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Five-Factor Model of Personality

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Abstract

The five-factor model of personality (FFM) is a set of five broad trait dimensions or domains, often referred to as the “Big Five”: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism (sometimes named by its polar opposite, Emotional Stability), and Openness to Experience (sometimes named Intellect). Highly extraverted individuals are assertive and sociable, rather than quiet and reserved. Agreeable individuals are cooperative and polite, rather than antagonistic and rude. Conscientious individuals are task focused and orderly, rather than distractible and disorganized. Neurotic individuals are prone to experiencing negative emotions, such as anxiety, depression, and irritation, rather than being emotionally resilient. Finally, highly open individuals have a broad rather than narrow range of interests, are sensitive rather than indifferent to art and beauty, and prefer novelty to routine. The Big Five/FFM was developed to represent as much of the variability in individuals’ personalities as possible, using only a small set of trait dimensions. Many personality psychologists agree that its five domains capture the most important, basic individual differences in personality traits and that many alternative trait models can be conceptualized in terms of the Big Five/FFM structure. The goal of this article is to reference, organize, and comment on a variety of classic and contemporary papers related to the Big Five/FFM. This article begins with papers that introduce the Big Five/FFM structure, approach it from different theoretical perspectives, and consider possible objections to it (General Overviews, Theoretical Perspectives, and Critiques). Next, it discusses papers providing evidence for the Big Five/FFM as a model of basic trait structure (Big Five/FFM Structure). Third, the article considers hierarchical trait models that propose even broader personality dimensions “above” the Big Five, or more-specific traits “beneath” the Big Five (Big Five/FFM in Hierarchical Context). Fourth, it references a series of handbook chapters that each considers an individual Big Five domain in depth (Individual Domains). Fifth, it references several widely used Big Five/FFM measures as well as papers examining the accuracy of Big Five self-reports and observer-reports (Measurement). Sixth, the article discusses the biological and social origins of the Big Five (Biological and Social Bases). Seventh, the article considers stability and change in the Big Five across the life span as well as the developmental mechanisms underlying stability and change (Development). Finally, this article cites evidence that the Big Five influences a variety of important behaviors and life outcomes, from political attitudes to psychopathology (Predicting Behaviors and Life Outcomes).
Soto, C. J., & Jackson, J. J. (2020). Five-factor model of personality. In Dana S. Dunn (Ed.),
Oxford Bibliographies in Psychology. New York, NY: Oxford.
Five-Factor Model of Personality
Introduction
The five-factor model of personality (FFM) is a set of five broad trait dimensions or domains,
often referred to as the “Big Five”: Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism
(sometimes named by its polar opposite, Emotional Stability), and Openness to Experience
(sometimes named Intellect). Highly extraverted individuals are assertive and sociable, rather
than quiet and reserved. Agreeable individuals are cooperative and polite, rather than
antagonistic and rude. Conscientious individuals are task-focused and orderly, rather than
distractible and disorganized. Neurotic individuals are prone to experiencing negative emotions,
such as anxiety, depression, and irritation, rather than being emotionally resilient. Finally, highly
open individuals have a broad rather than narrow range of interests, are sensitive rather than
indifferent to art and beauty, and prefer novelty to routine. The Big Five/FFM was developed to
represent as much of the variability in individuals’ personalities as possible, using only a small
set of trait dimensions. Many personality psychologists agree that its five domains capture the
most important, basic individual differences in personality traits and that many alternative trait
models can be conceptualized in terms of the Big Five/FFM structure. The goal of this article is
to reference, organize, and comment on a variety of classic and contemporary papers related to
the Big Five/FFM. This article begins with papers that introduce the Big Five/FFM structure,
approach it from different theoretical perspectives, and consider possible objections to it
(General Overviews, Theoretical Perspectives, and Critiques). Next, it discusses papers
providing evidence for the Big Five/FFM as a model of basic trait structure (Big Five/FFM
Structure). Third, the article considers hierarchical trait models that propose even broader
personality dimensions “above” the Big Five, or more-specific traits “beneath” the Big Five (Big
Five/FFM in Hierarchical Context). Fourth, it references a series of handbook chapters that each
consider an individual Big Five domain in depth (Individual Domains). Fifth, it references
several widely used Big Five/FFM measures as well as papers examining the accuracy of Big
Five self-reports and observer-reports (Measurement). Sixth, the article discusses the biological
and social origins of the Big Five (Biological and Social Bases). Seventh, the article considers
stability and change in the Big Five across the life span as well as the developmental
mechanisms underlying stability and change (Development). Finally, this article cites evidence
that the Big Five influences a variety of important behaviors and life outcomes, from political
attitudes to psychopathology (Predicting Behaviors and Life Outcomes).
General Overviews
These papers introduce the Big Five/five-factor model of personality (FFM) structure. Goldberg
1993 focuses on its historical development. McCrae and John 1992 considers its possible
theoretical and practical applications. John, et al. 2008 reviews a variety of research, including
studies connecting the Big Five with important behaviors and life outcomes. The Great Ideas in
Personality website briefly reviews the Big Five/FFM and provides links to other relevant online
resources.
Goldberg, Lewis R. 1993. The structure of phenotypic personality traits. American Psychologist
48.1: 26–34.
This article reviews the history of the Big Five/FFM structure, from Galton’s 1884 preliminary
lexical work to the emergence of a consensus among personality psychologists more than a
century later.
Great ideas in personality: Five-factor model.
This web page briefly reviews the Big Five/FFM structure, summarizes its relations to other
personality models, and provides links to relevant online resources.
John, Oliver P., Laura P. Naumann, and Christopher J. Soto. 2008. Paradigm shift to the
integrative Big Five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and conceptual issues. In Handbook
of personality: Theory and research. 3d ed. Edited by Oliver P. John, Richard W. Robins, and
Lawrence A. Pervin, 114–158. New York: Guilford.
This chapter provides a broad overview of the Big Five/FFM structure. It summarizes the history
of the model, reviews research on the lifespan development and predictive validity of the Big
Five, and discusses a variety of conceptual and measurement issues.
McCrae, Robert R., and Oliver P. John. 1992. An introduction to the five-factor model and its
applications. Journal of Personality 60.2: 175–215.
This article reviews the history of the Big Five/FFM structure, objections to it,
conceptualizations of the five domains, and possible theoretical and practical applications.
Theoretical Perspectives
The Big Five/five-factor model of personality (FFM) structure is sometimes criticized for being
developed empirically rather than theoretically. The papers in this section interpret the Big Five
from a variety of theoretical viewpoints, including biological (McCrae and Costa 2008), social
(Ashton and Lee 2001, Fleeson and Jayawickreme, 2015, Hogan 1996), and motivational
(Denissen and Penke 2008) perspectives.
Ashton, Michael C., and Kibeom Lee. 2001. A theoretical basis for the major dimensions of
personality. European Journal of Personality 15.5: 327–353.
This article proposes that Agreeableness and Neuroticism represent key dimensions of prosocial
versus antisocial behavior. It proposes that Extraversion, Conscientiousness, and Openness to
Experience represent engagement with social, task-focused, and intellectual goals, respectively.
Denissen, Jaap J. A., and Lars Penke. 2008. Motivational individual reaction norms underlying
the five-factor model of personality: First steps towards a theory-based conceptual framework.
Journal of Research in Personality 42.5: 1285–1302.
This article proposes that the Big Five reflect motivational responses to specific types of
situations. Specifically, it conceptualizes Extraversion as reward sensitivity in social situations,
Agreeableness as motivation to cooperate versus compete when resources are scarce,
Conscientiousness as motivation to pursue goals despite obstacles or distractions, Neuroticism as
punishment sensitivity in response to social exclusion, and Openness to Experience as reward
sensitivity while engaged in cognitive activity.
Fleeson, William, and Eranda Jayawickreme. 2015. Whole Trait Theory. Journal of Research in
Personality 56: 82–92.
This article describes Whole Trait Theory, which aims to combine descriptive, explanatory, and
developmental aspects of personality traits into a single model. This theory proposes that traits
can be conceptualized as distributions of personality states (i.e., momentary expressions of
traits), that personality states differ over time and across individuals, and that these differences
can be explained by social-cognitive mechanisms. The theory therefore integrates strengths from
the trait and social-cognitive research traditions in personality psychology.
Hogan, Robert. 1996. A socioanalytic perspective on the five-factor model. In The five-factor
model of personality: Theoretical perspectives. Edited by Jerry S. Wiggins, 163–179. New York:
Guilford.
This chapter proposes that the Big Five are innate categories of human perception that have
evolved because of their usefulness for predicting social behavior. In this view, a person’s
standing on the Big Five represents the key aspects of their social reputation.
McCrae, Robert R., and Paul T. Costa Jr. 2008. The Five-Factor Theory of personality. In
Handbook of personality: Theory and research. 3d ed. Edited by Oliver P. John, Richard W.
Robins, and Lawrence A. Pervin, 159–181. New York: Guilford.
This chapter conceptualizes the Big Five as biologically rooted basic tendencies that influence
individuals’ characteristic adaptations to their environments, including their goals, attitudes, and
self-concepts.
Critiques
Consensus around the Big Five/five-factor model of personality (FFM) structure has grown
steadily since the early 1990s. However, researchers and theorists have also criticized the model
on various grounds. Block 1995 and McAdams 1992 raise empirical and theoretical objections.
Ashton and Lee 2007 proposes an alternative, six-dimensional model.
Ashton, Michael C., and Kibeom Lee. 2007. Empirical, theoretical, and practical advantages of
the HEXACO model of personality structure. Personality and Social Psychology Review 11.2:
150–166.
This article argues that the Big Five/FFM structure should be revised to accommodate a sixth
broad trait domain: Honesty-Humility. It summarizes evidence for the resulting six-dimensional
structure and interprets these dimensions in terms of key evolutionary tasks.
Block, Jack. 1995. A contrarian view of the five-factor approach to personality description.
Psychological Bulletin 117.2: 187–215.
This article raises several objections to the Big Five/FFM structure, including concerns about the
lexical hypothesis, the statistical technique of factor analysis, and questionnaire measures of the
Big Five.
McAdams, Dan P. 1992. The five-factor model in personality: A critical appraisal. Journal of
Personality 60.2: 329–361.
This article highlights several conceptual, methodological, and empirical objections to the Big
Five/FFM structure. It argues that the Big Five are useful for summarizing basic information
about someone’s personality traits but not for understanding their personality with much detail,
depth, or context.
The Big Five/FFM Structure
Evidence for the Big Five/five-factor model of personality (FFM) structure comes from two
main sources. The first is lexical research. The lexical hypothesis proposes that the most
universally important personality traits will become encoded as words in some or all languages,
because people will need to communicate about them. Lexical studies conducted in several
languages have recovered versions of the Big Five/FFM structure from personality ratings made
using sets of trait-descriptive adjectives. The second source of evidence is research showing that
the traits assessed by many personality inventories can be conceptualized in terms of the Big
Five. The papers in this section present both types of evidence.
Early Lexical Research
The papers in this section represent important early steps in the development of the Big
Five/FFM structure. They begin with Galton’s preliminary lexical research (Galton 1884), which
was continued in Allport and Odbert 1936. They end with empirical studies such as Fiske 1949,
Norman 1963, and Tupes and Christal 1992 that recovered versions of the Big Five/FFM
structure in personality ratings made using a set of American English synonym clusters
developed in Cattell 1945.
Allport, Gordon W., and Henry S. Odbert. 1936. Trait-names: A psycho-lexical study.
Psychological Monographs 47.1: 1–171.
This ambitious study reviewed an unabridged English dictionary and extracted every term that
could be used to “distinguish the behavior of one human being from that of another” (p. 24). The
resulting list of 17,953 terms served as a starting point for further lexical research.
Cattell, Raymond B. 1945. The description of personality: Principles and findings in a factor
analysis. American Journal of Psychology 58.1: 69–90.
This study developed thirty-five synonym clusters from Allport and Odbert’s extensive list of
trait-descriptive terms (Allport and Odbert 1936). Later analyses of personality ratings made
using these synonym clusters provided initial evidence for the Big Five/FFM structure.
Fiske, Donald W. 1949. Consistency of the factorial structures of personality ratings from
different sources. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 44.3: 329–344.
This study recovered versions of the Big Five/FFM structure from personality self-ratings, peer-
ratings, and observer ratings made using a subset of Cattell’s synonym clusters. This finding was
the first occurrence of the Big Five/FFM structure.
Galton, Francis. 1884. Measurement of character. Fortnightly Review 36:179–185.
This article argues that personality or character traits can and should be measured. It includes
perhaps the first application of the lexical hypothesis to understanding personality: Galton
sampled pages from an English dictionary and estimated that it contained at least a thousand
trait-descriptive terms.
Norman, Warren T. 1963. Toward an adequate taxonomy of personality attributes: Replicated
factor structure in peer nomination personality ratings. Journal of Abnormal and Social
Psychology 66.6: 574–583.
This article recovered the Big Five from personality peer-ratings of several student samples
made using a subset of Cattell’s synonym clusters.
Tupes, Ernest C., and Raymond E. Christal. 1992. Recurrent personality factors based on trait
ratings. Journal of Personality 60.2: 225–251.
Originally published in 1961 as an Air Force technical report, this paper recovered the Big Five
from several samples of personality self-ratings and peer-ratings, made using subsets of Cattell’s
synonym clusters. This was perhaps the most compelling early demonstration of the Big
Five/FFM structure’s replicability.
Contemporary Lexical Research
Interest in personality traits began to wane in the late 1960s as personality and social
psychologists began a decades-long debate about the importance of trait versus situational
influences on behavior. By the 1980s, however, several researchers had resumed lexical work.
Capitalizing on advances in computing power, these researchers analyzed personality ratings
made using much larger sets of trait-descriptive adjectives than had been previously possible.
They recovered versions of the Big Five/FFM structure in American English (Goldberg 1990),
Dutch and German (Hofstee, et al. 1997), and a variety of other languages (Saucier and Goldberg
2001), sparking initial consensus around this structure. Saucier and Goldberg 1998 searched for,
but failed to find, additional broad trait dimensions beyond the Big Five. Recently, De Raad, et
al. 2010 questioned the cross-cultural generalizability of some Big Five domains.
De Raad, Boele, Dick P. H. Barelds, Eveline Levert, et al. 2010. Only three factors of personality
description are fully replicable across languages: A comparison of 14 trait taxonomies. Journal
of Personality and Social Psychology 98.1: 160–173.
This article compares the results of lexical studies conducted in twelve languages. It finds
versions of Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness in almost all languages, versions
of Neuroticism in most languages, and substantial variability in the content of the fifth factor
across languages.
Goldberg, Lewis R. 1990. An alternative “description of personality”: The Big-Five factor
structure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 59.6: 1216–1229.
This article recovers versions of the Big Five/FFM structure from personality self-ratings and
peer-ratings made using sets of up to 1,431 American English trait adjectives. These findings
helped spark consensus around the Big Five/FFM structure.
Hofstee, Willem K. B., Henk A. Kiers, Boele de Raad, and Lewis R. Goldberg. 1997. A
comparison of Big-Five structures of personality traits in Dutch, English, and German. European
Journal of Personality 11.1: 15–31.
This article compares the results of the first three contemporary, large-scale lexical studies.
These studies were conducted in American English, Dutch, and German, and each analyzed
personality ratings made using hundreds of trait-descriptive adjectives. All three studies
recovered versions of the Big Five, except for Openness to Experience in the Dutch study.
Saucier, Gerard, and Lewis R. Goldberg. 1998. What is beyond the Big Five? Journal of
Personality 66.4: 495–524.
This study searches for clusters of person-descriptive adjectives that are independent from the
Big Five domains. It identifies religiousness, height, girth, age, employment status, and negative
evaluation terms as relatively independent clusters.
Saucier, Gerard, and Lewis R. Goldberg. 2001. Lexical studies of indigenous personality factors:
Premises, products, and prospects. Journal of Personality 69.6: 847–880.
This article reviews lexical studies conducted in thirteen languages, identifying important
similarities and differences in their findings. It also highlights two unresolved issues in lexical
research: identifying more-specific personality traits “beneath” the Big Five domains, and
understanding how variable selection affects factor analysis results.
Personality Inventory Research
The papers in this section focus on the second key source of evidence for the Big Five/FFM
structure: research conducted using personality inventories. This research (e.g., McCrae and
Costa 1989) has shown that the traits measured by many personality inventories can be
conceptualized in terms of the Big Five. McCrae and Costa 1987, McCrae and Costa 1997, and
Schmitt et al. 2007 show that the Big Five/FFM structure can be recovered from inventories
administered in American English and a variety of other languages and cultures.
McCrae, Robert R., and Paul T. Costa Jr. 1987. Validation of the five-factor model of personality
across instruments and observers. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52.1: 81–90.
This study recovers versions of the Big Five/FFM structure from personality self-ratings and
peer-ratings on two measures: a set of trait-descriptive adjectives and a personality inventory. It
also shows strong convergence between these two measures. These findings helped integrate
evidence for the Big Five/FFM structure from lexical and inventory-based research.
McCrae, Robert R., and Paul T. Costa Jr. 1989. Reinterpreting the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
from the perspective of the five-factor model of personality. Journal of Personality 57.1: 17–40.
Across the 1980s and 1990s, McCrae, Costa, and their colleagues conducted an extensive
program of research showing that the traits measured by many personality inventories can be
conceptualized in terms of the Big Five. This article reports an example of this research.
McCrae, Robert R., Antonio Terracciano, and 78 members of the Personality Profiles of Cultures
Project. 2005. Universal features of personality traits from the observer’s perspective: Data from
50 cultures. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 88.3: 547–561.
This study analyzes personality peer-reports made by members of fifty cultures using translations
of the NEO PI-R (see also Costa and McCrae 1992, cited under Measures). It finds similar factor
structures, age differences, and gender differences across most cultures, further supporting the
cross-cultural generalizability of the Big Five/FFM structure.
Schmitt, David P., Juri Allik, Robert R. McCrae, Veronica Benet-Marinez, 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 38.2: 173–212.
This study analyzes personality self-reports collected in fifty-six cultures using translations of the
Big Five Inventory. Replicating McCrae et al. 2005, it finds that the Big Five factor structure is
robust across major regions of the world. It also finds that mean levels of the Big Five traits vary
across world regions.
The Big Five/FFM in Hierarchical Context
Personality traits can be conceptualized hierarchically, with broader traits (e.g., Extraversion)
subsuming narrower ones (e.g., assertiveness, sociability). The papers in this section view the
Big Five in terms of hierarchical trait models.
Higher-Order Factors
Some evidence suggests that the Big Five can be combined to define even broader constructs.
DeYoung 2006, Digman 1997, and Markon, et al. 2005 provide evidence for such higher-order
factors “above” the Big Five. Anusic, et al. 2009 show that these higher-order factors combine
descriptive and evaluative information.
Anusic, Ivana, Ulrich Schimmack, Rebecca T. Pinkus, and Penelope Lockwood. 2009. The
nature and structure of correlations among Big Five ratings: The halo-alpha-beta model. Journal
of Personality and Social Psychology 97.6: 1142–1156.
This article uses self-report and peer-report data to test whether higher-order factors above the
Big Five reflect substance (i.e., behavioral information) or bias (i.e., evaluative information). It
finds that higher-order factors are best understood as a combination of the target person’s actual
behavior and the rater’s overall positive or negative attitude toward the target.
DeYoung, Colin G. 2006. Higher-order factors of the Big Five in a multi-informant sample.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 91.6: 1138–1151.
This article recovers two higher-order factors, similar to those found in Digman 1997, in
analyses of personality self-ratings and peer-ratings made using two Big Five/five-factor model
of personality (FFM) measures. It proposes that these factors reflect two fundamental human
concerns: maintaining a stable organization to psychosocial functioning (stability), and
incorporating new information into that organization (plasticity).
Digman, John M. 1997. Higher-order factors of the Big Five. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology 73.6: 1246–1256.
This article was the first to show that correlations among the Big Five domains suggest the
existence of two higher-order factors. It proposes that one factor, defined by Agreeableness,
Conscientiousness, and (low) Neuroticism, reflects the influence of socialization experiences on
personality, whereas the second factor, defined by Extraversion and Openness to Experience,
reflects the influence of personal growth experiences.
Markon, Kristian E., Robert F. Krueger, and David Watson. 2005. Delineating the structure of
normal and abnormal personality: An integrative hierarchical approach. Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology 88.1: 139–157.
This article replicates two-, three-, four-, and five-factor structures across a meta-analysis and an
empirical study, using several measures of normal and abnormal personality traits. Its findings
indicate that a variety of “Big Trait” models, including the Big Five/FFM, can be integrated
within a single hierarchical structure.
Lower-Order Traits
Each broad Big Five domain subsumes a number of more-specific traits that are related to each
other, but also distinguishable. Such traits are often referred to as “facets” of the Big Five. The
papers included in this section discuss ways to identify, conceptualize, and measure facet traits
“beneath” the Big Five. Hofstee, et al. 1992 and Saucier and Ostendorf 1999 extend the lexical
approach to the facet level. Costa and McCrae 1995 and DeYoung, et al. 2007 identify facet
traits by analyzing personality inventories. Mottus, et al. 2017 propose an even lower
hierarchical level of “nuance” traits nested within each facet.
Costa, Paul T., Jr., and Robert R. McCrae. 1995. Domains and facets: Hierarchical personality
assessment using the Revised NEO Personality Inventory. Journal of Personality Assessment
64.1: 21–50.
This article describes the development of the thirty NEO PI-R facet scales (see Costa and
McCrae 1992, cited under Measures) and presents evidence for their discriminant validity. It also
discusses general issues related to the conceptualization and measurement of trait hierarchies.
DeYoung, Colin G., Lena C. Quilty, and Jordan B. Peterson. 2007. Between facets and domains:
10 aspects of the Big Five. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 93.5: 880–896.
This article identifies two subcomponents of each Big Five domain based on factor analyses of
the seventy-five facet scales from two Big Five/FFM measures. These ten “aspects” represent a
middle ground between the broad Big Five domains and more-specific facet traits.
Hofstee, Willem K., Boele de Raad, and Lewis R. Goldberg. 1992. Integration of the Big Five
and circumplex approaches to trait structure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 63.1:
146–163.
This article forms ten circumplexes from pairs of Big Five domains. It then uses these
circumplexes to define forty-five facet traits as blends of the Big Five.
Mottus, Rene, Christian Kandler, Wiebke Bleidorn, Rainer Riemann, and Robert R. McCrae.
2017. Personality traits below facets: The consensual validity, longitudinal stability, heritability,
and utility of personality nuances. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 112.3: 474–490.
This article proposes that the individual items of personality tests can be conceptualized as
measuring highly specific personality traits, called “nuances.” It presents evidence that such
nuance traits show inter-judge agreement, rank-order stability, genetic heritability, and validity
for predicting external criteria.
Saucier, Gerard, and Fritz Ostendorf. 1999. Hierarchical subcomponents of the Big Five
personality factors: A cross-language replication. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
76.4: 613–627.
Adopting a lexical approach, this article identifies eighteen facet traits that replicate across
personality ratings made using large sets of American English and German trait-descriptive
adjectives.
Individual Domains
The five papers in this section are chapters from the Oxford handbook of the Five-Factor Model,
edited by Widiger (New York: Oxford). Each chapter provides an excellent overview of a
particular Big Five domain: Extraversion (Wilt and Revelle 2017), Agreeableness (Graziano and
Tobin 2017), Conscientiousness (Jackson and Roberts 2017), Neuroticism (Tackett and Lahey
2017), and Openness to Experience (Sutin 2017).
Graziano, William G., and Renee M. Tobin. 2017. Agreeableness and the Five-Factor Model. In
The Oxford handbook of the Five-Factor Model. Edited by Thomas A. Widiger, 105–132. New
York: Oxford.
This chapter defines Agreeableness as individual differences in the motivation to maintain
positive relations with others. It reviews research on the conceptualization, measurement, and
development of Agreeableness, and discusses alternative theoretical explanations of this trait.
Angelina R. Sutin. 2017. Openness. In The Oxford handbook of the Five-Factor Model. Edited
by Thomas A. Widiger, 83–104. New York: Oxford.
This chapter defines Openness to Experience as individual differences in cognitive flexibility,
sensitivity to aesthetics, depth of feeling, and preference for novelty. It discusses alternative
conceptualizations and measures of Openness, then reviews research on the biological and social
origins and consequences of this trait.
Jackson, Joshua J., and Brent W. Roberts. 2017. Conscientiousness. In The Oxford handbook of
the Five-Factor Model. Edited by Thomas A. Widiger, 133–147. New York: Oxford.
This chapter defines Conscientiousness as the propensity to be self-controlled, responsible to
others, hardworking, orderly, and rule abiding. It discusses the hierarchical structure and
measurement of Conscientiousness, then reviews research on this trait’s development and life
outcomes.
Tackett, Jennifer L., and Benjamin B. Lahey. 2017. Neuroticism. In The Oxford handbook of the
Five-Factor Model. Edited by Thomas A. Widiger, 39–56. New York: Oxford.
This chapter defines Neuroticism as individual differences in the tendency to experience negative
affect, including sadness, anxiety, and anger. It then reviews evidence showing genetic and
environmental influences on Neuroticism, as well as stability and change in this trait over time.
Finally, it considers the effects of Neuroticism on outcomes such as psychopathology, physical
health, and quality of life.
Wilt, Joshua, and William Revelle. 2017. Extraversion. In The Oxford handbook of the Five-
Factor Model. Edited by Thomas A. Widiger, 57–81. New York: Oxford.
This chapter defines Extraversion as individual differences in the tendency to express positive
affect, assertive behavior, decisive thinking, and desire for social attention. It reviews research
on the hierarchical structure, biological basis, lifespan development, behavioral expression, and
life outcomes of this trait.
Measurement
What is the best way to measure the Big Five? The papers in this section describe the
development and validation of several popular measures and examine the accuracy of Big Five
self-ratings versus observer ratings.
Measures
As consensus around the Big Five/five-factor model of personality (FFM) structure has grown,
researchers have developed a variety of instruments to measure its five domains. The papers in
this section present several widely used and well-validated measures. Goldberg 1992 and Saucier
1994 use a lexical approach to develop sets of marker adjectives. McCrae and Costa 2010 and
Soto and John 2017 present hierarchically structured personality inventories that assess more-
specific facet traits within each broad Big Five domain.
Costa, Paul T., Jr., and Robert R. McCrae. 2010. NEO Inventories professional manual. Lutz,
FL: Psychological Assessment Resources.
The NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-3) and the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI-3)
are two of the most widely used Big Five/FFM measures. The sixty-item NEO-FFI-3 assesses
the five domains; the longer, 240-item NEO PI-3 also assesses thirty facet traits. This manual
discusses these measures’ conceptualization, development, validation, and applications.
Goldberg, Lewis R. 1992. The development of markers for the Big-Five factor structure.
Psychological Assessment 4.1: 26–42.
This article describes the development and initial validation of unipolar (one hundred items) and
bipolar (fifty items) adjective sets to measure the Big Five domains.
Goldberg, Lewis R. 1999. A broad-bandwidth, public-domain, personality inventory measuring
the lower-level facets of several five-factor models. In Personality psychology in Europe. Vol. 7,
Selected papers from the Eighth European Conference on Personality held in Ghent, Belgium,
July 1996. Edited by Ivan Mervielde, Ian Deary, Filip De Fruyt, and Fritz Ostendorf, 7–28.
Tilburg, the Netherlands: Tilburg Univ. Press.
This chapter describes the development of the International Personality Item Pool (IPIP)a set
of public-domain questionnaire items—and of IPIP scales to measure the Big Five domains and
more-specific facet traits. More information, including item text and scoring instructions, is
available from the IPIP website.
Saucier, Gerard. 1994. Mini-Markers: A brief version of Goldberg’s unipolar Big-Five markers.
Journal of Personality Assessment 63.3: 506–516.
This article describes the development and initial validation of the Mini-Markers, a set of forty
adjectives selected from Goldberg’s larger set of hundred unipolar Big Five markers (Goldberg
1992). This shorter adjective set retains very good measurement properties.
Soto, Christopher J., and Oliver P. John. 2017. The next Big Five Inventory (BFI-2): Developing
and assessing a hierarchical model with 15 facets to enhance bandwidth, fidelity, and predictive
power. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 113.1: 117–143.
The sixty-item Big Five Inventory-2 (BFI-2) is a widely used, relatively brief, and freely
available measure of the Big Five domains and 15 more-specific facet traits. This article
describes the development and initial validation of the BFI-2.
Self and Other Judgments
If you want an accurate description of someone’s personality, whom should you ask: the person
themselves or someone else who knows them? The papers in this section examine accuracy and
bias in Big Five self-ratings and observer ratings. Supporting the accuracy of such ratings,
Funder, et al. 1995 shows considerable self-observer and interobserver agreement. In contrast,
Paulhus and John 1998 shows that two distinct biases influence personality self-ratings.
Integrating and extending previous research on accuracy and bias, Connelly and Ones 2010 and
Vazire 2012 identify the conditions under which personality ratings do and do not accurately
predict behavior.
Connelly, Brian S., and Deniz S. Ones. 2010. An other perspective on personality: Meta-analytic
integration of observers’ accuracy and predictive validity. Psychological Bulletin 136.6: 1092–
1122.
This article reports a series of three meta-analyses examining the accuracy of Big Five observer
ratings. The results show lower accuracy for traits high in evaluativeness (e.g., Agreeableness)
and low in visibility (e.g., Neuroticism, Openness to Experience). They also show that Big Five
observer ratings predict many behavioral criteria at least as well as self-ratings do.
Funder, David C., David C. Kolar, and Melinda C. Blackman. 1995. Agreement among judges of
personality: Interpersonal relations, similarity, and acquaintanceship. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology 69.4: 656–672.
This article shows considerable self-observer and inter-observer agreement for personality
ratings made in terms of the Big Five. Observers agreed with each other even when they knew
the person being rated from different contexts (e.g., hometown versus college friends), and even
when they had never met each other, providing evidence for personality consistency across
situations.
Paulhus, Delroy L., and Oliver P. John. 1998. Egoistic and moralistic biases in self-perception:
The interplay of self-deceptive styles with basic traits and motives. Journal of Personality 66.6:
1025–1060.
This article shows that discrepancies between Big Five self-ratings and observer ratings cluster
along two dimensions: an egoistic bias defined by overly positive self-perceptions on
Extraversion and Openness, and a moralistic bias defined by overly positive self-perceptions on
Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. It links the egoistic bias to valuing agency and power and
links the moralistic bias to valuing communion and approval from others.
Vazire, Simine. 2012. Who knows what about a person? The self-other knowledge asymmetry
(SOKA) model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 98.2: 281–300.
This study compares the usefulness of personality self-ratings versus observer ratings for
predicting behavior. It shows that self-ratings are more accurate for traits with low
evaluativeness (e.g., Extraversion, Neuroticism) than for traits with high evaluativeness (e.g.,
intellect), whereas observer ratings are more accurate for traits with high observability (e.g.,
Extraversion) than for traits with low observability (e.g. Neuroticism).
Biological and Social Bases
What are the biological and social origins of the Big Five? The papers in this section consider a
variety of influences, including genes, evolution, biological temperament, culture, and historical
period.
Genetics
A considerable body of research shows that the Big Five are substantially influenced by both
genetic and environmental factors. The papers in this section report and review this evidence and
also highlight unresolved issues. Riemann, et al. 1997, Borkenau, et al. 2001, and Vokasovic and
Bratko 2005 test the influences of genes, shared family environment, and unshared environment
on the Big Five domains. De Moor, et al. 2012 searches for specific gene polymorphisms that
influence each Big Five domain. Finally, Bouchard and Loehlin 2001 interprets genetic
influences on personality from an evolutionary perspective.
Borkenau, Peter, Rainer Riemann, Alois Angleitner, and Frank M. Spinath. 2001. Genetic and
environmental influences on observed personality: Evidence from the German observational
study of adult twins. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 80.4: 655–668.
This behavioral genetics study analyzes Big Five observer ratings made after watching the target
person’s behavior in several situations. In contrast with research using self-ratings and peer-
ratings, it finds that most of the Big Five are substantially influenced by the shared
environment—environmental factors that cause people raised in the same household to develop
similar traits.
Bouchard, Thomas J., Jr., and John C. Loehlin. 2001. Genes, evolution, and personality.
Behavior Genetics 31.3: 243–273.
This article reviews evidence for genetic influences on the Big Five and interprets these
influences from an evolutionary perspective. It then discusses several unresolved issues, such as
understanding the unshared environment, the molecular genetics of personality, and the
biological mechanisms underlying relations among personality traits, attitudes, values, interests,
and psychopathology.
Vukasovic, Tena, and Denis Bratko. 2015. Heritability of personality: A meta-analysis of
behavior genetic studies. Psychological Bulletin 141.4: 769-785.
This meta-analysis combines the results of several dozen behavioral genetics studies. It finds that
about 40% of individual differences in the Big Five can be attributed to genes, and about 60%
attributed to environmental factors. Thus, both nature and nurture play important roles in
personality development.
Riemann, Rainer, Alois Angleitner, and Jan Strelau. 1997. Genetic and environmental influences
on personality: A study of twins reared together using the self– and peer-report NEO-FFI scales.
Journal of Personality 65.3: 449–476.
This behavioral genetics study shows that aggregating personality self-ratings and peer-ratings
substantially increases heritability estimates for the Big Five. This finding indicates that some of
the personality variance typically attributed to unshared environmental influences actually
reflects measurement error.
De Moor, Marleen H. M., Paul T. Costa Jr., Antonio Terracciano, Robert F. Krueger, et al. 2012.
Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies for personality. Molecular Psychiatry 17.3:
337–349.
This meta-analysis combines the results of genome-wide association scans from 15 large samples
with a total of more than 20,000 participants. It fails to consistently replicate any specific gene-
trait associations. This suggests that individual genes do not have simple, additive effects on
individual Big Five traits.
Other Biological Influences
Genetics research is not the only source of evidence for biological influences on the Big Five.
The papers in this section consider a variety of additional evidence, including research on brain
functioning (Allen and DeYoung 2017), biological temperament (Clark and Watson 2008),
personality in nonhuman animals (Gosling and John 1999), and cross-cultural consistencies in
personality structure and development (McCrae, et al. 2000).
Allen, Timothy A., and Colin G. DeYoung. 2017. Personality neuroscience and the Five-Factor
Model. In The Oxford handbook of the Five-Factor Model of personality. Edited by Thomas A.
Widiger, 319–349. New York: Oxford.
This chapter reviews neuroscience research linking the Big Five traits with brain structure and
function, as well as methods and best practices in personality neuroscience. It concludes that
each Big Five trait is linked with a specific cybernetic function and associated brain systems.
Clark, Lee Anna, and David Watson. 2008. Temperament: An organizing paradigm for trait
psychology. In Handbook of personality: Theory and research. 3d ed. Edited by Oliver P. John,
Richard W. Robins, and Lawrence A. Pervin, 265–286. New York: Guilford.
This chapter proposes a “Big Three” structure of biological temperament—extraversion/positive
emotionality, neuroticism/negative emotionality, and disinhibition versus constraint—and
discusses how these temperamental traits relate with the Big Five. It then reviews evidence
regarding their origin, development, and relations with behavior, life outcomes, and
psychopathology.
Gosling, Samuel D., and Oliver P. John. 1999. Personality dimensions in nonhuman animals: A
cross-species review. Current Directions in Psychological Science 8.3: 69–75.
This article reviews studies of personality traits in a dozen nonhuman species. It concludes that
versions of Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Agreeableness can be observed in many species,
versions of Openness to Experience in some, and versions of Conscientiousness in almost none.
McCrae, Robert R., Paul T. Costa Jr., Fritz Ostendorf, et al. 2000. Nature over nurture:
Temperament, personality, and life span development. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology 78.1: 173–186.
This article reviews multiple lines of evidence for biological influences on the Big Five. It argues
that the Big Five should be conceptualized as biologically based temperamental traits that
develop independently from environmental influences.
Social Influences
Personality traits are influenced by social factors as well as biological ones. Costa, et al. 2001
and McCrae, et al. 1998 examine cultural influences on the Big Five. Twenge 2000 and Twenge
2001 test whether historical changes have affected Extraversion and Neuroticism. Rohrer, et al.
2015 find that the Big Five are not meaningfully influenced by siblings’ birth order.
Costa, Paul T., Jr., Antonio Terracciano, and Robert R. McCrae. 2001. Gender differences in
personality traits across cultures: Robust and surprising findings. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology 81.2: 322–331.
This study shows some consistent gender differences in the Big Five domains and more-specific
facet traits across twenty-six cultures. Interestingly, however, gender differences in personality
tended to be larger in cultures with smaller gender differences in social status.
McCrae, Robert R., Michelle S. M. Yik, Paul D. Trapnell, Michael H. Bond, and Delroy L.
Paulhus. 1998. Interpreting personality profiles across cultures: Bilingual, acculturation, and peer
rating studies of Chinese undergraduates. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74.4:
1041–1055.
This article examines differences in the Big Five domains and more-specific facet traits among
native Canadians of European ancestry, native Canadians of Chinese ancestry, and Chinese
immigrants to Canada. It shows that degree of exposure to Canadian culture influenced
personality traits.
Rohrer, Julia M., Boris Egloff, and Stefan C. Schmukle. 2015. Examining the effects of birth
order on personality. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science 112.46: 14224–14229.
This study analyzes personality data from three large, national samples of sibling pairs. It finds
that earlier-born siblings tend to score slightly higher on intelligence tests, but does not find
meaningful effects of birth order on any of the Big Five.
Twenge, Jean M. 2000. The age of anxiety? The birth cohort change in anxiety and neuroticism,
1952–1993. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 79.6: 1007–1021.
A pair of meta-analyses show that from the 1950s into the 1990s, average levels of Neuroticism
increased substantially among American children and college students. These cohort differences
corresponded with historical changes in divorce rates, crime rates, and other social indicators,
suggesting historical influences on the development of Neuroticism.
Twenge, Jean M. 2001. Birth cohort changes in extraversion: A cross-temporal meta-analysis,
1966–1993. Personality and Individual Differences 30.5: 735–748.
This meta-analysis shows that from the 1960s into the 1990s, average levels of Extraversion also
increased substantially among American college students.
Development
Although people’s personalities tend to be quite stable across short time intervals, they can
change considerably over the course of several years or decades. The readings in this section
consider evidence about whether, when, and why the Big Five traits develop across the lifespan.
Caspi, et al. 2005 and Roberts, et al. 2008 provide broad overviews of research on personality
development. McCrae and Costa 2003 interprets this research from the perspective of five-factor
theory.
Caspi, Avshalom, Brent W. Roberts, and Rebecca L. Shiner. 2005. Personality development:
Stability and change. Annual Review of Psychology 56.1: 453–484.
This article reviews research examining personality structure in childhood and adulthood, the
genetic origins of personality traits, personality change across the lifespan, and personality
influences on life outcomes.
McCrae, Robert R., and Paul T. Costa Jr. 2003. Personality in adulthood: A Five-Factor Theory
perspective. 2d ed. New York: Guilford.
This book reviews research on adult personality development and interprets this research in
terms of five-factor theory (see also McCrae and Costa 2008, cited under Theoretical
Perspectives). It also considers many important methodological issues in the study of personality
stability and change.
Roberts, Brent W., Dustin Wood, and Avshalom Caspi. 2008. The development of personality
traits in adulthood. In Handbook of personality: Theory and research. 3d ed. Edited by Oliver P.
John, Richard W. Robins, and Lawrence A. Pervin, 375–398. New York: Guilford.
This chapter reviews several types of evidence regarding personality stability and change across
adulthood. It then considers possible mechanisms underlying adult personality development.
Childhood and Adolescence
Can the Big Five/five-factor model of personality (FFM) structure be meaningfully applied to
children and adolescents? The papers in this section investigate the measurement and
development of the Big Five across these years and test whether they predict important behaviors
and outcomes. They show that the Big Five can be recovered from youths’ personality self-
ratings (Measelle, et al. 2005; Soto, et al. 2008), as well as from parents’ (John, et al. 1994) and
teachers’ (Goldberg 2001) ratings of children and adolescents. Shiner and DeYoung 2014, and
Soto and Tackett 2015, review and integrate research on personality and temperament in
childhood. De Fruyt, et al. 2006 and van den Akker et al. 2014 test for stability and change in the
Big Five across childhood and adolescence.
De Fruyt, Filip, Meike Bartels, Karla G. Van Leeuwen, Barbara De Clercq, Mieke Decuyper,
and Ivan Mervielde. 2006. Five types of personality continuity in childhood and adolescence.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 91.3: 538–552.
This article examines structural, mean-level, individual-level, rank-order, and ipsative stability
and change in personality traits. It finds considerable personality continuity in two samples of
children and adolescents.
Goldberg, Lewis R. 2001. Analyses of Digman’s child-personality data: Derivation of Big-Five
factor scores from each of six samples. Journal of Personality 69.5: 709–744.
This article repeatedly recovers the Big Five/FFM structure from teacher ratings of elementary
school students. Its findings suggest that children’s personalities can be described in terms of the
Big Five.
John, Oliver P., Avshalom Caspi, Richard W. Robins, Terrie E. Moffitt, and Magda Stouthamer-
Loeber. 1994. The “little five”: Exploring the nomological network of the five-factor model of
personality in adolescent boys. Child Development 65.1: 160–178.
This study recovers the Big Five, plus two additional dimensions—irritability and positive
activityin parent-ratings of adolescent boys. It also shows that these ratings predict important
academic, behavioral, and mental-health outcomes. These findings suggest the possible existence
and importance of personality dimensions specific to childhood and adolescence.
Measelle, Jeffrey R., Oliver P. John, Jennifer C. Ablow, Philip A. Cowan, and Carolyn P.
Cowan. 2005. Can children provide coherent, stable, and valid self-reports on the Big Five
dimensions? A longitudinal study from ages 5 to 7. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology 89.1: 90–106.
This study finds that children can provide Big Five self-reports, through a specially designed
interview, as early as age five. These self-reports showed rank-order stability over time and
predicted relevant behavioral outcomes.
Shiner, Rebecca L., and Colin G. DeYoung. 2014. The structure of temperament and personality
traits: A developmental perspective. In The Oxford Handbook of developmental psychology, vol.
2. Edited by Philip D. Zelazo, 113–141. New York: Oxford.
This chapter reviews models of temperament and personality structure in childhood and
adolescence. It proposes that the most important differences in youths’ behavior are captured by
six basic dimensions--the Big Five plus activity level--and discusses their psychological and
biological underpinnings.
Soto, Christopher J., and Jennifer L. Tackett. 2015. Personality traits in childhood and
adolescence: Structure, development, and outcomes. Current Directions in Psychological Science
24.5: 358–362.
This paper reviews research on the structure, development, and outcomes of personality
traits in childhood and adolescence. It highlights both important similarities and important
differences between youth and adult personality traits, and concludes that youths’
personality traits help shape their lives in consequential ways.
Van den Akker, Alithe L., Maja Dekovic, Jessica Asscher, and Peter Prinzie. 2014. Mean-level
personality development across childhood and adolescence: A temporary defiance of the
maturity principle and bidirectional associations with parenting. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology 107.4: 736–750.
This study uses large, longitudinal samples of youth self-reports and parent-reports to examine
stability and change in the Big Five traits from ages 6 to 20. Interestingly, it finds temporary dips
in Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, and Openness to Experience in early
adolescence. It also finds relations between personality development and parenting style, which
mostly appear due to children’s personality leading to changes in their parents’ behavior.
Mean-Level Age Differences
How does the personality of a typical eighteen-year-old differ from that of a typical thirty-five-
year-old or seventy-five-year-old? The papers in this section test for age differences in mean
levels of the Big Five. Their findings indicate how personality traits typically change across the
life span. Donnellan and Lucas 2008 and Srivastava, et al. 2003 examine age differences in the
Big Five using large cross-sectional samples. Roberts, et al. 2006 integrates findings from dozens
of longitudinal studies. Soto, et al. 2011 and Terracciano, et al. 2005 examine age differences in
facet-level traits and find that some facets show distinctive developmental trends.
Donnellan, M. Brent, and Richard E. Lucas. 2008. Age differences in the Big Five across the life
span: Evidence from two national samples. Psychology and Aging 23.3: 558–566.
This article tests for cross-sectional age differences in the Big Five from adolescence into late
adulthood using nationally representative samples from Germany and the United Kingdom. It
finds that mean levels of Agreeableness increase with age, levels of Extraversion and Openness
decrease with age, and levels of Conscientiousness peak in middle age.
Roberts, Brent W., Kate E. Walton, and Wolfgang Viechtbauer. 2006. Patterns of mean-level
change in personality traits across the life course: A meta-analysis of longitudinal studies.
Psychological Bulletin 132.1: 1–25.
This meta-analysis integrates results from ninety-two longitudinal studies of mean-level change
in personality traits. In terms of the Big Five, it finds that levels of Agreeableness,
Conscientiousness, and the social-dominance facet of Extraversion (assertiveness and
talkativeness) increase with age across adulthood, levels of Neuroticism and the social-vitality
facet of Extraversion (sociability and gregariousness) decrease with age, and levels of Openness
to Experience decrease in late adulthood.
Soto, Christopher J., Oliver P. John, Samuel D. Gosling, and Jeff Potter. 2011. Age differences
in personality traits from 10 to 65: Big Five domains and facets in a large cross-sectional sample.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100.2: 330–348.
This study extends the findings documented in Srivastava, et al. 2003 by examining cross-
sectional age differences in the Big Five domains and more-specific facet traits from late
childhood through middle age using an Internet sample of more than one million participants. It
shows that late childhood and adolescence are key periods for personality development and that
some facet traits show distinctive age trends.
Srivastava, Sanjay, Oliver P. John, Samuel D. Gosling, and Jeff Potter. 2003. Development of
personality in early and middle adulthood: Set like plaster or persistent change? Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology 84.5: 1041–1053.
This study examines cross-sectional age differences in the Big Five across early adulthood and
middle age using an Internet sample of more than 200,000 participants. It finds mean-level
increases in Agreeableness and Conscientiousness, as well as decreases in Neuroticism among
women.
Terracciano, Antonio, Robert R. McCrae, Larry J. Brant, and Paul T. Costa Jr. 2005.
Hierarchical linear modeling analyses of the NEO-PI-R scales in the Baltimore Longitudinal
Study of Aging. Psychology and Aging 20.3: 493–506.
This longitudinal study examines the adult development of the Big Five domains and more-
specific facet traits. It shows that mean levels of Agreeableness increase with age, levels of
Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Openness to Experience decline, and levels of Conscientiousness
peak in middle age. It also finds distinctive age trends for some facet traits.
Rank-Order Change
Another way to examine change is the relative standing of individuals across time. Does a child
who is more extraverted than his or her peers become an adult who is also more extraverted than
his or her peers? Hampson and Goldberg 2006 and Soldz and Vaillant 1999 find some rank-order
consistency for the Big Five across time spans of forty-plus years. Roberts and DelVecchio 2000
summarizes the results of several dozen longitudinal studies.
Hampson, Sarah E., and Lewis R. Goldberg. 2006. A first large cohort study of personality trait
stability over the 40 years between elementary school and midlife. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology 91.4: 763–779.
The rank-order consistency of the Big Five traits across forty years was examined using teacher-
rated personality in childhood and self-reported personality in adulthood. Extraversion and
Conscientiousness evidenced rank-order stability, but the remaining traits were relatively low.
Findings indicate some continuity of personality across time and contexts.
Roberts, Brent W., and Wendy F. DelVecchio. 2000. The rank-order consistency of personality
traits from childhood to old age: A quantitative review of longitudinal studies. Psychological
Bulletin 126.1: 3–25.
This meta-analysis finds that the rank-order consistency is modest throughout the lifespan for
each of the Big Five traits, indicating that both stability and change can coexist. Interestingly,
rank-order consistency increases from childhood to middle adulthood when the rank-order
consistency of personality plateaus around age fifty.
Soldz, Stephen, and George E. Vaillant. 1999. The Big Five personality traits and the life course:
A 45-year longitudinal study. Journal of Research in Personality 33.2: 208–232.
This study finds that the traits of Extraversion, Neuroticism and Openness are relatively
consistent across forty-five years, from college to older adulthood. Findings suggest continuity of
personality across long time periods and across contexts.
Change Processes
The studies reviewed above indicate that the Big Five personality traits are both stable and open
to change across the lifespan. The papers in this section review the different factors that may
contribute to personality stability and change. Specht, et al. 2014 evaluate six prominent theories
of personality development. Bleidorn, et al. 2009 examines the relative contributions of genetic
and environmental factors to personality change. Several papers show that personality changes
are associated with specific life experiences, including military service (Jackson, et al. 2012b),
work (Roberts, et al. 2003), and close relationships (Neyer and Asendorpf 2001, Specht, et al.
2011, Wood and Roberts 2006). Roberts, et al. 2017 reviews evidence showing that both clinical
and non-clinical interventions can lead to personality change, and Jackson, et al. 2012a and
Hudson and Fraley 2015 test the effectiveness of specific interventions.
Bleidorn, Wiebke, Christian Kandler, Rainer Riemann, Alois Angleitner, and Frank M. Spinath.
2009. Patterns and sources of adult personality development: Growth curve analyses of the NEO
PI-R scales in a longitudinal twin study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 97.1:
142–155.
This study examines the genetic and heritable components of personality trait change across ten
years. Changes in personality were influenced by both genetic and environmental factors,
suggesting that personality trait change can occur through both genetic and environmental
reasons.
Hudson, Nathan W., and R. Chris Fraley. 2015. Volitional personality trait change: Can people
choose to change their personality traits? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 109.3:
490–507.
This paper reports two studies designed to test whether people can intentionally change their own
personality traits, and whether such volitional personality change can be facilitated by an
intervention. It finds that people’s current goals predict their future personality change, and that
these changes can be accelerated by asking people to translate their abstract goals for personality
change into concrete plans.
Jackson, Joshua J., Patrick L. Hill, Brent W. Roberts, Brennan R. Payne, and Elizabeth Stine-
Morrow. 2012a. Can an old dog learn (and want to experience) new tricks? Cognitive training
increases openness to experience in older adults. Psychology and Aging 27.2: 286–292.
This is one of the first nonpharmacological or therapy interventions that resulted in changes to a
Big Five personality trait. Older adults who were trained in inductive reasoning skills and
performed crossword puzzles increased in Openness compared to a control group.
Jackson, Joshua J., Felix Thoemmes, Kathrin Jonkmann, Oliver Lüdtke, and Ulrich Trautwein.
2012b. Military training and personality trait development: Does the military make the man, or
does the man make the military? Psychological Science 23.3: 270–277.
This study finds that military service is associated with suppressed levels of Agreeableness
compared to a control group. The changes associated with military service remained four years
later, after recruits left the military and entered the labor force.
Neyer, Franz J., and Jens B. Asendorpf. 2001. Personality-relationship transaction in young
adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81.6: 1190–1204.
This four-year study identified that romantic relationships are associated with changes in
personality traits. Additionally, personality traits predicted changes in social relationships, but
the opposite was not true.
Roberts, Brent W., Avshalom Caspi, and Terrie E. Moffitt. 2003. Work experiences and
personality development in young adulthood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
84.3: 582–593.
This study finds that personality predicts work experiences and that work experiences are
associated with changes in personality traits. This corresponsive association (i.e., personality
leads to experiences, which then are associated with personality change) appears to be a general
mechanism for change.
Roberts, Brent W., Jing Luo, Daniel A. Briley, Philip I. Chow, Rong Su, and Patrick L. Hill.
2017. A systematic review of personality trait change through intervention. Psychological
Bulletin 143.2: 117–141.
This meta-analysis combines the results of 207 previous studies examining the effects of clinical
and non-clinical interventions on personality change. It finds that both types of interventions
have meaningful effects on personality, and that these effects tend to persist past the end of the
interventions themselves.
Specht, Jule, Wiebke Bleidorn, Jaap J. A. Denissen, Marie Hennecke, Roos Hutteman, Christian
Kandler, Maike Luhmann, Ulrich Orth, Anne K. Reitz, and Julia Zimmermann. 2014. What
drives adult personality development? A comparison of theoretical perspectives and empirical
evidence. European Journal of Personality 2014.5: 216–230.
This article compares six theoretical perspectives regarding the causes of personality
development. It concludes that all six have some empirical support, but that the neo-
socioanalytic theory of personality development best fits the available research evidence.
Specht, Jule, Boris Egloff, and Stefan C. Schmukle. 2011. Stability and change of personality
across the life course: The impact of age and major life events on mean-level and rank-order
stability of the Big Five. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101.4: 862–882.
In this study, a number of life experiences were associated with personality trait change. For
example, Conscientiousness was associated with divorce, childbirth, and retirement, whereas
changes in Extraversion were associated with getting married and with moving in with a partner.
Wood, Dustin, and Brent W. Roberts. 2006. Cross-sectional and longitudinal tests of the
Personality and Role Identity Structural Model (PRISM). Journal of Personality 74.3: 779–810.
This paper distinguishes context-specific personality traits from the more general Big Five
personality traits. Findings from this study suggest that changes in roles lead to changes in
context-specific personality traits, which then can lead to changes in the broader, more general
traits.
Predicting Behaviors and Life Outcomes
One of the reasons for the ubiquity of the Big Five is their ability to predict a wide swath of
important life outcomes, sometimes decades in the future. The papers in this section highlight the
many domains of behavior and real life outcomes that the Big Five predict. Magnus, et al. 1993
examines how personality traits shape people’s everyday experiences. Ozer and Benet-Martínez
2006 reviews evidence that the Big Five predict a variety of life outcomes, such as life goals,
physical health, psychopathology, romantic relationships, subjective well-being, and work and
achievement. Soto 2019 attempts to replicate many of these trait-outcome associations, with
mostly positive results. Roberts, et al. 2007 compares the predictive power of personality traits to
that of intelligence and socioeconomic status and discusses some of the likely mechanisms by
which personality influences life outcomes.
Magnus, Keith, Ed Diener, Frank Fujita, and William Pavot. 1993. Extraversion and neuroticism
as predictors of objective life events: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology 65.5: 1046–1053.
An early paper on the predictive utility of personality traits that found that positive life events are
associated with Extraversion and negative life events with Neuroticism. The study suggests that
personality shapes the experiences one encounters and discusses how personality shapes the
subjective viewpoint of objective experiences.
Ozer, Daniel J., and Veronica Benet-Martínez. 2006. Personality and the prediction of
consequential outcomes. Annual Review of Psychology 57: 401–421.
This review article relates Big Five personality traits to many different life outcomes, such as
spirituality, health, community involvement, and political ideology.
Roberts, Brent W., Nathan R. Kuncel, Rebecca L. Shiner, Avshalom Caspi, and Lewis R.
Goldberg. 2007. The power of personality: The comparative validity of personality traits,
socioeconomic status, and cognitive ability for predicting important life outcomes. Perspectives
on psychological science 2:313–345.
In this meta-analysis, the predictive validity of Big Five traits for the domains of longevity,
divorce, and occupational attainment is compared with the predictive validity of socioeconomic
status and cognitive ability. Findings suggest that the Big Five are as good or better predictors of
these important life outcomes.
Soto, Christopher J. 2019. How replicable are links between personality traits and consequential
life outcomes? The Life Outcomes of Personality Replication Project. Psychological Science
30.5: 711–727.
This paper reports a project designed to test the robustness of links between the Big Five traits
and consequential life outcomes. The project attempts to replicate 78 specific trait-outcome
associations reviewed by Ozer and Benet-Martinez 2006. It finds that most trait-outcome
associations do replicate, but that the associations tend to be somewhat weaker in the replications
than in the original studies.
Attitudes, Goals, and Motivation
Do the Big Five relate to other domains of individual differences such as goals, motives, and
general attitudes? This section provides evidence that the Big Five play a role in each of these
constructs. Carney, et al. 2008 and Jost, et al. 2003 detail how personality traits influence
political attitudes. MacDonald 2000 finds that traits also relate to spiritual attitudes. Roberts and
Robins 2000 provides evidence that personality traits shape people’s life goals, and Lucas, et al.
2000 argues that reward sensitivity is the core motivational feature of extraversion.
Carney, Dana R., John T. Jost, Samuel D. Gosling, and Jeff Potter. 2008. The secret lives of
liberals and conservatives: Personality profiles, interaction styles, and the things they leave
behind. Political Psychology 29.6: 807–840.
The personality differences between liberals and conservatives are associated with the
personality traits of Conscientiousness and Openness to Experience. Personality traits are
especially useful for distinguishing social (versus economic) dimensions of political ideology.
Jost, John T., Jack Glaser, Arie W. Kruglanski, and Frank J. Sulloway. 2003. Political
conservatism as motivated social cognition. Psychological Bulletin 129.3: 339–375.
This meta-analysis associates higher levels of Openness to Experience with lower levels of
political conservatism.
Lucas, Richard E., Ed Diener, Alexander Grob, Eunkook M. Suh, and Liang Shao. 2000. Cross-
cultural evidence for the fundamental features of extraversion. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology 79.3: 452–468.
Across four studies, the authors identify that a core feature of Extraversion is reward sensitivity,
which implies that the sociability aspect of Extraversion arises from reward sensitivity.
MacDonald, Douglas A. 2000. Spirituality: Description, measurement, and relation to the five
factor model of personality. Journal of Personality 68.1: 153–197.
This study empirically identifies a number of dimensions related to spirituality and relates these
dimensions to the Big Five.
Roberts, Brent W., and Richard W. Robins. 2000. Broad dispositions, broad aspirations: The
intersection of personality traits and major life goals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
26.10: 1284–1296.
This paper is one of the first to use the Big Five to predict a broad range of life goals such as
economic, family, or political goals. Extraversion and Agreeableness were the strongest
predictors.
Everyday Behavior
The Big Five personality traits are thought to reflect the relatively enduring tendency to think,
feel, and behave in a specific manner. However, surprisingly few studies use behavior to better
understand personality. Papers in this section show that strangers can accurately infer personality
traits from observing people’s bedrooms and offices (Gosling, et al. 2002), musical preferences
(Rentfrow and Gosling 2003), and brief samples of behavior (Funder and Sneed 1993). Jackson,
et al. 2010 identifies specific behaviors associated with Conscientiousness. Paunonen and Ashton
2001 provides evidence that many specific behaviors can be predicted more accurately from
facet-level traits than from the Big Five domains themselves.
Funder, David C., and Carl D. Sneed. 1993. Behavioral manifestations of personality: An
ecological approach to judgmental accuracy. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 64.3:
479–490.
In this study, unacquainted observers were able to assess the personalities of people they had
never met just by watching a series of behaviors. The ability to make such inferences was found
to be due to accurately assessing specific behavioral cues that are associated with each
personality trait.
Gosling, Samuel D., Sei J. Ko, Thomas Mannarelli, and Margaret E. Morris. 2002. A room with
a cue: Personality judgments based on offices and bedrooms. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology 82.3: 379–398.
This study suggests that we leave traces of our personality in the places we occupy. By just
viewing offices and dorm rooms, unacquainted observers could identify the personality of the
occupant.
Jackson, Joshua J., Dustin Wood, Tim Bogg, Kate Walton, Peter Harms, and Brent W. Roberts.
2010. What do conscientious people do? Development and validation of the Behavioral
Indicators of Conscientiousness Scale (BICS). Journal of Research in Personality 44.4: 501–
511.
This article identifies everyday behaviors that are associated with Conscientiousness, such as
showing up to meetings on time and cleaning dishes. Furthermore, these behaviors are used to
identify a lower-order structure of Conscientiousness.
Mehl, Matthias R., Samuel D. Gosling, and James W. Pennebaker. 2006. Personality in its
natural habitat: Manifestations and implicit folk theories of personality in daily life. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology 90.5: 862–877.
This study uses the Big Five traits to predict randomly recorded sounds during the participants
daily life. These findings suggest that personality manifests itself into everyday microlevel
behaviors such as language use, location, specific activities, and moods.
Paunonen, Sampo V., and Michael C. Ashton. 2001. Big Five factors and facets and the
prediction of behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 81.3: 524–539.
This study investigates the bandwidth-fidelity tradeoff and finds that more-specific, lower-order
measurements are better predictors of a broad number of behaviors.
Rentfrow, Peter J., and Samuel D. Gosling. 2003. The do re mi’s of everyday life: The structure
and personality correlates of music preferences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
84.6: 1236–1256.
This study identifies a measurement model of musical preferences and then associates different
styles of music with different Big Five personality profiles.
Physical Health
One of the most important life outcomes that personality traits are related to is physical health.
This section reviews studies that link the Big Five to different health outcomes and discusses
some of the reasons for these associations. Lahey 2009 summarizes the relations of Neuroticism
to health. The importance of Conscientiousness for health is shown by a pair of studies
connecting this domain to longevity (Kern and Friedman 2008, Martin, et al. 2007), as well as a
meta-analysis of the associations between Conscientiousness and health behaviors (Bogg and
Roberts 2004). In a long-term longitudinal study, Hampson, et al. 2007 tests some mechanisms
that may help explain the relations between personality traits and health.
Bogg, Tim, and Brent W. Roberts. 2004. Conscientiousness and health-related behaviors: A
meta-analysis of the leading behavioral contributors to mortality. Psychological Bulletin 130.6:
887–919.
This paper meta-analytically reviews the association between the major health behaviors related
to mortality (e.g., risky driving, healthy eating habits) and Conscientiousness. Findings suggest
that Conscientiousness is related to all the major health behaviors associated with mortality.
Hampson, Sarah E., Lewis R. Goldberg, Thomas M. Vogt, and Joan P. Dubanoski. 2007.
Mechanisms by which childhood personality traits influence adult health status: Educational
attainment and healthy behaviors. Health Psychology 26.1: 121–125.
This forty-year longitudinal study identifies some of the processes by which personality traits
influence health outcomes. Findings suggest that childhood levels of Agreeableness,
Conscientiousness, and Openness were associated with health in adulthood partially through
eating habits, smoking, and educational attainment.
Kern, Margaret L., and Howard S. Friedman. 2008. Do conscientious individuals live longer? A
quantitative review. Health Psychology 27.5: 505–512.
In this meta-analysis, Conscientiousness is associated with mortality risk across twenty different
studies. Findings suggest that the industriousness and orderliness facets are most strongly related
to mortality risk.
Lahey, Benjamin B. 2009. Public health significance of neuroticism. American Psychologist
64.4: 241–256.
This article reviews Neuroticism’s relations to physical and mental health, discusses its origins
and development, and considers possible causal mechanisms by which Neuroticism might
influence health outcomes.
Martin, Leslie R., Howard S. Friedman, and Joseph E. Schwartz. 2007. Personality and mortality
risk across the life span: The importance of conscientiousness as a biopsychosocial attribute.
Health Psychology 26.4: 428–436.
In a long-term study, the trait of Conscientiousness predicted mortality risk using both childhood
and adulthood assessments of Conscientiousness. The relationship between Conscientiousness
and mortality risk was partially explained by health behaviors.
Psychopathology
Despite being developed to describe “normal” personality, the Big Five traits also assess more
abnormal levels of personality functioning. These studies demonstrate the overlap between
traditional Big Five measures and different forms of psychopathology. Kotov, et al. 2010 and
Trull and Sher 1994 examine how the Big Five relate to clinical (Axis I) disorders, whereas
Samuel and Widiger 2008 summarizes how they relate to personality (Axis II) disorders.
Kotov, Roman, Wakiza Gamez, Frank Schmidt, and David Watson. 2010. Linking “big”
personality traits to anxiety, depressive, and substance use disorders: A meta-analysis.
Psychological Bulletin 136.5: 768–821.
This meta-analysis demonstrates that high levels of Neuroticism and low levels of
Conscientiousness overlap considerably with clinical disorders. These findings suggest that
findings from studies of the Big Five can help inform psychopathology research.
Samuel, Douglas B., and Thomas A. Widiger. 2008. A meta-analytic review of the relationships
between the five-factor model and DSM-IV-TR personality disorders: A facet level analysis.
Clinical Psychology Review 28.8: 1326–1342.
This study finds a considerable relationship between Axis II personality disorders and the Big
Five traits, which suggests personality disorders can be thought of as maladaptive variants of
personality traits. The study also identifies some usefulness in looking at the facets of the Big
Five, rather than at broad, general traits.
Trull, Timothy J., and Kenneth J. Sher. 1994. Relationship between the five-factor model of
personality and Axis I disorders in a nonclinical sample. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 103.2:
350–360.
This study was one of the first to associate the Big Five with psychopathology and paved the
way for future studies that highlight the usefulness of personality traits to better understand
psychopathology.
Relationships and Social Status
Another major domain that the Big Five traits influence is social relationships. Big Five traits
affect social status (Anderson, et al. 2001) as well as the processes underlying prosocial emotions
and behavior (McCullough, et al. 2002). They also play an important role in romantic
relationships. Noftle and Shaver 2006 identifies relations between the Big Five and adult
attachment styles. Watson, et al. 2000 and Dyrenforth, et al. 2010 show that one’s own
personality and the personality of one’s partner both influence relationship satisfaction.
Anderson, Cameron, Oliver P. John, Dacher Keltner, and Ann M. Kring. 2001. Who attains
social status? Effects of personality and physical attractiveness in social groups. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology 81.1: 116–132.
This study identifies the predictors of high social status. In terms of Big Five traits, Extraversion
was associated with higher levels of status as well as lower levels of Neuroticism for men.
Dyrenforth, Portia S., Deborah A. Kashy, M. Brent Donnellan, and Richard E. Lucas. 2010.
Predicting relationship and life satisfaction from personality in nationally representative samples
from three countries: The relative importance of actor, partner, and similarity effects. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology 99.4: 690-702.
This study analyzes personality data from large, nationally representative samples of married
couples in three countries. It finds that both partners’ personality traits contribute to relationship
satisfaction and overall life satisfaction. However, it doesn’t find evidence that partner similarity
(or dissimilarity) affects satisfaction.
McCullough, Michael E., Robert A. Emmons, and Jo-Ann Tsang. 2002. The grateful disposition:
A conceptual and empirical topography. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 82.1:
112–127.
This study identifies gratefulness as an affective disposition that, while associated with the Big
Five, is distinct from them and from positive affect. Findings suggest that grateful individuals are
more likely to participate in prosocial behaviors and attend spiritual services.
Noftle, Erik E., and Phillip R. Shaver. 2006. Attachment dimensions and the Big Five personality
traits: Associations and comparative ability to predict relationship quality. Journal of Research
in Personality 40.2: 179–208.
This study identifies that there is an overlap between the Big Five and adult attachment
measures—most notably with the trait of Neuroticism. Additionally, the study finds that
attachment measures predict relationship quality above and beyond Big Five measures.
Watson, David, Brock Hubbard, and David Wiese. 2000. General traits of personality and
affectivity as predictors of satisfaction in intimate relationships: Evidence from self- and partner-
ratings. Journal of Personality 68.3: 413–449.
In this study, the personalities of both members of a romantic relationship were used to predict
their partner’s levels of relationship satisfaction. Results indicate the personality of one’s partner
matters for relationship satisfaction.
Self-concept
The Big Five traits also play a role in the self-concept, or how people view themselves. Robins,
et al. 2001 finds that personality traits are closely related to, but distinguishable from, self-
esteem. Campbell, et al. 1996 shows that personality traits also relate to self-concept clarity
how clearly a person sees him- or herself from one day or situation to the next.
Campbell, Jennifer D., Paul D. Trapnell, Steven J. Heine, Ilana M. Katz, Loraine F. Lavallee,
and Darrin R. Lehman. 1996. Self-concept clarity: measurement, personality correlates, and
cultural boundaries. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 70.1: 141–156.
This study finds that high levels of Agreeableness, high levels of Conscientiousness, and low
levels of Neuroticism are associated with higher levels of self-concept clarity.
Robins, Richard W., Jessica L. Tracy, Kali Trzesniewski, Jeff Potter, and Samuel D. Gosling.
2001. Personality correlates of self-esteem. Journal of Research in Personality 35.4: 463–482.
In a large Internet sample, high levels of self-esteem were associated with higher levels of
Extraversion, Conscientiousness, and emotional stability.
Subjective Well-being
Another important life outcome that personality traits are associated with is subjective well-
being. DeNeve and Cooper 1998; Diener, et al. 2003; and Steel, et al. 2008 review the literature
linking personality traits with emotional and cognitive measures of well-being. Soto 2015 finds
that these links are reciprocal, with personality traits and well-being influencing each other over
time. The two other papers in this section consider mechanisms by which personality traits may
influence well-being. Sheldon, et al. 1997 finds that greater personality consistency across
different social roles predicts higher well-being. Headey and Wearing 1989 provides evidence
that personality traits affect well-being by creating stable patterns of positive and negative life
events.
DeNeve, Kristina M., and Harris Cooper. 1998. The happy personality: A meta-analysis of 137
personality traits and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin 124.2: 197–229.
This meta-analysis identifies that the traits of Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Conscientiousness
are most highly associated with subjective well-being.
Diener, Ed, Shigehiro Oishi, and Richard E. Lucas. 2003. Personality, culture, and subjective
well-being: Emotional and cognitive evaluations of life. Annual Review of Psychology 54:403–
425.
This review details the many studies that link subjective well-being with personality traits.
Personality traits are not the only determinants of subjective well-being, as life events and
cultural differences also play an important role.
Headey, Bruce, and Alexander Wearing. 1989. Personality, life events, and subjective well-
being: Toward a dynamic equilibrium model. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
57.4: 731–739.
This longitudinal study suggests that while the Big Five traits influence well-being, life events
are more important in determining changes in well-being.
Sheldon, Kennon M., Richard M. Ryan, Laird J. Rawsthorne, and Barbara Ilardi. 1997. Trait self
and true self: Cross-role variation in the Big-Five personality traits and its relations with
psychological authenticity and subjective well-being. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology 73.6: 1380–1393.
This article shows that individuals often express different Big Five traits in different social roles
(e.g., as a student versus as a romantic partner), but that greater consistency between a person’s
general self-concept and the traits they express in a particular role predicts greater feelings of
satisfaction and authenticity in that role. Finally, it shows that greater overall trait consistency
across social roles predicts greater overall subjective and physical well-being.
Soto, Christopher J. 2015. Is happiness good for your personality? Concurrent and prospective
relations of the Big Five with subjective well-being. Journal of Personality 83.1: 45–55.
This study tests longitudinal associations between the Big Five and subjective well-being in a
large, nationally representative sample. It finds that current personality predicts future changes in
well-being, but also that current well-being predicts future personality change.
Steel, Piers, Joseph Schmidt, and Jonas Shultz. 2008. Refining the relationship between
personality and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin 134.1: 138–161.
This meta-analysis further investigates the link between the Big Five and subjective well-being
by analyzing specific measures instead of grouping together multiple broad-bandwidth scales.
The authors conclude that specific scales evidence higher personality-subjective well-being
(SWB) relations and that past studies have underestimated the link between personality traits and
subjective well-being.
Work and Achievement
Personality traits are also associated with a number of academic and occupational outcomes.
Noftle and Robins 2007 and Poropat 2009 show that the Big Five, especially Conscientiousness,
predict academic achievement, including grades and standardized test scores. As for
occupational outcomes, Judge, et al. 1999 demonstrates that childhood personality traits predict
adult career attainment. A series of meta-analyses shows that personality traits relate to job
performance (Barrick and Mount 1991, Mount, et al. 1998), job satisfaction (Judge, et al. 2002b),
and leadership (Judge, et al. 2002a). Hogan, et al. 1996 explains how employers can use
personality assessments in the personnel selection process.
Barrick, Murray R., and Michael K. Mount. 1991. The big five personality dimensions and job
performance: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology 44.1: 1–26.
In this meta-analysis, three different types of job performance across a number of different
occupations were linked to the Big Five traits. Findings suggest that Conscientiousness was
important for different types of performance and across varying occupations. Other Big Five
traits were important but less so, and efficacy was tied to specific occupations.
Hogan, Robert, Joyce Hogan, and Brent W. Roberts. 1996. Personality measurement and
employment decisions: Questions and answers. American Psychologist 51.5: 469–477.
This paper provides compelling reasons to use the Big Five as a tool for personnel selection,
such as the predictive validity of job success, as detailed above. In addition, the paper addresses
several common misconceptions about personality assessment.
Judge, Timothy A., Joyce E. Bono, Remus Ilies, and Megan W. Gerhardt. 2002a. Personality and
leadership: A qualitative and quantitative review. Journal of Applied Psychology 87.4: 765–780.
This meta-analysis finds that four of the Big Five traits predict leadership, with only the trait of
Agreeableness not associated with leadership. Together, the remaining four personality traits
explain substantial variance in leadership ability.
Judge, Timothy A., Daniel Heller, and Michael K. Mount. 2002b. Five-factor model of
personality and job satisfaction: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology 87.3: 530–541.
This meta-analysis suggests that the traits of Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness,
and Neuroticism are all associated with job satisfaction.
Judge, Timothy A., Chad A. Higgins, Carl J. Thoresen, and Murray R. Barrick. 1999. The big
five personality traits, general mental ability, and career success across the life span. Personnel
Psychology 52.3: 621–652.
In this long-term longitudinal study, childhood levels of Conscientiousness predicted extrinsic
and intrinsic success, while Neuroticism predicted extrinsic success. Childhood levels of
personality traits predicted these outcomes above and beyond cognitive ability and personality
assessed in adulthood.
Mount, Michael K., Murray R. Barrick, and Greg L. Stewart. 1998. Five-factor model of
personality and performance in jobs involving interpersonal interactions. Human Performance
11.2–3: 145–165.
This meta-analysis finds that the Big Five traits of Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and
emotional stability are the traits most strongly associated with job performance in jobs involving
interpersonal interactions.
Noftle, Erik E., and Richard W. Robins. 2007. Personality predictors of academic outcomes: Big
Five correlates of GPA and SAT scores. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 93.1:
116–130.
The authors associate Big Five traits with high school GPA, college GPA, and SAT scores.
Conscientiousness predicted college GPA even after controlling for high school GPA and SAT
scores.
Poropat, Arthur E. 2009. A meta-analysis of the five-factor model of personality and academic
performance. Psychological Bulletin 135.2: 322–338.
This meta-analysis links the Big Five traits with academic performance across different academic
levels. Conscientiousness emerges as the best predictor of academic performance.
... Kepribadian manusia terbagi ke dalam 5 dimensi yaitu extroversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, dan openness to experience. Kepribadian extroversion identik dengan sikap senang bersosialisasi dan berteman, berbicara, aktif, asertif, memiliki energi yang positif, serta mudah beradaptasi dengan lingkungan sekitar (Ivanchevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, 2007;Ramadhani, 2012;Rustiarini, 2014;Soto & Jackson, 2013). Kepribadian ini sangat menunjang profesi akuntan publik karena mampu berinteraksi dan berkomunikasi secara baik dengan tim kerja maupun klien. ...
... Ramdhani (2012) Openness to experience sering dideskripsikan sebagai seseorang yang senang mengambil risiko (Ivanchevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, 2007). Seseorang dengan kepribadian ini memiliki ketertarikan terhadap hal-hal baru, rasa ingin tahu yang tinggi, kreatif, imajinatif, berpikiran terbuka, dan intelektual (Camps, Stouten, & Euwema, 2016;Ivanchevich, Konopaske, & Matteson, 2007;McCrea & Costa, 1999;Soto & Jackson, 2013). Kepribadian openness to experience tidak memiliki hubungan dengan pemberian dukungan dari supervisor kepada staf auditor (Saadullah, Bailey, & Awadallah, 2020). ...
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... A suggested lens for analysing variations in personality traits is the five-factor model of personality, that also has been referred to as FFM, The Big Five Model, or OCEAN (Costa & McCrae, 1992;Jackson & Soto, 2015). The last acronym is built around the first letters in the five factors or personality traits. ...
... Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. All these factors have their corresponding counterparts, two examples are Extraversion -Intraversion, and that Neuroticism has a polar opposite in Emotional Stability (Jackson & Soto, 2015). Personality traits should not necessarily be seen as belonging to any of the two polar opposites, but rather as somewhere in a continuum there in-between. ...
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... Multivariate studies indicate that some genetic factors enhancing SWB also protect against depression and other mental health problems and determine personality traits . A wide range of personality traits seem to influence SWB, specifically, the traits from the five factor personality model (Soto and Jackson, 2020). While neuroticism is associated with poorer SWB, the other four traits, namely extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience tend to increase levels of SWB. ...
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The aim of this study is to estimate and compare subjective well-being in the EU member states. Moreover, the study investigates the objective factors influencing the level of SWB. Special attention was paid to the relationship between subjective well-being and income and subjective well-being and age. The study also contains a comparative analysis of national profiles of subjective well-being in the EU member states. In addition, the EU member states were classified taking into account the degree of similarity between the structure of subjective well-being (similarity of relationships between the indicators of SWB components). The theoretical part includes a novel approach to measuring subjective well-being, which is based on recent recommendations of Eurostat and A. Sen’s capabilities approach. Under this approach, heterogeneous ways of maximizing SWB are taken into account, resulting from individuals’ capabilities and preferences and different living conditions, which depend on the stage of economic development and social customs in the country concerned. Moreover, this approach makes it possible to empirically verify hypotheses about potential factors influencing the dimensions of SWB. A multiple indicators and multiple causes (MIMIC) model was used to operationalise the capabilities approach. Based on the results of the MIMIC model, subjective well-being index (SWBI) and subjective well-being component indices (SWBCI) were proposed. The recommended method of constructing SWB indicators yields results that are comparable between countries and SWB components. In addition, a number of SWB kernel density estimations were performed in the general populations of the countries analysed in the study in order to gain addition comparative insights into SWB. A comparative analysis of national profiles by subjective well-being was carried out using one of the methods of factor analysis, namely correspondence analysis. The classification of the EU member states in terms of the similarity between their structures of subjective well-being (similarity of relationships between the indicators of SWB components) was conducted using agglomerative hierarchical cluster analysis. Various tools were proposed to analyse the relationship between subjective well-being and income and between subjective well-being and age. Firstly, the relationships were evaluated by estimating the kernel regression of SWB on income and on age, for each the EU country separately. Next, differences in the relationship between average SWBI and average equivalised income in the EU countries were analysed. Finally, the kernel regression function of average values of SWBI on average equivalised income was estimated for all data points representing the EU countries. In the empirical part, we used the proposed methodology to estimate SWB indicators in the EU member states in 2018. Moreover, we examined which factors determined subjective well-being in these countries. Next, we conducted a comparative analysis of national profiles in terms of subjective well-being and the clustering of EU-27 countries according to the similarity of their structures of subjective well-being. Finally, interrelationships between subjective well-being and its determinants were analysed. The empirical analyses was based on data from the European Union Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) for 2018.
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As word formation can be conceptualized as an act of creativity with considerable space for differences among speakers, we present pilot research aimed at the examination of the role of Big-Five personality domains in the formation of new complex words. The sample consisted of 197 participants who underwent a word formation test and a personality assessment via The Next Big-Five Inventory. The results indicate that when ordinal regression is conducted with an aim of accounting for age and gender, open-mindedness is shown as a potentially important predictor – it positively predicted economy of expression and negatively predicted semantic transparency. Furthermore, a more nuanced approach differentiating three facets of open-mindedness shows that creative imagination predicted semantic transparency positively while esthetic sensitivity predicts semantic transparency negatively (the reverse is true for the economy of expression). These findings provide a promising starting point for future research.
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Despite such a wide and comprehensive psychological and psychophysiological examination of recruits in modern professional selection systems both in the armies of NATO countries and Ukraine, the effectiveness of the process is insufficient. To identify the reasons for the insufficient prognostic effectiveness of modern psychophysiological methods, a study was made of the variability in the organization of brain structures to ensure the speed of a simple sensorimotor reaction (PSMR) of a high level as a basic characteristic of the functional state of the central nervous system. As a result of a survey of 54 servicemen of different specialties, it was found that the same indicators of the state of psychophysiological functions are provided by different strategies for their implementation. Electroencephalograms were recorded when military personnel performed a computer test to determine the speed of PSMR. It was revealed that at approximately the same rate of PSMR, different brain structures were activated in servicemen. Since the same PSMR value can be realized by different neural networks, what we do not detect during psychophysiological testing, but later on under stress, load, etc. military personnel may exhibit different behavioral strategies. Such types of behaviour make it possible to achieve the best results in various types of activity and correspond to the profiles of different military specialties, and vice versa, it can be assumed that neural networks of approximately the same type can implement somewhat different indicators of psychophysiological functions. The same psychophysiological profile can correspond to different profiles of military specialties and vice versa, several psychophysiological profiles can correspond to one specialty, since approximately the same values of psychophysiological functions can be realized by different neural networks. Therefore, psychophysiological testing should be supplemented with neurophysiological testing, since it allows revealing the internal features of the organization of the brain and predicting the further behavior of servicemen.
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The relevance of this study is due to the fact that men and women often do not understand the views and behavior of each other. The article examines the problem of different character traits and behavior of men and women, analyzes the reasons for these differences. As a methodology, the author’s theory of the relationship between the natural and the social in society and man, as well as analysis, comparison and dialectics are used. The author finds out which traits have natural causes and which ones have social causes. The paper provides a critical analysis of the views of Ch. Darwin, Z. Freud, V. A. Geodakyan, R. L. Trivers, R. Dawkins and others. The use of the “five-factor model” by psychologists in the study of differences in the characters of men and women is analyzed. The special role of Geodakyan’s theory about the causes of sexual dimorphism is shown, which states that in all living organisms with dimorphism, including humans, the male sex will perform the development function at the genetic level, and the female sex will perform the preservation function. The function of conservation in a woman at the biological level is manifested in the fact that she passes on to her offspring all the valuable, stable genes that the species has acquired at the moment, thereby preserving them. The male sex, through the paternal effect, passes on to the heirs new genes that contribute to the development of the species. The author concludes that not only at the genetic, but also at the social level, a man contributes to the development of society to a greater extent, and a woman contributes to its preservation. At the same time, these functions are harmonized, as a result of which men begin to participate more in conservation, and women in development. It also shows the dialectic of the internal natural prerequisites for the predominant character traits of a man and a woman and social control over them.
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The invisible college of psychologists who do research with measures of normal personality now largely agrees about the structure of personality; this group also agrees that competently developed personality measures are valid predictors of real world performance. Outside that college, however, there is still considerable skepticism regarding the meaning and validity of these measures. This article attempts to summarize the data needed to answer the most frequent questions about the use of personality measures in applied contexts. Our major conclusions are that (a) well-constructed measures of normal personality are valid predictors of performance in virtually all occupations, (b) they do not result in adverse impact for job applicants from minority groups, and (c) using well-developed personality measures for preemployment screening is a way to promote social justice and increase organizational productivity. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Self-concept clarity (SCC) references a structural aspect oftbe self-concept: the extent to which self- beliefs are clearly and confidently defined, internally consistent, and stable. This article reports the SCC Scale and examines (a) its correlations with self-esteem (SE), the Big Five dimensions, and self-focused attention (Study l ); (b) its criterion validity (Study 2); and (c) its cultural boundaries (Study 3 ). Low SCC was independently associated with high Neuroticism, low SE, low Conscien- tiousness, low Agreeableness, chronic self-analysis, low internal state awareness, and a ruminative form of self-focused attention. The SCC Scale predicted unique variance in 2 external criteria: the stability and consistency of self-descriptions. Consistent with theory on Eastern and Western self- construals, Japanese participants exhibited lower levels of SCC and lower correlations between SCC and SE than did Canadian participants.
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The current study examined the relation between self-esteem and the Big Five personality dimensions. Data were collected over the Internet from a large heterogeneous sample of individuals who ranged in age from 9 to 90 years (N = 326,641). Collectively, the Big Five accounted for 34% of the variance in self-esteem. High self-esteem individuals were emotionally stable, extraverted, and conscientious and were somewhat agreeable and open to experience. Despite an extensive search for potential mediators and moderators of this general pattern, the relations between self-esteem and the Big Five largely cut across age, sex, social class, ethnicity, and nationality (United States vs non-United States). High self-esteem individuals tended to ascribe socially desirable traits to themselves, and this tendency partially mediated relations between the Big Five and self-esteem. Discussion focuses on interpreting the social desirability effects, limitations of the study, and directions for future research.
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This article reports a meta-analysis of personality-academic performance relationships, based on the 5-factor model, in which cumulative sample sizes ranged to over 70,000. Most analyzed studies came from the tertiary level of education, but there were similar aggregate samples from secondary and tertiary education. There was a comparatively smaller sample derived from studies at the primary level. Academic performance was found to correlate significantly with Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness. Where tested, correlations between Conscientiousness and academic performance were largely independent of intelligence. When secondary academic performance was controlled for, Conscientiousness added as much to the prediction of tertiary academic performance as did intelligence. Strong evidence was found for moderators of correlations. Academic level (primary, secondary, or tertiary), average age of participant, and the interaction between academic level and age significantly moderated correlations with academic performance. Possible explanations for these moderator effects are discussed, and recommendations for future research are provided.
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This meta-analysis used 9 literature search strategies to examine 137 distinct personality constructs as correlates of subjective well-being (SWB). Personality was found to be equally predictive of life satisfaction, happiness, and positive affect, but significantly less predictive of negative affect. The traits most closely associated with SWB were repressive-defensiveness, trust, emotional stability, locus of control-chance, desire for control, hardiness, positive affectivity, private collective self-esteem, and tension. When personality traits were grouped according to the Big Five factors, Neuroticism was the strongest predictor of life satisfaction, happiness, and negative affect. Positive affect was predicted equally well by Extraversion and Agreeableness. The relative importance of personality for predicting SWB, how personality might influence SWB, and limitations of the present review are discussed.
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In 2 studies, college students evidenced differing levels of the "Big-Five" traits in different roles, supporting social-contextualist assumptions regarding trait expression. Supporting organismic theories of personality, within-subject variations in the Big Five were predictable from variations in the degree of psychological authenticity felt in different roles. In addition, two concepts of self-integrat ion or true selfhood were examined: 1 based on high consistency of trait profiles across roles (i.e., lowself-concept differentiation; E. M. Donahue, R. W. Robins, B. W. Roberts, & O. P. John, 1993) and 1 based on high mean levels of authenticity felt across roles. The 2 self-integration measures were found to be independent predictors of psychological and physical well-being indicating that both self-consistency and psychological authenticity are vital for organized functioning and health.
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This study investigated the relation of the "Big Five" personality di- mensions (Extraversion, Emotional Stability, Agreeableness, Consci- entiousness, and Openness to Experience) to three job performance criteria (job proficiency, training proficiency, and personnel data) for five occupational groups (professionals, police, managers, sales, and skilled/semi-skilled). Results indicated that one dimension of person- ality. Conscientiousness, showed consistent relations with all job per- formance criteria for all occupational groups. For the remaining per- sonality dimensions, the estimated true score correlations varied by occupational group and criterion type. Extraversion was a valid pre- dictor for two occupations involving social interaction, managers and sales (across criterion types). Also, both Openness to Experience and Extraversion were valid predictors of the training proficiency criterion (across occupations). Other personality dimensions were also found to be valid predictors for some occupations and some criterion types, but the magnitude of the estimated true score correlations was small (p < .10). Overall, the results illustrate the benefits of using the 5- factor model of personality to accumulate and communicate empirical findings. The findings have numerous implications for research and practice in personnel psychology, especially in the subfields of person- nel selection, training and development, and performance appraisal.
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In this article, the results of a meta-analysis that investigates the degree to which dimensions of the Five-Factor Model (FFM) of personality are related to performance in jobs involving interpersonal interactions are reported. The article also investigates whether the nature of the interactions with others moderates the personality-performance relations. The meta-analysis was based on 11 studies (total N = 1,586). each of which assessed the FFM at the construct level using the Personal Characteristics Inventory. Results support the hypothesis that Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and Emotional Stability are positively related to performance in jobs involving interpersonal interactions. Results also support the hypothesis that Emotional Stability and Agreeableness are more strongly related to performance in jobs that involve team- work (where employees interact interdependently with coworkers), than in those that involve dyadic interactions with others (where employees provide a direct service to customers and clients). Implications for developing theories of work performance and for selecting employees are discussed.
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Using data from 4 waves of an Australian panel study, this study offers a dynamic account of relations between personality, life events, and subjective well-being (SWB). Members of the Victorian Quality of Life panel study were interviewed in 1981, 1983, 1985, and 1987. The initial sample size was 942; 649 respondents remain. The study shows that very stable personality traits (neuroticism, extraversion, and openness to experience) predispose people to experience moderately stable levels of favorable and adverse life events and moderately stable levels of SWB. However, contrary to previous research (P. T. Costa and R. R. McCrae, 1984) life events influence SWB over and above the effects of personality. A dynamic equilibrium (DE) model is outlined, in which each person is regarded as having "normal" equilibrium levels of life events and SWB, predictable on the basis of age and personality. Only when events deviate from their equilibrium levels does SWB change. The DE model is compared with 3 alternatives: personality models, adaptation level models, and models that treat life events as being wholly exogenous. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The present study investigated the relationship of traits from the 5-factor model of personality (often termed the “Big Five”) and general mental ability with career success. Career success was argued to be comprised of intrinsic success (job satisfaction) and extrinsic success (income and occupational status) dimensions. Data were obtained from the Intergenerational Studies, a set of 3 studies that followed participants from early childhood to retirement. The most general findings were that conscientiousness positively predicted intrinsic and extrinsic career success, neuroticism negatively predicted extrinsic success, and general mental ability positively predicted extrinsic career success. Personality was related to career success controlling for general mental ability and, though adulthood measures of the Big Five traits were more strongly related to career success than were childhood measures, both contributed unique variance in explaining career success.