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The higher-order structure of primal world beliefs in German-speaking countries: Adaptation and initial validation of the German Primals Inventory (PI-66-G)

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Primal world beliefs–or primals–are a category of beliefs about the overall character of the world that inform individual differences in cognition, affect, and behavior. In a recent comprehensive effort, Clifton et al. (2019) cataloged 26 pervasive primals and developed the Primals Inventory (PI-99) to measure them. In this study (N = 592), we describe the adaptation and initial validation of the German Primals Inventory (PI-66-G), an instrument to measure primals in German-speaking countries. The PI-66-G's first-order structure was supported by exploratory factor analyses and the resulting scales demonstrated good reliability (median α = 0.81). Based on the PI-66-G, we extend Clifton et al.' (2019) work by modeling the primals' hierarchical structure: Higher-order factor analyses reproduced their three-level model including one primary primal (Good), the three original secondary primals (Safe, Enticing, Alive), and three additional secondary primals (Empowering, Communal, Fluid). In line with the previous findings, the PI-66-G's primals were differentially (but mainly positively) correlated with the Big Five and life satisfaction. The results suggest that primals can generally be organized in a hierarchical model, but that the current model cannot properly describe every primal. Based on our findings, we discuss three hypotheses that should be evaluated in future research.
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Personality and Individual Differences
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/paid
The higher-order structure of primal world beliefs in German-speaking
countries: Adaptation and initial validation of the German Primals Inventory
(PI-66-G)
Alexander G. Stahlmann
a,
, Jennifer Hofmann
a
, Willibald Ruch
a
, Sonja Heintz
a
,
Jeremy D.W. Clifton
b
a
Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Switzerland
b
Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, United States of America
ARTICLE INFO
Keywords:
Primal world beliefs
Primals
Adaptation
Higher-order analysis
Life satisfaction
Big Five
ABSTRACT
Primal world beliefs–or primals–are a category of beliefs about the overall character of the world that inform
individual differences in cognition, affect, and behavior. In a recent comprehensive effort, Clifton et al. (2019)
cataloged 26 pervasive primals and developed the Primals Inventory (PI-99) to measure them. In this study
(N= 592), we describe the adaptation and initial validation of the German Primals Inventory (PI-66-G), an
instrument to measure primals in German-speaking countries. The PI-66-G's first-order structure was supported
by exploratory factor analyses and the resulting scales demonstrated good reliability (median α = 0.81). Based
on the PI-66-G, we extend Clifton et al.' (2019) work by modeling the primals' hierarchical structure: Higher-
order factor analyses reproduced their three-level model including one primary primal (Good), the three original
secondary primals (Safe, Enticing, Alive), and three additional secondary primals (Empowering, Communal,
Fluid). In line with the previous findings, the PI-66-G's primals were differentially (but mainly positively) cor-
related with the Big Five and life satisfaction. The results suggest that primals can generally be organized in a
hierarchical model, but that the current model cannot properly describe every primal. Based on our findings, we
discuss three hypotheses that should be evaluated in future research.
1. Introduction
The question “What is the nature of the world?” transcends issues
relating to the mechanics of physics and pertains to metaphysical and
aesthetic beliefs about the character of the universe in which humans
find themselves. These beliefs fall under the category of
Weltanschauungen–or worldviews in English–which refer to the plurality
of beliefs that shape individual differences in cognition, affect, and
behavior (Koltko-Rivera, 2004). From the 1950s on, beliefs about the
overall world nature were adopted by psychological science and se-
lectively investigated, such as “beliefs in a just world” (Lerner, 1980)
and “dangerous and competitive worldviews” (Perry, Sibley, & Duckitt,
2013). A number of authors (e.g., Beck, 1996;Dweck, 2008) argued
that the study of beliefs is key to understanding human development,
flourishing, and pathology. However, there was little effort into com-
piling a unifying framework or catalog for systematically investigating
these beliefs' structure and their distinct psychological effects.
Clifton et al. (2019) aimed at proposing such a comprehensive
empirically-derived classification of what they called primal world be-
liefs–or primals. They conceptualized primals as bipolar dimensions and
defined six criteria for primals' identification, derived from the perti-
nent literature. On this basis, they identified primals by searching the
literature and by analyzing historical texts (sacred texts, novels, films,
speeches, treatises), twitter data, and corpus data. Iteratively, candidate
primals were proposed, discussed, and confirmed or rejected in expert
retreats and focus groups until there were no additional candidate
primals and no more rejections. This led to an initial list of 38 primals.
Next, infrequently mentioned and conceptually similar beliefs and
those that arguably did not meet the six criteria were excluded, leading
to a list of 25 primals for initial measurement. In their tentative model,
they proposed a comprehensive category of such beliefs, including a
general Good factor, some intermediate factors (~5) and 25 lower-level
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2020.110054
Received 14 February 2020; Received in revised form 10 April 2020; Accepted 11 April 2020
This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Corresponding author at: Professorship for Personality and Assessment, Department of Psychology, University of Zurich, Binzmuehlestrasse 14/7, CH-8050
Zurich, Switzerland.
E-mail address: a.stahlmann@psychologie.uzh.ch (A.G. Stahlmann).
Personality and Individual Differences 163 (2020) 110054
0191-8869/ © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license
(http://creativecommons.org/licenses/BY/4.0/).
T
factors that correspond to their candidate primals.
Clifton et al. (2019) composed a preliminary questionnaire and
explored the 234 items' factor structure in an initial study. They found
26 primals at three levels of granularity: One primary primal (Good),
three secondary primals (Safe, Enticing, and Alive), and 22 of their 25
tertiary primals. Notably, they identified these three levels based on
independently conducted factor analyses and did not strictly evaluate
the model's hierarchical structure. They retained the items that pro-
duced simple structure and reliable scales (α =0.82–0.87) and arrived
at their questionnaire's final version: The Primals Inventory (PI-99). In
five follow-up studies, they replicated the primals factor structure,
showed that the primals are distinctly connected with several in-
dividual-differences variables (e.g., the Big Five, life satisfaction, Dark
Triad, trait affectivity), and that they are stable across 2-weeks,
9 months, and 19 months (r
tt
= 0.80–0.87). The primal world beliefs
were also connected with Lerner's (1980) beliefs in a just world and
Perry et al.' (2013) dangerous and competitive worldviews, but they
comprised several beliefs that were not entailed by previous models
(e.g., Enticing and its associated tertiary primals).
Clifton et al.' (2019) account spawned new interest into the research
on worldviews. Their primals can be assumed to influence many psy-
chological traits and mechanisms, including personality, psychosocial
development, flourishing, political leaning, and cultural differences.
Indeed, Clifton and Kim (2020) outline how primals can be assumed to
affect health processes and outcomes, such as by influencing the car-
diotoxic stress axis and health behaviors. In order to validate such as-
sumptions, international adaptations and validations of the model and
the PI-99 are required, including a German inventory. This inventory
will allow for reevaluating the primals higher-order structure in a dif-
ferent culture and to specifically investigate the model's hierarchical
structure. The analyses will show whether the three secondary primals
and their primary primal will also emerge in a German-speaking
sample, whether additional higher-order primals can be found and how
the primals are hierarchically connected.
1.1. Aims of this study
This paper describes the first adaptation and initial validation of the
German Primals Inventory and the exploration of the primals' hier-
archical structure. Clifton et al.' (2019) effort resulted in the formation
of 22 tertiary primals, most of which collapsed into three secondary
primals and one primary primal. Accordingly, our main objective was
to compose an inventory that can distinguish these 22 tertiary primals
in German-speaking countries. Our second objective was to then ex-
plore the tertiary primals' higher-order structure and to compare our
results to the PI-99. For the first time, we evaluated primals' hier-
archical factor structure. Our third objective was to further validate the
German Primals Inventory by replicating primals' relationships with
key demographics, the Big Five, and life satisfaction.
2. Method
2.1. Participants and procedure
We collected data from N= 592 participants (63.85% female,
34.97% male; M
age
= 38.01 years, SD
age
= 13.24 years,
range = 18–86 years). Most were Germans (54.22%), Swiss (34.63%),
and Austrians (6.59%). More than half had been enrolled in tertiary/
higher education programs (59.29%) and the remainder had received
upper (26.35%) or lower secondary education (12.50%) or did not re-
port education level (2.21%). About three quarters were employed
(73.99%) and about half of the remainder comprised students
(14.02%).
Participants provided informed consent prior to participation and
had to be at least 18 years old and fluent in German. All participants
provided data on primals, and n= 114 and n= 404 participants
provided data on the Big Five and life satisfaction respectively. Further
information on the sampling is in supplementary material D1.
2.2. Measures
The Primals Inventory (PI-99; Clifton et al., 2019) comprises 99 items
to assess 26 primals at three levels of granularity: Ninety-six items
distinguish 22 tertiary primals (4–5 items per scale). Sixty-nine of these
and two additional items yield the three secondary primals Safe (29
items), Enticing (28 items), and Alive (14 items). Finally, another
subset of 71 items, including one additional item, constitute the pri-
mary primal Good. Three sample items at each level of granularity are
“The world needs me and my efforts” (Needs me), “No matter where we
are, incredible beauty is always around us” (Enticing), and “On the
whole, the world is an uncomfortable and unpleasant place” (Good;
reverse-coded). The inventory uses a six-point scale (0 = strongly dis-
agree to 5 = strongly agree). We adapted the PI-99 following the re-
commendations and standardized guidelines for translating self-report
measures and tests put forward by Beaton, Bombardier, Guillemin, and
Ferraz (2000; for details and the adapted items, see supplementary
materials D2 and S1).
The Inventory of Minimal Redundant Scales (MRS-45; Ostendorf,
1990) comprises 45 bipolar adjectives to assess the Big Five traits ex-
traversion (e.g., “impulsive” vs. “restraint”), emotional stability (e.g.,
“robust” vs. “vulnerable”), conscientiousness (e.g., “diligent” vs.
“lazy”), agreeableness (e.g., “affirmative” vs. “oppositional”), and cul-
ture (e.g., “inventive” vs. “conventional”). The inventory uses six-point
semantic differentials (1 = very, 2 = quite, 3 = rather, 4 = rather,
5 = quite, 6 = very) and yielded good internal consistency (α ≥ 0.75).
The Satisfaction with Life Scale (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffin,
1985; German adaptation by the authors) comprises five items to assess
life satisfaction (e.g., “The conditions of my life are excellent”). The
scale uses a seven-point scale (1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly
agree) and yielded good internal consistency (α = 0.84).
2.3. Data analysis
We conducted the analyses within the R statistical computing en-
vironment (R Core team, 2019) using the psych package (Revelle, 2019)
to conduct the factor and correlation analyses. We screened the data for
plausibility, missing values, and outliers (for details, see supplementary
material D3). First, we inspected the PI-99-G's unique inter-item cor-
relations
1
and conducted exploratory factor analysis (EFA) to identify
those items that allow for a clear-cut estimation of the 22 tertiary pri-
mals. For this purpose, we omitted the three additional items that are
associated with the secondary and primary primals only. We also
omitted items that were weakly related with their designated scales and
items that yielded stronger relationships with other scales. Following
Clifton et al.' (2019) specifications, we used minimum residual analysis
and PROMAX rotation (oblique) with EQUAMAX prerotation (k= 3).
The resulting items constituted the final version of the German Primals
Inventory.
Second, we conducted further EFAs and used the Schmid-Leiman
solution (Schmid & Leiman, 1957) to evaluate the tertiary primals'
higher-order structure. This solution allows for independently esti-
mating each second- or higher-order factor's unique influence on the
tertiary primals. We evaluated the parallel analysis, scree test,
minimum average partial criterion, factor interpretability, and the
convergence with Clifton et al.' (2019) results to decide upon the
number of factors to retain in the final solution. Based on our findings,
we derived the German Primals Inventory's scoring key to combine the
items into secondary and primary primals. Third, we investigated the
1
Unique inter-item correlations refer to the bivariate correlations between
each two items controlled for their correlations with every other item.
A.G. Stahlmann, et al. Personality and Individual Differences 163 (2020) 110054
2
primals' correlations with demographics, the Big Five, and life sa-
tisfaction.
3. Results
3.1. Objective 1: composing the German primals inventory
The PI-99-G's unique inter-item correlations and the EFA's pattern
matrix are in Supplementary Tables S2 and S3. Inspecting the unique
inter-item correlations yielded three important findings: As expected,
most tertiary primals' items put forward strong inter-item correlations
within their designated scales (e.g., Interconnected: r≥ 0.74 and
Progressing: r≥ 0.73). However, some tertiary primals' items yielded
comparatively weak inter-item correlations (e.g., Beautiful 2 and Stable
4). Moreover, some items sustained practically equal or higher corre-
lations with other tertiary primals' items than with their designated
scales' items (e.g., Interesting 4 and Pleasurable 5).
The EFA's pattern matrix reflected these findings: Several factors
were distinctly loaded by the items of one tertiary primal (e.g., Factor 3:
Hierarchical and Factor 7: Understandable). However, some tertiary
primals' items only marginally loaded on the same factor as the other
designated items or loaded more strongly on other factors (e.g.,
Beautiful 2 and Interesting 4). Specifically, some factors comprised
items of multiple tertiary primals and hence could not distinguish be-
tween them (e.g., Factor 1 comprised items of Harmless, Pleasurable,
Regenerative, and Beautiful, and Factor 2 comprised items of Needs me,
Intentional, Just, and Meaningful).
3.1.1. The PI-66-G
Based on these findings, we decided to prioritize factor congruence
over item congruence and to identify the items that yielded the stron-
gest inter-item correlations within their designated scales and put for-
ward the weakest inter-item correlations with the other scales' items.
We also decided to only choose three items per tertiary primal to bal-
ance the number of items across scales. We again investigated these
items' unique inter-item correlations and conducted a new EFA. The
resulting 66 items constitute the final version: The PI-66-G. Its items,
the unique inter-item correlations, and the pattern matrix are in
Supplementary Tables S4–S6.
The pattern matrix shows that the PI-66-G's items loaded on 22
clear-cut factors that correspond to the respective tertiary primals:
Nineteen factors were loaded only by items of one tertiary primal. Two
factors (Abundant and Needs me) were loaded by additional items
(Beautiful 3, Beautiful 4, and Just 5), but these items' loadings on their
designated factors exceeded their secondary loadings. Finally, one
factor was loaded by items of both Intentional and Needs me (Factor 1),
but the items of Needs me also loaded on a distinct factor that was not
loaded by any other items. Based on the pattern matrix, we computed
the 22 tertiary primals' scales. Their descriptive statistics and their
correlations with the PI-99-G's scales (corrected for item overlap) are
depicted in Table 1.
Most means were close to the theoretically expected value (2.50)
and yielded only slightly left-skewed distributions. The scales were
reliable (Cronbach's α ≥ 0.68) and were highly correlated with the PI-
99-G's scales (Mdn = 0.80). Notably, the scales only comprised three
items, and hence these statistics can be considered satisfactory. This
implies that the PI-66-G is comparable to the PI-99-G regarding domain
coverage and can hence be assumed to reliably capture Clifton et al.'
(2019) 22 tertiary primals.
3.2. Objective 2: Exploring the tertiary primals' higher-order structure
3.2.1. Second-order factor analysis
Based on the PI-66-G's tertiary primals' scales, parallel analysis
suggested retaining six factors, the scree test suggested two or four
factors, and the minimum average partial criterion suggested four
factors. The pattern matrices of the two-factor and the four-factor so-
lution are in Supplementary Tables S7 and S8.
The first solution that distinguished Safe, Enticing, and Alive com-
prised six factors (see Fig. 1; the pattern matrix is in Supplementary
Table S9). We decided to retain these six factors at the secondary level
because they were supported by the parallel analysis, yielded the most
comprehensive (but parsimonious) image of the tertiary primals' factor
space, and entailed Clifton et al.' (2019) secondary primals. According
to their loadings, we labeled the factors Safe, Alive, Enticing, Fluid,
Empowering, and Communal, respectively.
The PI-66-G's secondary primals were similar to Clifton et al.' (2019)
findings but differed regarding three main qualities: First, we found
three additional secondary primals (Empowering, Communal, and
Fluid). These primals were mainly loaded by tertiary primals that were
previously found unconnected with their secondary primals Safe, En-
ticing, and Alive (i.e., Changing, Acceptable, and Hierarchical). How-
ever, they were also loaded by a few tertiary primals that Clifton et al.
(2019) found connected with Safe (Cooperative, Stable) and Enticing
(Improvable).
Second, Safe, Enticing, and Alive were partially loaded by tertiary
primals that were previously found connected with other secondary
primals: Funny loaded on Safe (instead of Enticing), Just loaded on
Alive (instead of Safe), and Pleasurable loaded on Enticing and Fluid
(instead of Safe). Additionally, Clifton et al.' (2019) unconnected ter-
tiary primal Understandable loaded on Safe and Interconnected loaded
on Communal, Alive, and Fluid. Third, some tertiary primals yielded
loadings on multiple factors: Beautiful (Safe, Enticing), Cooperative
(Communal, Fluid), Interconnected (Communal, Alive, and Fluid)
Meaningful (Enticing, Alive), Pleasurable (Enticing, Fluid), Progressing
(Safe, Communal), and Worth exploring (Fluid, Enticing). The loadings'
magnitude was often comparable (e.g., Interconnected loaded with 0.38
on Alive, −0.47 on Fluid, and 0.30 on Communal) and hence suggests
that tertiary primals can be produced by several higher-order factors.
3.2.2. General factor analysis
Based on the six emerging factors, parallel analysis suggested re-
taining three factors and the scree test as well as the minimum average
partial criterion suggested one factor. The three-factor solution did not
converge well, and a Heywood case was detected, suggesting poor
model fit. We hence extracted one general factor and computed the
Schmid-Leiman solution to estimate the general factor's unique influ-
ence on the tertiary primals (see Fig. 1; for details see Supplementary
Table S9). Consistent with Clifton et al. (2019), we labeled the general
factor Good. It entails every tertiary primal that was previously found
connected with their general factor, and additionally includes Inter-
active, Interconnected, and Intentional.
3.2.3. The PI-66-G's key for the secondary and primary primals
We used the results of the higher-order analysis to combine the PI-
66-G's items into secondary and primary primals (for the item key, see
Supplementary Table S4). In accordance with our findings, some ter-
tiary primals' items can be combined into multiple secondary primals
(with some items keyed reversely). The secondary and primary primals'
Cronbach's α, their inter-scale correlations and their correlations with
the PI-99-G's secondary and primary primals are in Supplementary
Table S10. The higher-order scales were highly reliable (α ≥ 0.78). The
PI-66-G's scales correlated highly with the PI-99-G's scales (r≥ 0.83).
Safe, Enticing, and Alive yielded stronger inter-scale correlations than
correlations with the three additional secondary primals (Communal
yielded the strongest correlations with r0.39). Overall, the PI-66-G
can be assumed to reliably capture Clifton et al.' (2019) primary primal,
their three secondary primals, and three additional secondary primals
in German-speaking countries.
A.G. Stahlmann, et al. Personality and Individual Differences 163 (2020) 110054
3
3.3. Objective 3: Evaluating the primals' relationships with key
demographics, the Big Five, and life satisfaction
The PI-66-G's correlations with key demographics, the Big Five, and
life satisfaction are depicted in Fig. 2. As expected, the correlations
between secondary primals and their associated tertiary primals were
largely comparable across all validation measures. Therefore, we focus
on the results for the primary and secondary primals. Age yielded the
smallest correlations: In contrast to Clifton et al.' (2019) results,
2
it was
unrelated to the primary and secondary primals (except for Empow-
ering). Similar to the previous findings, female participants more often
endorsed the secondary primal Alive, but additionally Good, Enticing,
and Communal, and less often Fluid. Having received tertiary/higher
education correlated positively with Good and Enticing, and ad-
ditionally with Communal, negatively with Fluid, and was uncorrelated
with Alive.
Consistent with the previous findings, the Big Five traits showed
large associations with Good, Safe, Enticing, and Alive.
Conscientiousness and culture constituted two exceptions: They were
unrelated to Good and Alive and to Enticing and Alive, respectively.
Additionally, extraversion, agreeableness, and culture were related to
Communal and emotional stability was related to Empowering. Finally,
life satisfaction was positively correlated with Good, Safe, Enticing,
Alive, Empowering, and Communal, and negatively correlated with
Fluid.
4. Discussion
This paper describes the adaptation and initial validation of the
German Primals Inventory (PI-66-G), which demonstrated good psy-
chometric properties and can be recommended to measure primals in
German-speaking countries. A ready-to-use version of the PI-66-G's
items and scoring key and a paper-pencil version are in supplementary
materials Q1 and Q2.
Many of the initial PI-99-G's items collapsed into the tertiary primals
described by Clifton et al. (2019). However, some items yielded weak
relationships with their designated scales and produced confounded
factors. Based on the standardized adaptation process, we believe that
we adequately translated all items and that these issues pertain to
systemic differences in the connection of certain items' contents with
their tertiary primals. Although these differences point at cultural di-
versity in the processing of items that are targeted at primals, we stress
that they do not speak against the validity of Clifton et al.' (2019)
catalog: Our adaptation study could only show whether we can or
cannot measure their 22 tertiary primals in German-speaking countries,
which we have demonstrated by composing the PI-66-G. Whether or
not their catalog is complete is a question that would require other
research designs and is outside the scope of this study. We hence
decided to omit the divergent items and additionally chose to only re-
tain three items per tertiary primal to rule out artifactual effects of the
number of items on the higher-order structure. The PI-66-G's scales
yielded strong convergent relationships with the PI-99-G's scales. This
shows that shortening the inventory did not truncate the construct
validity and that the PI-66-G can reliably assess Clifton et al.' (2019) 22
tertiary primals in German-speaking countries. Thus, upcoming studies
should use the PI-66-G rather than the PI-99-G to measure primals in
German-speaking countries.
We conducted higher-order factor analyses to extract six secondary
primals and one primary primal. Three of the second-order factors cor-
responded to Clifton et al.' (2019) secondary primals Safe, Enticing, and
Alive, and were labeled accordingly. The three additional second-order
factors mainly comprised tertiary primals that were previously found
unconnected with Safe, Enticing, and Alive (i.e., Acceptable, Hier-
archical, and Changing), but also a few tertiary primals that they found
connected with Safe and Enticing. Based on the loading patterns, we
labeled the additional secondary primals Empowering, Communal, and
Fluid. These newly identified primals are described in more detail in the
next section. Similar to Clifton et al. (2019), the general factor was la-
beled Good and was loaded by all tertiary primals except for Acceptable,
Hierarchical, and Changing. Although we found some differences, the
loading patterns of Safe, Enticing, Alive, and Good were largely com-
parable to the previous findings. Finally, the primals' relationships with
the Big Five and life satisfaction were replicated, and the relationships
with age, gender and education were largely replicated.
Table 1
Descriptives of the PI-66-G's tertiary primals and correlations with the PI-99-G.
Tertiary primal M SD Sk K α CITC
1
CITC
2
CITC
3
PI-99-G
Abundant 3.90 0.67 −0.93 1.95 0.68 0.55 0.64 0.60 0.71
Acceptable 1.50 0.91 0.78 0.86 0.83 0.77 0.74 0.77 0.81
Beautiful 3.50 0.84 −0.45 −0.15 0.74 0.67 0.61 0.69 0.69
Changing 3.50 0.82 −0.42 0.09 0.82 0.72 0.77 0.73 0.81
Cooperative 3.00 1.12 −0.31 −0.44 0.84 0.74 0.78 0.78 0.79
Funny 3.20 0.90 −0.39 0.08 0.74 0.60 0.78 0.63 0.73
Harmless 2.60 1.03 −0.28 −0.58 0.83 0.83 0.86 0.60 0.82
Hierarchical 1.60 1.01 0.51 −0.30 0.78 0.68 0.71 0.70 0.80
Improvable 3.10 0.89 −0.54 0.65 0.80 0.69 0.75 0.71 0.75
Intentional 2.50 1.27 −0.24 −0.73 0.84 0.81 0.79 0.71 0.82
Interactive 2.00 1.13 0.28 −0.47 0.86 0.75 0.80 0.82 0.82
Interconnected 3.20 1.23 −0.49 −0.39 0.90 0.87 0.89 0.79 0.89
Interesting 3.80 0.88 −0.79 0.53 0.83 0.75 0.71 0.80 0.79
Just 2.70 1.01 −0.28 −0.25 0.68 0.56 0.65 0.58 0.65
Meaningful 3.50 0.91 −0.77 0.79 0.71 0.57 0.63 0.69 0.74
Needs me 2.40 1.23 −0.06 −0.82 0.86 0.79 0.86 0.73 0.86
Pleasurable 3.40 0.99 −0.68 0.09 0.83 0.80 0.76 0.71 0.80
Progressing 2.60 1.04 −0.07 −0.63 0.83 0.77 0.81 0.70 0.85
Regenerative 3.00 0.84 −0.34 0.02 0.75 0.72 0.71 0.57 0.77
Stable 2.10 0.91 0.11 −0.44 0.76 0.64 0.78 0.63 0.74
Understandable 2.50 1.01 −0.03 −0.33 0.80 0.78 0.77 0.62 0.82
Worth exploring 3.90 0.77 −0.91 1.22 0.81 0.70 0.76 0.74 0.80
Mdn 3.00 0.95 −0.33 −0.20 0.81 0.73 0.76 0.70 0.80
Note: N = 592. CITC
1–3
= corrected item-test correlations of the three respective items; PI-99-G = correlations with the corresponding PI-99-G's tertiary primals
(corrected for item overlap).
2
We compared our results to Clifton et al.' (2019) supplementary tables SM-
4.1-2 and SM-4.1-3. Regarding education, we assumed that having received
tertiary/higher education is comparable to “Ed.: Finished Masters”.
A.G. Stahlmann, et al. Personality and Individual Differences 163 (2020) 110054
4
4.1. Continuing the brief tour of implicit worlds
Upon deriving Safe, Enticing, and Alive, Clifton et al. (2019) pro-
vided brief descriptions of these perspectives that were based on the
constituting items and tertiary primals. What follows are similar at-
tempts for Empowering, Communal, and Fluid.
Those low on Empowering see a troubled world that should never-
theless be accepted as is because all efforts to improve it inevitably fail.
Because action is fruitless, inaction is not laziness, but wisdom. Those
high on Empowering see a highly moldable world that invites attempts
to make it even better (similar to Bandura's efficacy expectations; see
Bandura, 1977). Their own attempts to improve the world can seem
measured to themselves, but heroic to those scoring less high on Em-
powering and naïve–even egotistical–to those scoring low.
Those low on Communal perceive an unavoidably hierarchical world
where life thrives via a brutal contest in which the best usually end up
on top. But the resulting natural hierarchy is threatened by decline,
warranting protection and caution when considering further attempts
to alter it. Those high on Communal see cooperation, interconnection,
and equality as the universe's governing principals. In this view, hier-
archy is imposed, unnatural, and unfair. Yet things are improving,
which warrants optimism about what further change might bring.
Those low on Fluid see underlying solidity in the world around
them, as if things and situations are stones retaining their shape and
separateness even when intermixed. Those high on Fluid see all things
as fundamentally evanescent, transitory, and up in the air (or, as the
ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus suggested, “fuel in a continuous
fire”). This delicate and ephemeral world is constantly in flux, si-
multaneously unpleasant yet wondrous.
4.2. Implications of the higher-order analysis
Based on our results, we assume that Clifton et al.' (2019) three-
level model comprising Safe, Enticing, and Alive as secondary primals
and Good as primary primal exhaustively describes most tertiary pri-
mals' higher-order structure. Although we found some differences be-
tween the American English and the German-speaking samples, our
results suggest that there could be a kernel to every higher-order primal
that is universal across culture and language. Candidates for these
kernels are the tertiary primals that were found connected with Safe,
Enticing, Alive, and Good in both samples: Safe can be assumed to be
primarily reflected by Harmless, Progressing, and Regenerative;
Abundant .49
Acceptable .53
Beautiful .44
Changing .65
Cooperative .40
Funny .61
Harmless .23
Hierarchical .68
Improvable .44
Intentional .70
Interactive .75
Interconnected .54
Interesting .51
Just .48
Meaningful .58
Needs me .65
Pleasurable .64
Progressing .43
Regenerative .56
Stable .46
Understandable .25
Worth exploring .49
Safe
.79 on Good
Enticing
.76 on Good
Alive
.55 on Good
Fluid
Empowering
.46 on Good
Communal
.31 on Good
Good
Secondary primals Ter ary primals h
2
Primary primalSecond-order loadings General factor loadings
.51
.59
.39
.30
.28
.39
.35
.22
.48
.34
.39
.34
.22
.20
-.32
.29
.62
-.51
.47
-.29
.42
.30
.45
-.61
.38
.76
.66
.57
.42
.68
-.58
.39
.34
.37
.42
.69
.45
.60
.51
.62
.48
.29
.33
.47
.40
.46
.31
.51
.45
Fig. 1. Higher-order structure of the PI-66-G's tertiary primals (exploratory factor analysis using the Schmid-Leiman solution).
A.G. Stahlmann, et al. Personality and Individual Differences 163 (2020) 110054
5
Enticing by Interesting, Abundant, Meaningful, Beautiful, and Worth
exploring; and Alive by Intentional, Needs me, and Interactive.
Future studies will show whether these kernels will also emerge in
other adaptations and cross-cultural validation studies, or whether we
will find further differences in the higher-order structure that are cul-
ture-specific. Notably, both Clifton et al.' (2019) and our samples were
predominantly drawn from WEIRD-centric populations (see Henrich,
Heine, & Norenzayan, 2010), which could explain the substantial factor
congruence and especially warrant further studies in non-WEIRD sam-
ples. However, cultural differences would not necessarily speak against
the validity of Clifton et al.' (2019) model, but rather extend its scope to
also include cultural variations that could inform cross-cultural differ-
ences in behavior, emotion, and cognition. We hence hope that primals
research will be picked up worldwide and contribute to distinguishing
such cultural universals and particulars.
However, a comprehensive theory must not ignore the finding that
some tertiary primals, namely Acceptable, Hierarchical, and Changing,
have now been repeatedly shown to constitute branches that are largely
independent of the remaining primals. This finding informs at least
three hypotheses: First, it could be assumed that this is indeed the
higher-order structure of primal world beliefs and that not all tertiary
primals need to load on a primary primal. Primals are by definition
“maximally general” (see Clifton et al., 2019) and thus cannot auto-
matically be expected to collapse into higher-order factors. Still, this
raises the question whether Acceptable, Hierarchical, and Changing
should be assumed to be more akin to secondary primals, because they
seem to naturally constitute more abstract concepts than, for example,
Pleasurable and Harmless.
Second, it could be assumed that the missing connection is a no-
mothetic artifact and that individuals indeed think of these tertiary
primals as either Good or not Good. If so, we would be able to distin-
guish multiple subpopulations that differ regarding the connection of
their implicit beliefs: For example, political leaning could be assumed to
distinguish between individuals who believe that a Hierarchical world
is Good (conservative/right-wing) or not (progressive/left-wing). This
hypothesis would connect the previously independent tertiary primals
with the higher-order factors but would also necessitate a more dif-
ferentiated model.
Third, it could be assumed that the model is incomplete and that we
miss further primals. In this study, the three additional secondary pri-
mals Empowering, Communal, and Fluid did not collapse into another
primary primal, but there is indeed a certain degree of communality
between them: They are all concerned with stability and change,
stagnation and motion, and convention and progress, or what Clifton
et al. (2019) referred to as Flux. If they get paired with further cognate
primals, they might collapse into a second strong primary primal which
would presumably be orthogonal to Good. This hypothesis would ne-
cessitate a theoretical revision of the model and the discovery of ad-
ditional tertiary primals. These three hypotheses emphasize the need
for further research into the very foundation of the model. We believe
that such research is critical to better understand primals' higher-order
structure and that it should be one of the prime concerns of future
studies.
4.3. Limitations
Our results suggest that the PI-66-G is capable of reliably measuring
the tertiary, secondary, and primary primals. The inventory now com-
prises 66 items, but it could be further shortened for studies that require
more brevity by only administering the two items per scale that yielded
the highest CITCs. In turn, the inventory could be extended for case
studies and individual comparisons by adapting some of the additional
items that were not included in the final PI-99 or to devise new German
items. Due to convenience sampling, this study's results have limited
generalizability: We suggest reevaluating the PI-66-G in a more re-
presentative sample and using the final item set. As self-selection to the
study may have resulted in participants having comparatively high
educational backgrounds, we recommend replication in more diversi-
fied, non-WEIRD samples. Although the sample sizes were sufficient for
estimating correlations with key demographics (N= 592) and life sa-
tisfaction (n= 404), the sample sizes of the Big Five (n= 114) were
relatively small and the effects should be considered tentative.
Next steps could be evaluating the primals' stability, social desir-
ability, convergent and discriminant validity, and nomological network
with other individual-differences variables (see Clifton et al., 2019).
The PI-66-G's content validity could also be evaluated using German
text corpora (e.g., newspaper articles, novels, historic literature) or
.03
.03
.04
.06
−.05
−.10
.01
.00
.13
.08
.00
.11
−.05
−.11
.03
.05
−.09
.03
.07
.02
.00
.10
.07
.04
.06
−.03
−.06
.15
−.12
.10
−.08
.11
.22
−.09
.00
.20
.10
.02
.01
.05
.12
.10
.00
−.20
−.22
.02
.22
.24
.15
.06
.20
.13
.01
−.08
.04
.00
−.09
.02
.10
.10
.09
.01
.11
−.03
.13
−.03
.05
.05
.04
−.05
.13
.02
.11
−.07
−.01
−.02
.00
.09
.05
.00
.05
.11
.14
.09
.14
.02
.09
.45
.44
.47
.29
.04
.18
.22
.04
.27
−.10
.48
−.01
.16
.31
.23
.04
.20
.22
.14
.24
.32
.40
.28
.29
.26
.42
.15
.14
.40
.39
.41
.37
.19
.14
.23
.18
.08
.21
−.12
.27
−.08
.17
.29
.27
.11
.26
.08
.06
.22
.24
.24
.20
.37
.31
.29
.19
.26
.33
.16
.20
.21
.11
−.06
.13
−.04
−.02
.12
−.13
.13
−.04
−.13
.06
.19
.10
.10
.05
.03
.17
.18
.22
.10
.12
.10
.15
−.03
.16
.18
.31
.26
.38
.26
−.06
−.05
.27
−.09
.24
.07
.29
.10
.14
.15
.05
−.07
−.03
.22
.28
.30
.21
.35
.23
.25
.15
.32
.01
.11
.22
.21
.24
.17
.11
−.07
.14
.27
.10
.18
−.07
.11
.05
.11
.25
−.03
−.17
.16
.04
.10
.08
.01
.04
.17
.08
.26
.22
−.02
.16
.30
.41
.39
.40
.20
.27
.11
.26
.05
.27
.00
.29
−.11
.27
.17
.31
.02
.18
.13
.11
.28
.24
.24
.18
.46
.29
.33
.26
.22
.13
[−.05, .11]
[−.05, .11]
[−.04, .12]
[−.02, .14]
[−.13, .03]
[−.18,−.02]
[−.07, .10]
[−.08, .08]
[ .05, .21]
[ .00, .16]
[−.08, .08]
[ .03, .19]
[−.13, .03]
[−.19,−.03]
[−.05, .11]
[−.03, .13]
[−.17,−.01]
[−.05, .11]
[−.01, .15]
[−.06, .10]
[−.08, .08]
[ .02, .18]
[−.02, .15]
[−.04, .12]
[−.02, .14]
[−.11, .05]
[−.14, .02]
[ .07, .23]
[−.20,−.04]
[ .02, .19]
[−.16, .00]
[ .03, .19]
[ .14, .30]
[−.17,−.01]
[−.08, .08]
[ .12, .28]
[ .02, .18]
[−.07, .10]
[−.07, .09]
[−.03, .13]
[ .04, .20]
[ .02, .18]
[−.09, .08]
[−.28,−.12]
[−.30,−.14]
[−.06, .10]
[ .14, .30]
[ .16, .32]
[ .07, .23]
[−.02, .15]
[ .12, .28]
[ .05, .21]
[−.07, .09]
[−.16, .00]
[−.04, .12]
[−.08, .09]
[−.17,−.01]
[−.06, .11]
[ .02, .18]
[ .02, .18]
[ .01, .17]
[−.07, .09]
[ .03, .19]
[−.11, .05]
[ .05, .21]
[−.11, .05]
[−.03, .13]
[−.03, .13]
[−.04, .12]
[−.13, .03]
[ .05, .21]
[−.06, .10]
[ .03, .19]
[−.15, .01]
[−.09, .07]
[−.10, .06]
[−.08, .08]
[ .01, .17]
[−.03, .13]
[−.08, .08]
[−.03, .13]
[ .03, .19]
[ .06, .22]
[ .01, .17]
[ .06, .22]
[−.06, .10]
[ .01, .17]
[ .28, .61]
[ .28, .61]
[ .31, .64]
[ .11, .47]
[−.15, .22]
[ .00, .36]
[ .04, .40]
[−.15, .22]
[ .09, .45]
[−.28, .09]
[ .31, .64]
[−.20, .17]
[−.03, .34]
[ .14, .49]
[ .04, .41]
[−.15, .22]
[ .02, .38]
[ .04, .40]
[−.04, .32]
[ .06, .42]
[ .14, .49]
[ .23, .57]
[ .10, .46]
[ .12, .47]
[ .08, .44]
[ .26, .59]
[−.04, .33]
[−.05, .32]
[ .23, .57]
[ .22, .56]
[ .25, .58]
[ .20, .55]
[ .01, .37]
[−.04, .32]
[ .05, .41]
[ .00, .36]
[−.10, .27]
[ .03, .39]
[−.30, .06]
[ .09, .44]
[−.27, .10]
[−.01, .36]
[ .11, .46]
[ .09, .45]
[−.07, .30]
[ .08, .44]
[−.10, .27]
[−.12, .25]
[ .04, .40]
[ .06, .42]
[ .06, .42]
[ .02, .39]
[ .20, .54]
[ .13, .48]
[ .12, .47]
[ .00, .37]
[ .08, .44]
[ .16, .51]
[−.02, .35]
[ .01, .38]
[ .03, .39]
[−.07, .30]
[−.25, .12]
[−.05, .32]
[−.22, .15]
[−.21, .16]
[−.06, .30]
[−.31, .06]
[−.05, .32]
[−.23, .14]
[−.32, .05]
[−.13, .24]
[ .01, .37]
[−.09, .28]
[−.08, .29]
[−.14, .23]
[−.16, .22]
[−.02, .35]
[ .00, .36]
[ .04, .40]
[−.08, .29]
[−.07, .30]
[−.08, .29]
[−.03, .34]
[−.22, .15]
[−.02, .34]
[ .00, .36]
[ .14, .49]
[ .08, .43]
[ .20, .55]
[ .08, .44]
[−.25, .12]
[−.24, .13]
[ .10, .45]
[−.27, .10]
[ .06, .42]
[−.12, .25]
[ .11, .46]
[−.09, .28]
[−.05, .32]
[−.03, .34]
[−.14, .23]
[−.25, .12]
[−.21, .16]
[ .04, .40]
[ .10, .46]
[ .12, .48]
[ .03, .39]
[ .18, .52]
[ .05, .41]
[ .07, .43]
[−.03, .33]
[ .15, .50]
[−.18, .19]
[−.07, .30]
[ .04, .40]
[ .03, .39]
[ .06, .42]
[−.01, .35]
[−.08, .29]
[−.25, .12]
[−.05, .32]
[ .09, .45]
[−.09, .28]
[ .00, .36]
[−.25, .12]
[−.07, .30]
[−.13, .24]
[−.07, .30]
[ .07, .43]
[−.21, .16]
[−.36, .01]
[−.02, .34]
[−.15, .22]
[−.08, .29]
[−.10, .27]
[−.17, .20]
[−.15, .22]
[−.01, .35]
[−.10, .27]
[ .08, .44]
[ .04, .40]
[−.21, .16]
[−.02, .35]
[ .12, .47]
[ .32, .50]
[ .30, .48]
[ .31, .49]
[ .11, .30]
[ .17, .36]
[ .01, .21]
[ .16, .35]
[−.05, .14]
[ .17, .36]
[−.10, .09]
[ .19, .38]
[−.21,−.01]
[ .17, .36]
[ .07, .27]
[ .21, .40]
[−.08, .11]
[ .08, .28]
[ .03, .22]
[ .01, .20]
[ .18, .37]
[ .14, .33]
[ .14, .33]
[ .09, .28]
[ .38, .55]
[ .20, .38]
[ .23, .42]
[ .16, .35]
[ .12, .31]
[ .04, .23]
.03
.03
.04
.06
−.05
−.10
.01
.00
.13
.08
.00
.11
−.05
−.11
.03
.05
−.09
.03
.07
.02
.00
.10
.07
.04
.06
−.03
−.06
.15
−.12
.10
−.08
.11
.22
−.09
.00
.20
.10
.02
.01
.05
.12
.10
.00
−.20
−.22
.02
.22
.24
.15
.06
.20
.13
.01
−.08
.04
.00
−.09
.02
.10
.10
.09
.01
.11
−.03
.13
−.03
.05
.05
.04
−.05
.13
.02
.11
−.07
−.01
−.02
.00
.09
.05
.00
.05
.11
.14
.09
.14
.02
.09
.45
.44
.47
.29
.04
.18
.22
.04
.27
−.10
.48
−.01
.16
.31
.23
.04
.20
.22
.14
.24
.32
.40
.28
.29
.26
.42
.15
.14
.40
.39
.41
.37
.19
.14
.23
.18
.08
.21
−.12
.27
−.08
.17
.29
.27
.11
.26
.08
.06
.22
.24
.24
.20
.37
.31
.29
.19
.26
.33
.16
.20
.21
.11
−.06
.13
−.04
−.02
.12
−.13
.13
−.04
−.13
.06
.19
.10
.10
.05
.03
.17
.18
.22
.10
.12
.10
.15
−.03
.16
.18
.31
.26
.38
.26
−.06
−.05
.27
−.09
.24
.07
.29
.10
.14
.15
.05
−.07
−.03
.22
.28
.30
.21
.35
.23
.25
.15
.32
.01
.11
.22
.21
.24
.17
.11
−.07
.14
.27
.10
.18
−.07
.11
.05
.11
.25
−.03
−.17
.16
.04
.10
.08
.01
.04
.17
.08
.26
.22
−.02
.16
.30
.41
.39
.40
.20
.27
.11
.26
.05
.27
.00
.29
−.11
.27
.17
.31
.02
.18
.13
.11
.28
.24
.24
.18
.46
.29
.33
.26
.22
.13
[−.05, .11]
[−.05, .11]
[−.04, .12]
[−.02, .14]
[−.13, .03]
[−.18,−.02]
[−.07, .10]
[−.08, .08]
[ .05, .21]
[ .00, .16]
[−.08, .08]
[ .03, .19]
[−.13, .03]
[−.19,−.03]
[−.05, .11]
[−.03, .13]
[−.17,−.01]
[−.05, .11]
[−.01, .15]
[−.06, .10]
[−.08, .08]
[ .02, .18]
[−.02, .15]
[−.04, .12]
[−.02, .14]
[−.11, .05]
[−.14, .02]
[ .07, .23]
[−.20,−.04]
[ .02, .19]
[−.16, .00]
[ .03, .19]
[ .14, .30]
[−.17,−.01]
[−.08, .08]
[ .12, .28]
[ .02, .18]
[−.07, .10]
[−.07, .09]
[−.03, .13]
[ .04, .20]
[ .02, .18]
[−.09, .08]
[−.28,−.12]
[−.30,−.14]
[−.06, .10]
[ .14, .30]
[ .16, .32]
[ .07, .23]
[−.02, .15]
[ .12, .28]
[ .05, .21]
[−.07, .09]
[−.16, .00]
[−.04, .12]
[−.08, .09]
[−.17,−.01]
[−.06, .11]
[ .02, .18]
[ .02, .18]
[ .01, .17]
[−.07, .09]
[ .03, .19]
[−.11, .05]
[ .05, .21]
[−.11, .05]
[−.03, .13]
[−.03, .13]
[−.04, .12]
[−.13, .03]
[ .05, .21]
[−.06, .10]
[ .03, .19]
[−.15, .01]
[−.09, .07]
[−.10, .06]
[−.08, .08]
[ .01, .17]
[−.03, .13]
[−.08, .08]
[−.03, .13]
[ .03, .19]
[ .06, .22]
[ .01, .17]
[ .06, .22]
[−.06, .10]
[ .01, .17]
[ .28, .61]
[ .28, .61]
[ .31, .64]
[ .11, .47]
[−.15, .22]
[ .00, .36]
[ .04, .40]
[−.15, .22]
[ .09, .45]
[−.28, .09]
[ .31, .64]
[−.20, .17]
[−.03, .34]
[ .14, .49]
[ .04, .41]
[−.15, .22]
[ .02, .38]
[ .04, .40]
[−.04, .32]
[ .06, .42]
[ .14, .49]
[ .23, .57]
[ .10, .46]
[ .12, .47]
[ .08, .44]
[ .26, .59]
[−.04, .33]
[−.05, .32]
[ .23, .57]
[ .22, .56]
[ .25, .58]
[ .20, .55]
[ .01, .37]
[−.04, .32]
[ .05, .41]
[ .00, .36]
[−.10, .27]
[ .03, .39]
[−.30, .06]
[ .09, .44]
[−.27, .10]
[−.01, .36]
[ .11, .46]
[ .09, .45]
[−.07, .30]
[ .08, .44]
[−.10, .27]
[−.12, .25]
[ .04, .40]
[ .06, .42]
[ .06, .42]
[ .02, .39]
[ .20, .54]
[ .13, .48]
[ .12, .47]
[ .00, .37]
[ .08, .44]
[ .16, .51]
[−.02, .35]
[ .01, .38]
[ .03, .39]
[−.07, .30]
[−.25, .12]
[−.05, .32]
[−.22, .15]
[−.21, .16]
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Gen Edu ES CO AG CU LS
Age
1
.8
.6
.4
.2
0
-.2
-.4
-.6
-.8
Good
Safe
Enticing
Alive
Empowering
Communal
Fluid
Abundant
Acceptable
Beautiful
Changing
Cooperative
Funny
Harmless
Hierarchical
Improvable
Intentional
Interactive
Interconnected
Interesting
Just
Meaningful
Needs me
Pleasurable
Progressing
Regenerative
Stable
Understandable
Worth exploring
EX
−.05
−.02
−.03
Fig. 2. Correlations of the PI-66-G's primals with demographics, the Big Five,
and life satisfaction.
Note: n
Age
= 591; n
Female
= 585; n
Tertiary
= 592; n
EX/ES/CO/AG/CU
= 114;
n
LS
= 404; 95%-CIs are in brackets. Gen = correlation with female (1) and male
(0); Edu = correlation with having (1) and not having (0) received tertiary/
higher education; EX = extraversion; ES = emotional stability;
CO = conscientiousness; AG = agreeableness; CU = culture; LS = life satisfac-
tion.
A.G. Stahlmann, et al. Personality and Individual Differences 163 (2020) 110054
6
Twitter data. This would allow for testing whether the German primals'
landscape maps onto the U.S. American, or whether there are important
German-specific primals that have so far not been captured by the PI-
66-G. Eventually, such and other analogies and differences with the PI-
99 and further language versions of the Primals Inventory can be ex-
plored in cross-cultural studies.
4.4. Conclusion
Animating primals research is the idea that seeing the world from
the perspective of others–and being able measure those differences–is
useful. Until now this has been possible only in English. We present the
PI-66-G, an internally consistent and initially validated inventory to
assess primal world beliefs in German-speaking countries. The PI-66-G
allows for measuring Clifton et al.' (2019) 22 tertiary primals, three
secondary primals, and one primary primal, and three additional sec-
ondary primals (Empowering, Communal, Fluid). Our study can be
considered an example of how to investigate primals in other languages
and cultures, and we hope that our insights stimulate further research
that advances our understanding of whether and how cultural varia-
tions can influence primals.
CRediT authorship contribution statement
Alexander G. Stahlmann:Conceptualization, Methodology,
Formal analysis, Investigation, Data curation, Writing - original
draft, Writing - review & editing, Visualization, Project
administration.Jennifer Hofmann:Conceptualization, Methodology,
Resources, Writing - original draft, Writing - review & editing, Project
administration.Willibald Ruch:Conceptualization, Methodology,
Writing - review & editing, Supervision.Sonja
Heintz:Conceptualization, Methodology, Writing - review &
editing.Jeremy D.W. Clifton:Resources, Writing - review & editing,
Supervision.
Declaration of competing interest
None.
Appendix A. Supplementary data
Supplementary data to this article can be found online at https://
doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2020.110054.
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A.G. Stahlmann, et al. Personality and Individual Differences 163 (2020) 110054
7
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If behavior is influenced by the perceived character of situations, many disciplines that study behavior may eventually need to take into account individual differences in the perceived character of the world. In the first effort to empirically map these perceptions, subjects varied on 26 dimensions, called primal world beliefs or primals, such as the belief that the world is abundant. This dissertation leverages the first comprehensive measure of primals to further discussions in political, developmental, clinical, and positive psychology. Chapter I challenges the consensus that political conservativism is distinguished by the belief that the world is dangerous. Results suggest previous research relied on a measure highlighting dangers conservatives fear and neglecting dangers liberals fear, when both perceive the world as almost equally dangerous (8 samples; total N=3,734). A novel account of political ideology is proposed based on more predictive primals. Chapter II discusses how primals might develop. The author distinguishes retrospective theories—where primals reflect the content of past experiences—from interpretive theories—where primals act as lenses for interpreting experiences while remaining uninfluenced by them—and suggests twelve ways each theory’s relative merit can be empirically tested. A novel comprehensive framework for considering experiences in relation to any new construct is also proposed. Chapter III explores primals’ wellbeing-related correlates. By showing that many parents aim to teach negative primals to their children, some prevalence for meta-beliefs (i.e., beliefs about beliefs) associating negative primals with positive outcomes is established. Study 2 tests these meta-beliefs in six samples (total N=4,535) in regards to eight outcomes: job success, job satisfaction, emotion, depression, suicide, physical health, life satisfaction, and flourishing. Results indicate that negative primals are almost always associated with modestly to dramatically worse outcomes, across and within professions. In addition to filling a literature gap, and establishing bases for future comparison studies, findings could be used to strengthen interventions by undermining counterproductive meta-beliefs. Findings also underscore the urgent need for further research on the impact of primal world beliefs—teaching children or anyone that the world is a bad place in order to protect or prepare them may be ill-advised.
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Article
Using recent research, I argue that beliefs lie at the heart of personality and adaptive functioning and that they give us unique insight into how personality and functioning can be changed. I focus on two classes of beliefs - beliefs about the malleability of self-attributes and expectations of social acceptance versus rejection - and show how modest interventions have brought about important real-world changes. I conclude by suggesting that beliefs are central to the way in which people package their experiences and carry them forward, and that beliefs should play a more central role in the study of personality.