Costa, P. T. Jr.,43
Collaborators of the Adolescent Personality Profiles of Cultures Project. (2009).
Assessing the universal structure of personality in early adolescence: The NEO-
PI-R and NEO-PI-3 in 24 cultures. Assessment, 16, 301–311. doi:10.1177/
Epstein, S. (1979). The stability of behavior: I. On predicting most of the people
much of the time. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 1097–1126.
Eysenck, H. J., & Eysenck, S. B. G. (1975). Manual of the Eysenck Personality
Questionnaire. San Diego: EdITS.
Fiske, S. T., Cuddy, A. J. C., Glick, P., & Xu, J. (2002). A model of (often mixed)
stereotype content: Competence and warmth respectively follow from
perceived status and competition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
82, 878–902.
Furr, R. M. (2008). A framework for profile similarity: Integrating
similarity, normativeness, and distinctiveness. Journal of Personality, 76,
Furr, R. M. (2010). The double-entry intraclass correlation as an index of profile
similarity: Meaning, limitations, and alternatives. Journal of Personality
Assessment, 92, 1–15.
Gelade, G. (2013). Personality and place. British Journal of Psychology, 104, 69–82.
Guimond, S., Brunot, S., Chatard, A., Garcia, D. M., Martinot, D., Branscombe, N. R.,
et al. (2007). Culture, gender, and the self: Variations and impact of social
comparison processes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92,
Heine, S. J., & Buchtel, E. E. (2009). Personality: The universal and the culturally
specific. Annual Revuew of Psychology, 60, 369–394.
Heine, S. J., Buchtel, E. E., & Norenzayan, A. (2008). What do cross-national
comparisons of personality traits tell us? The case of Conscientiousness.
Psychological Science, 19, 309–313.
Heine, S. J., Lehman, D. R., Peng, K., & Greenholtz, J. (2002). What’s wrong with cross-
cultural comparisons of subjective Likert scales? The reference-group problem.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82, 903–918.
Hofstede, G., & McCrae, R. R. (2004). Personality and culture revisited: Linking traits
and dimensions of culture. Cross-Cultural Research, 38, 52–88.
ˇková, M., & Graf, S. (2013). Accuracy of national stereotypes in central
Europe: Outgroups are not better than ingroup in considering personality traits
of real people. European Journal of Personality (doi:10.1002/per.1904).
House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., & Gupta, V. (Eds.). (2004).
Culture, leadership, and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand
Oaks, CA: Sage.
Ibrahim, F., Manaf, N. A., Kit, T. L., Tamam, E., Hilmi, K., & Darman, Z. (2010). Re-
visiting Malay stereotypes: A case study among Malaysian and Indonesian
Chinese students. SEGi Review, 3(2), 153–163.
Jackson, J. J., Thoemmes, F., Jonkmann, K., Lüdtke, O., & Trautwein, U. (2012).
Military training and personality trait development: Does the military make the
man, or does the man make the military? Psychological Science, 23, 270–277.
Jost, J. T., & Banaji, M. R. (1994). The role of stereotyping in system justification and
the production of false consciousness. British Journal of Social Psychology, 33,
Jussim, L. J. (2012). Social perception and social reality: Why accuracy dominates bias
and self-fulfilling prophecy. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Kenny, D. A. (1994). Interpersonal perception: A social relations analysis. New York:
ˇilová, S., & Hr
ˇková, M. (2011). Accuracy of Slovak national stereotypes:
Result of judgment or intuition? Studia Psychologica, 53, 201–213.
Leininger, A. (2002). Vietnamese–American personality and acculturation: An
exploration of relationships between personality traits and cultural goals. In
R. R. McCrae & J. Allik (Eds.), The Five-Factor Model of personality across cultures
(pp. 189–218). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
Lippmann, W. (1991). Public opinion. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers
(Original work published 1922).
Löckenhoff, C. E., Chan, W., McCrae, R. R., De Fruyt, F., Jussim, L., De Bolle, M., et al.
(2013). Gender stereotypes of personality: Universal and accurate? (submitted
for publication).
Löckenhoff, C. E., De Fruyt, F., Terracciano, A., McCrae, R. R., De Bolle, M., Costa, P. T.
Jr., et al. (2009). Perceptions of aging across 26 cultures and their culture-level
correlates. Psychology and Aging, 24, 941–954.
McCauley, C., & Stitt, C. L. (1978). An individual and quantitative
measure of stereotypes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36,
McCrae, R. R. (2002). NEO-PI-R data from 36 cultures: Further intercultural
comparisons. In R. R. McCrae & J. Allik (Eds.), The Five-Factor Model of
personality across cultures (pp. 105–125). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum
McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. Jr., (2010). NEO Inventories professional manual. Odessa,
FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
McCrae, R. R., & Terracciano, A. (2008). The Five-Factor Model and its correlates in
individuals and cultures. In D. A. van Hemert, F. J. R. Van de Vijver, & Y. H.
Poortinga (Eds.), Multilevel analyses of individuals and cultures (pp. 249–283).
Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
McCrae, R. R., & Terracciano, A.78 Members of the Personality Profiles of Cultures
Project. (2005a). Universal features of personality traits from the observer’s
perspective: Data from 50 cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,
88, 547–561. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.88.3.547.
McCrae, R. R., & Terracciano, A.79 Members of the Personality Profiles of Cultures
Project. (2005b). Personality profiles of cultures: Aggregate personality traits.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 407–425. doi:10.1037/0022-
McCrae, R. R., Terracciano, A., De Fruyt, F., De Bolle, M., Gelfand, M. J., & Costa, P. T.
Jr.,42 Collaborators of the Adolescent Personality Profiles of Cultures Project.
(2010). The validity and structure of culture-level personality scores: Data from
ratings of young adolescents. Journal of Personality, 78, 815–838. doi:10.1111/
McCrae, R. R., Terracciano, A., Realo, A., & Allik, J. (2007). Climatic warmth and
national wealth: Some culture-level determinants of national character
stereotypes. European Journal of Personality, 21, 953–976.
McCrae, R. R., Terracciano, A., Realo, A., & Allik, J. (2008). Interpreting GLOBE societal
practice scales. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 39, 805–810.
McCrae, R. R., Yik, M. S. M., Trapnell, P. D., Bond, M. H., & Paulhus, D. L. (1998).
Interpreting personality profiles across cultures: Bilingual, acculturation, and
peer rating studies of Chinese undergraduates. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 74, 1041–1055.
Mõttus, R., Allik, J., & Realo, A. (2010). An attempt to validate national mean scores
of Conscientiousness: No necessarily paradoxical findings. Journal of Research in
Personality, 44, 630–640.
Mõttus, R., Allik, J., Realo, A., Pullmann, H., Rossier, J., Zecca, G., et al. (2012a).
Comparability of self-reported Conscientiousness across 21 countries. European
Journal of Personality, 26, 303–317.
Mõttus, R., Allik, J., Realo, A., Rossier, J., Zecca, G., & Johnson, W. (2012b). The effect
of response style on self-reported Conscientiousness across 20 countries.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 38, 1423–1436.
Oishi, S., & Roth, D. P. (2009). The role of self-reports in culture and personality
research: It is too early to give up on self-reports. Journal of Research in
Personality, 43, 107–109.
Pashler, H., & Wagenmakers, E. -J. (Eds.) (2012). Replicability in psychological science:
A crisis of confidence? Perspectives on Psychological Science (vol. 7(6)). (Special
Peabody, D. (1985). National characteristics. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Perugini, M., & Richetin, J. (2007). In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
European Journal of Personality, 21, 977–981.
Piedmont, R. L., Bain, E., McCrae, R. R., & Costa, P. T. Jr., (2002). The applicability of
the Five-Factor Model in a Sub-Saharan culture: The NEO-PI-R in Shona. In R. R.
McCrae & J. Allik (Eds.), The Five-Factor Model of personality across cultures
(pp. 155–173). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.
Piedmont, R. L., & Chae, J. H. (1997). Cross-cultural generalizability of the Five-
Factor Model of personality: Development and validation of the NEO-PI-R for
Koreans. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 28, 131–155.
Ramírez-Esparza, N., Gosling, S. D., Benet-Martínez, V., Potter, J., & Pennebaker, J. W.
(2006). Do bilinguals have two personalities? A special case of cultural frame
switching. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 99–120.
Realo, A., Allik, J., Lönnqvist, J.-E., Verkasalo, M., Kwiatkowska, A., Kööts, L., et al.
(2009). Mechanisms of the national character stereotype: How people in six
neighboring countries of Russia describe themselves and the typical Russian.
European Journal of Personality, 23, 229–249.
Rentfrow, P. J., Gosling, S. D., & Potter, J. (2008). A theory of the emergence,
persistence, and expression of geographic variation in psychological
characteristics. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 3, 339–369.
Ryan, C. S. (2002). Stereotype accuracy. European Review of Social Psychology, 13,
R.R. McCrae et al. / Journal of Research in Personality 47 (2013) 831–842 841
Schmitt, D. P., Allik, J., McCrae, R. R., Benet-Martínez, V., Alcalay, L., Ault, L., et al.
(2007). The geographic distribution of Big Five personality traits: Patterns and
profiles of human self-description across 56 nations. Journal of Cross-Cultural
Psychology, 38, 173–212.
Smith, P. B. (2004). Acquiescent response bias as an aspect of cross-cultural
communication style. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 35, 50–61.
Stangor, C., & McMillan, D. (1992). Memory for expectancy-congruent and
expectancy-incongruent information: A review of the social and social
developmental literatures. Psychological Bulletin, 111, 42–61.
Surowiecki, J. (2004). The wisdom of crowds: Why the many are smarter than the few
and how collective wisdom shapes businesses, economies, societies, and nations.
New York: Doubleday.
Swim, J. K. (1994). Perceived versus meta-analytic effect sizes: An assessment of the
accuracy of gender stereotypes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 66,
Terracciano, A., Abdel-Khalak, A. M., Adam, N., Adamovova, L., Ahn, C.-k., Ahn, H.-n.,
et al. (2005). National character does not reflect mean personality trait levels in
49 cultures. Science, 310, 96–100.
Terracciano, A., & McCrae, R. R. (2007). Perceptions of Americans and the Iraq
invasion: Implications for understanding national character stereotypes. Journal
of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 38, 695–710.
Zecca, G., Verardi, s., Antonietti, J.-P., Dahourou, D., Adjahouisso, M., Ah-Kion, J.,
et al. (2013). African cultures and the Five-Factor Model of personality:
Evidence for a specific pan-African structure and profile? Journal of Cross-
Cultural Psychology, 44, 684–700.
Zhong, C. B., & Leonardelli, G. J. (2008). Cold and lonely: Does social exclusion
literally feel cold? Psychological Science, 19, 838–842.
842 R.R. McCrae et al. / Journal of Research in Personality 47 (2013) 831–842
... Утім, Роберт МакКре на численному емпіричному матеріалі показав, що національний характер, який сприймається представниками навіть своєї власної спільноти, швидше є хибним автостереотипом, ніж справжнім знанням [McCrae et al., 2013]. Дослідники порівнювали описи пересічної людини із їхньої культури представниками 26 країн із результатами масових досліджень на основі моделі Великої П'ятірки. ...
... Описи "звичайної людини" виявилися такими, що не відповідали реальним даним (майже не було значущих збігів). Тобто уявлення про власний національний характер виявляються стереотипними [McCrae et al., 2013]. Окрім цього, стереотипізовані національні особливості психіки нерідко є абсурдними: канадці виявляються більше схожими на індійців, ніж на жителів США, китайці з Гонконга ближчі за своїм психічним складом до угорців, ніж до материкових китайців. ...
Full-text available
Culture is a fascinating phenomenon that touches upon every sphere of human activity. What is more, it is present in every aspect of human activity since culture defines the way people live, think and act. In any case, being such a complex phenomenon, it is still easy and interesting to perceive when it is presented in a variety of separate elements that refer to a specific cultural aspect. This monograph is an attempt to present culture in its variety and in its complexity. It tries to presents understanding of culture in terms of personality and ethnic groups, it gives historical perspective and even presents the potential for its future growth. All of these aspects are given within the framework of ethnocultural psychology, which is viewed as a science about ethnicity, personality and culture. The book starts with the historical review of ethnocultural psychology and its origins. It all started hundreds of years ago and nowadays this discipline has achieved a lot. It has four main branches: cross-cultural psychology, cultural psychology, cultural anthropology and indigenous psychology. Every branch is dedicated to the research of culture in its richness and complexity, but at the same time, every branch allows to view cultural elements separately from each other and from psychological perspective. This monograph provides overview of every branch and its specificity, together with the description of the current state of the discipline. Another important aspect is the connection between culture and psychic processes: the monograph tries to show that almost every psychological process in one way or another is linked to culture. Despite the idea that culture may have an impact only on higher processes, it leaves its footprint on lower processes as well. For example, perception has a tendency to be dependent on cultural specificity. This book explains main reasons behind those differences and shows how psychic processes are reflected in culture and through culture. 430 Abstract Emotions are very important for entire human race. At the same time, they are also important for every specific culture. In the book we show the main differences in emotions among cultures, countries and nations. It covers main similarities and differences, together with presenting main approaches to understanding emotions from cultural perspective. Culture has also a variety of dimensions that present and describe it. This monograph covers cultural syndromes as way to describe culture and explain what it is. In addition, it focuses on morality as the regulative norm for societies and cultures. Mental diseases are also a part of culture and the book covers the main reasons behind their emergence and their projections inside different cultures. What is more, culture may also cause certain diseases and some of them may emerge only in local communities, so this monograph presents those diseases and shows its symptoms. Finally, culture is empty without social interactions because they define what culture actually is and how it can be studied. In the book we talk about how to learn own culture and culture of other people, which difficulties might arise in these processes and what are the best strategies for achieving the most efficient results. Culture cannot exist without language and language is senseless without culture. The book opens up main connections between language and culture and explains, how they are related to each other. It also talks about ethnic stereotypes and the ways to avoid ethnocentrism, focuses on ethnic and cross-ethnic conflicts, together with the strategies for their resolution. This book presents a new approach to understanding culture: the authors have combined a variety of views on different aspects and have gathered them in one place for you. The most recent researches are combined with classic studies and it has never been done before. After reading this book you may state that you’ve got a chance to know culture from the inside and from the most psychological perspective.
... Cross-cultural studies on personality traits have been performed on self-assessment reports or intra-cultural observations (McCrae and Allik 2002;McCrae and Terracciano 2005;Schmitt et al. ). Systematic comparisons have shown that national character stereotypes are not always accurate (McCrae et al. 2013;Terracciano et al. 2005). However, because our purpose is to create realistic moving virtual characters rather than to assess the actual characteristics of cultures or professions, we rely on stereotypical perceptions rather than the accurate characteristics of nations or professions. ...
A vast body of literature has dealt with the challenges of creating the impression of human appearance and human-like motion in the animation of game characters. In this paper, we further refine these efforts by creating a flexible environment for animating game characters endowed with personality, which is a core descriptor of stable characteristics of human behavior and which is often expressed in human movement. We base our work on the Big Five personality traits, also known as OCEAN (Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism). Our environment incorporates a procedural mapping from OCEAN personality traits to movement modifiers that alter existing motions in ways compatible with a desired personality. Using Amazon Mechanical Turk, we collected stereotypical personality profiles for 135 nationalities and 100 professions. We integrated these stereotypical personality expectations into an interactive interface in Unity3D. Users can linearly blend the nationality and profession OCEAN parameters and individually adjust them for specific characters or groups. The results are validated using Amazon Mechanical Turk pairwise judgments on character types based on movements.
... Findings suggest that cultural differences in personality traits might, in part, be accounted for by changes in salient points of reference (Chen et al., 2014). Interestingly, perceived stereotypical ratings of groups are only weakly correlated with aggregate ratings of personality traits of a culture (McCrae et al., 2013). However, it remains unclear which specific aspects of cultural mindsets shape people's ratings. ...
Full-text available
Why does conscientiousness matter for education? How is conscientiousness conceptualized in the field of research on education? How do socio-emotional (SE) skills relate to conscientiousness? In an effort to help answer these questions, we review the current research on conscientiousness in education. Specifically, we examine (1) how conscientiousness is defined, (2) the assessment of conscientiousness, (3) the relation between conscientiousness and educational outcomes, (4) whether too much conscientiousness may be a bad thing, (5) the relation between conscientiousness and conceptually related educational constructs, (6) the changeability of conscientiousness and the importance of that fact to education, and (7) the challenges of assessing conscientiousness across cultures.
... 7 At the same time, it is still necessary to clarify this claim in more detail given that national-character stereotypes were often inaccurate. Many works based on the Five-Factor Model of personality inventories consistently found little national-character stereotype accuracy (e.g., Allik et al., 2011Allik et al., , 2015McCrae et al., 2013;Realo et al., 2009;Terracciano et al., 2005). Firstly, there is variation in descriptive stereotype accuracy by type of accuracy and target group (Jussim et al., 2015). ...
Full-text available
The study extends the approach of the Stereotype Content Model to ethnic stereotype content beyond intergroup relations within societies by exploring the North-South hypothesis for competence and warmth. This paper claims that the “desperate” (resource-poor and unpredictable) of lower-latitude climate regions and “hopeful” (resource-sufficient and stable) ecology higher-latitude climate regions translate into typical aggregate attributes and are afterward generalized to the status of all their residents. Further, people use this information as a diagnostic for judgments about the economic value or burden of ethnic groups in their society. Based on the data about aggregated means of competence and warmth for 77 ethnic groups in 38 regions, the multivariate models show that ethnic groups from warmer climates and from lower wealth countries are given lower evaluation in both competence and warmth stereotypes. However, ethnic groups from more northerly countries are also given a lower evaluation in warmth. Ethnic stereotypes reflect both features of ethnic groups in countries of origin (e.g., the North-South polarization) and group characteristics carried by ethnic groups in new contexts (i.e., intergroup relations). Thus, reactions to ethnic groups seem to differ partly depending on countries of origin mixed in people’s minds with information about geography, climate, and national wealth in the social perception process. Stereotypes associated with ethnic groups across countries to some extent track the stereotypes associated with the ecologies in which these ethnic groups are assumed to predominantly live. This highlights the importance of the establishment or expansion of policies and programs regarding international inequality.
The historical digression of the authors of the article into the turbulent events of the 20th century leads us to the idea that one of the main reasons for the collapse of the twice Russian statehood in the 20th century is the duality (ambivalence) of the Russian national character, in which two mutually exclusive psychological complexes coexist surprisingly: the complex of sociocultural inferiority - the disease of “Europeanism” and the complex of social exclusivity – “Moscow is the Third Rome”, creating antinomic tension inside the Russian spirit, restless at the “abyss on the edge”, bifurcating and tearing its integrity. Analyzing the genesis and chronology of the historical events of the twentieth century in Russia, the authors of the article rely on the philosophical and literary works of F.M. Dostoevsky, I.P. Pavlova, K.N. Leontiev, offer the Russian society a strategy for the revival and development of Russia in the 21st century. People are united in an ethnos not so much by the realization of a common interest, but mainly by the subconscious attraction of people to each other, based on the commonality of special stereotypes of behavior. Recall that the mentality (from the Latin “mentalis” mental) is the stereotypes of attitude and behavior characteristic of a given group (ethnic, social, etc.), the mindset and way of thinking that determine the life position, as well as the features of its manifestation.KeywordsMentalityStereotypesEthnical groupNational characterSignificant eventsConcepts
Purpose This paper aims to examine whether brands derive their personalities from their culture of origin, the stereotypes about their cultures of their origin or the cultures of their buyers. It also examines which of a culture’s personality traits are more transmittable to brand personalities (BPs), as well as the consequences of the BP resemblance to the personalities of the brand’s culture of origin and consumers’ culture on BP’s clarity and consumer attachment to the brand. Design/methodology/approach Hypotheses were developed and tested on survey data from a sample figure of 1,116 US consumers of luxury brands on 23 luxury brands originating from France, the USA, Britain, Italy and Germany. Trait by trait and personality profile analyses were performed using hierarchical model analysis (linear mixed effects models) and Cattell’s (1969) pattern similarity coefficient. Findings The culture of a brand’s origin accounts for differences of different brands personalities. The personality profiles of a country’s brands are distinct from the BP profiles of brands from other countries. The conscientiousness trait of a culture is the most transmittable to BPs. BPs derive their characteristics from stereotypes of a culture’s personality than the actual personality of the culture. The assimilation of a brand’s personality to consumer’s culture is not supported. The similarity of a BP to both real and stereotypical personality of the culture of the brand’s origin enhance perceived clarity of the BP. Research limitations/implications The study’s focus is limited to established luxury brands coming from countries that are the traditional producers of luxuries. Empirical evidence also comes only from American consumers of luxury brands. New luxury brands from countries that have recently emerged as luxury producers need to be included. Practical implications Brands retain a significant space to differentiate their personalities beyond the influence of their culture of origin on BPs. With the exception of conscientiousness, personality traits of culture are not automatically inherited or transmitted to the brands. Cultural stereotypes find their way into BPs easier than real personality traits and managers should focus on them. BP matching with the personality of a culture is a good way for managers to increase the perceived clarity of their brands’ personality. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study is the first to examine the culture’s influence on BP using a compatible to the BP construct cultural framework, McCrae and Terracciano’s (2005a) personality of a culture framework. Three cultural meaning transfer processes are examined (cultural inheritance, cultural stereotyping and acculturation to the consumer’s culture) within the same study from a trait-by-trait and a configurational (i.e. personality profile) perspective. The consequences of BP similarity to the brand’s culture of origin as well as consumer’s culture on the BP’s appeal are also assessed.
Full-text available
The strategy and tactics of Japan's contemporary migration policy are determined by the ethnocultural characteristics of the Japanese nation, recognized as the concept of national character (国民性 kokuminsei), which is both a political and scientific entity. The rapid changes in migration policy today expose the practical need to study the causes, consequences, and specifics of related social and political concepts such as national character and the factors that shape it. The accurate knowledge helps predict cultural, political, and socioeconomic changes and future agendas. This concept is a subject of paramount importance for international relations studies, as it is rooted in the Japanese nation's self-consciousness and represents core elements of national history within its interrelation with present policy. The study suggests that the Japanese national character, described and conceptualized in the late Edo period (1603–1868) and the Meiji period (1868–1912), still influences the attitudes of the Japanese towards migration and foreigners in general. The representatives of kokugaku (国学 national study) that originated at that time and nihonjin-ron (日本人論 theories about the Japanese) that developed further sought to assert the authenticity of Japanese culture and its history and construct a national identity. Assumingly, it would become an instrument of protecting the country from the influence of China and later the West. Today, researchers of Japanese culture, both in Japan and abroad, continue to refer to post-war nihonjin-ron, criticizing, rethinking, or adding to its major provisions. Content analysis of the vocabulary used in connection with the concept of national character in official documents regulating the relevant area of social policy, as well as in the media and social networks, has revealed some features of the modern interpretation of this concept. In particular, there are attempts to identify socially significant features of a member of Japanese society. Certain acculturation efforts required from migrants imply the development of the skills that are socially important from the point of view of Japanese society. The comprehensive analysis of measures for the integration and adaptation of migrants implemented by the local governments of Japan has shown that communicative phenomena associated with the concepts of meiwaku (迷惑 causing trouble), omoiyari (思いやり considerate caring for others), as well as the culture of gift-giving and apologizing play an important role in the relationships between Japanese and foreigners. In addition, the analysis of migration policy allows concluding that the concept of coexistence between Japanese and foreigners (多文化共生 tabunka kyousei) currently pursued by the government, despite its promising title, does not quite correspond to multiculturalism in its classical sense, in other words — does not imply deliberate government action to preserve and develop cultural differences within one society.
The cognitive ability to think about other people's psychological states is known as `mindreading'. This Element critiques assumptions that have been formative in shaping philosophical theories of mindreading: that mindreading is ubiquitous, underpinning the vast majority of our social interactions; and that its primary goal is to provide predictions and explanations of other people's behaviour. It begins with an overview of key positions and empirical literature in the debate. It then introduces and motivates the pluralist turn in this literature, which challenges the core assumptions of the traditional views. The second part of the Element uses case studies to further motivate the pluralist framework, and to advocate the pluralist approach as the best way to progress our understanding of social cognitive phenomena.
A Cultural Dictionary of the Chinese Language: 500 Proverbs, Idioms and Maxims (CDCL) is a concise thematic dictionary focusing on introducing some important cultural traits of the Chinese embedded in the 500 Chinese idioms, proverbs, and maxims the author identifies. As a supplement to 500 Common Chinese Idioms: An Annotated Frequency Dictionary and 500 Common Chinese Proverbs and Colloquial Expressions: An Annotated Frequency Dictionary (CCPCE) compiled by the same author and published by Routledge in 2010 and 2014, respectively, this dictionary has the stated aim of enhancing the communicative competence, particularly the intercultural competence, of intermediate and advanced learners of Chinese as well as general readers, enabling them to speak with fluency and understanding. CDCL has three parts: the front matter that consists of an Introduction, Acknowledgements, and List of Entries, the body, and the back matter with four different indexes of entries and a brief chronology of Chinese history. The body consists of six chapters, namely Overall; National Character; Religion, Philosophy, Politics, History; Life, Society, Arts, Literature; Social Relations, Family, Women, Education; and Nature, Animals, Language. In the six chapters, a total of 290 entries are listed, each of which contains some fixed expressions that are literally and/or liberally translated in the text and annotated in the footnotes. A typical footnote for the cultural expression 女大十八变 (there is no telling what a girl will look like when she grows up) is written as ‘女大十八变 [----變] nǚ dà shíbā biàn (girl-grow up-18-changes)’. 女大十八变 is the expression in simplified Chinese, [----變] indicating that the first four characters, each represented by a hyphen ‘-’, have no difference in simplified and traditional forms and that the last character 变 is spelt as 變 in traditional Chinese, ‘nǚ dà shíbā biàn’ is the expression in Chinese pinyin, and ‘girl-grow up-18-changes’ in parentheses is the word-to-word annotation of the expression in English.
Full-text available
This dissertation examines the relationship between collectivist values and attitudes towards societal issues. According to this dissertation, cultural orientations serve an important role in regulating social interactions within communities and among community members. This group dynamics perspective has implications for how to conceptualise and operationalize collectivism and individualism. The dissertation develops a new measure of community collectivism on the basis of this perspective. The measure is able to differentiate between (sub)cultural groups, exactly as predicted. Accordingly, it can explain cross-cultural differences. More importantly, it is also related to attitudes and behaviors towards a wide variety of issues: sexism, political preferences, authoritarianism, and healthcare. Together, the results suggest that cultural values that stem from the dynamics of proximate communities are projected onto one's views for society as a whole and life in general.
Full-text available
Secondary analyses of Revised NEO Personality Inventory data from 26 cultures (N = 23,031) suggest that gender differences are small relative to individual variation within genders; differences are replicated across cultures for both college-age and adult samples, and differences are broadly consistent with gender stereotypes: Women reported themselves to be higher in Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Warmth, and Openness to Feelings, whereas men were higher in Assertiveness and Openness to Ideas. Contrary to predictions from evolutionary theory, the magnitude of gender differences varied across cultures. Contrary to predictions from the social role model, gender differences were most pronounced in European and American cultures in which traditional sex roles are minimized. Possible explanations for this surprising finding are discussed, including the attribution of masculine and feminine behaviors to roles rather than traits in traditional cultures.
Full-text available
Abstract Numerous studies have documented subtle but consistent sex differences in self-reports and observer-ratings of five-factor personality traits, and such effects were found to show welldefined developmental trajectories and remarkable similarity across nations. In contrast, very little is known about perceived gender differences in five-factor traits in spite of their potential implications for gender biases at the interpersonal and societal level. In particular, it is not clear how perceived gender differences in five-factor personality vary across age groups and national contexts and to what extent they accurately reflect assessed sex differences in personality. To address these questions, we analyzed responses from 3,323 individuals across 26 nations (mean age = 22.3 years, 31% male) who were asked to rate the five-factor personality traits of typical men or women in three age groups (adolescent, adult, and older adult) in their respective nations. Raters perceived women as slightly higher in openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness as well as some aspects of extraversion and neuroticism. Perceived gender differences were fairly consistent across nations and target age groups and mapped closely onto assessed sex differences in self- and observer-rated personality. Associations between the average size of perceived gender differences and national variations in sociodemographic characteristics, value systems, or gender equality did not reach statistical significance. Findings contribute to our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of gender stereotypes of personality and suggest that perceptions of actual sex differences may play a more important role than culturally based gender roles and socialization processes. 520075JCCXXX10.1177/0022022113520075Journal of Cross-Cultural PsychologyLöckenhoff et al. research-article2014
Full-text available
This chapter examines the Five-Factor Model of personality in Shona, a native tongue of Zimbabwe. One hundred and sixty-five women and 193 men participated in this study; all were bilingual in English and Shona. The Shona version of the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and the English version of the Adjective Check List (ACL) were completed by 199 participants. The remaining 159 participants took English or Shona versions of the NEO-PI-R on two occasions, with a mean retest interval of seven days. Alpha reliability for the facet scales were quite low, but retest reliabilities and cross-language correlations were considerably higher. Targeted factor analyses showed that the factors and most of the specific facets had a structure similar to that found in Americans, and correlations with the ACL generally supported the construct validity of the new translation. The Openness (O) factor proved weakest in translation. The viability of trait approaches in collectivistic societies and the possible role of sociological context on personality development are discussed.
Full-text available
This chapter examines the Five-Factor Model of personality in Shona, a native tongue of Zimbabwe. One hundred and sixty-five women and 193 men participated in this study; all were bilingual in English and Shona. The Shona version of the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) and the English version of the Adjective Check List (ACL) were completed by 199 participants. The remaining 159 participants took English or Shona versions of the NEO-PI-R on two occasions, with a mean retest interval of seven days. Alpha reliabilities for the facet scales were quite low, but retest reliabilities and cross-language correlations were considerably higher. Targeted factor analyses showed that the factors and most of the specific facets had a structure similar to that found in Americans, and correlations with the ACL generally supported the construct validity of the new translation. The Openness (O) factor proved weakest in translation. The viability of trait approaches in collectivistic societies and the possible role of sociological context on personality development are discussed.
Full-text available
The Big Five Inventory (BFI) is a self-report measure designed to assess the high-order personality traits of Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness. As part of the International Sexuality Description Project, the BFI was translated from English into 28 languages and administered to 17,837 individuals from 56 nations. The resulting cross-cultural data set was used to address three main questions: Does the factor structure of the English BFI fully replicate across cultures? How valid are the BFI trait profiles of individual nations'? And how are personality traits distributed throughout the world? The five-dimensional structure was robust across major regions of the world. Trait levels were related in predictable ways to self-esteem, sociosexuality, and national personality profiles. People from the geographic regions of South America and East Asia were significantly different in openness from those inhabiting other world regions. The discussion focuses on limitations of the current data set and important directions for future research.
Social comparison theory maintains that people think about themselves compared with similar others. Those in one culture, then, compare themselves with different others and standards than do those in another culture, thus potentially confounding cross-cultural comparisons. A pilot study and Study I demonstrated the problematic nature of this reference-group effect: Whereas cultural experts agreed that East Asians are more collectivistic than North Americans, cross-cultural comparisons of trait and attitude measures failed to reveal such a pattern. Study 2 found that manipulating reference groups enhanced the expected cultural differences, and Study 3 revealed that people from different cultural backgrounds within the same country exhibited larger differences than did people from different countries. Cross-cultural comparisons using subjective Likert scales are compromised because of different reference groups. Possible solutions are discussed.
Stereotype research emphasizes systematic processes over seemingly arbitrary contents, but content also may prove systematic. On the basis of stereotypes' intergroup functions, the stereotype content model hypothesizes that (a) 2 primary dimensions are competence and warmth, (b) frequent mixed clusters combine high warmth with low competence (paternalistic) or high competence with low warmth (envious), and (c) distinct emotions (pity, envy, admiration, contempt) differentiate the 4 competence-warmth combinations. Stereotypically, (d) status predicts high competence, and competition predicts low warmth. Nine varied samples rated gender, ethnicity, race, class, age, and disability out-groups. Contrary to antipathy models, 2 dimensions mattered, and many stereotypes were mixed, either pitying (low competence, high warmth subordinates) or envying (high competence, low warmth competitors). Stereotypically, status predicted competence, and competition predicted low warmth.
A meta-analysis of 54 experiments investigated the influence of social expectations on memory for information that is congruent and incongruent with those expectations. Results showed that overall, memory was better for expectancy-incongruent than expectancy-congruent information on recall and recognition sensitivity measures. Recognition measures that were uncorrected for response biases produced an overall tendency to report expectancy-congruent information as having been seen. A number of moderator variables influenced the strength of these overall effects, including the strength of the expectancy used to guide information processing, the complexity or cognitive demands of the processing task, set size, the type of expectancy, the type of target, Ss' information-processing goals, and the delay between exposure to the stimulus information and the memory test. The overall pattern of results appears to be most parsimoniously explained in terms of the influence of contextual variables on the perceiver's motivation to resolve incongruity.
The Five-Factor Model is a prominent exemplar of the trait psychology perspective, one of several theoretical perspectives in the study of personality across cultures. Research indicates that the trait psychology perspective provides a viable theoretical basis for understanding Filipino personality and behavior. Structure-oriented studies in the Philippines using the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO-PI-R) indicate that the Five-Factor Model generalizes well to the Philippine context, particularly when targeted factor rotations are used. Indigenous dimensions, derived using lexical and inventory approaches, resemble, or overlap with, dimensions of the FFM and are not very culture-specific, but sometimes carve up the personality space somewhat differently. In a study of mean trait levels with the NEO-PI-R, hypotheses about average cultural differences between Filipinos and Americans derived from the literature converged well with the personality comparison judgments of 43 bicultural judges. However, the resulting predictions of average cultural differences received only limited or partial support in an examination of Filipino mean profiles on the NEO-PI-R, plotted using U.S. norms. These results highlighted the uncertain nature of direct score comparisons, and concerns about measurement equivalence, in investigations of mean differences in personality traits across cultures.