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THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL & APPLICATIONS AND EVALUATION OF TRAIT APPROACHES TO PERSONALITY

Trait Approaches to Personality

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  • THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL & APPLICATIONS AND EVALUATION OF TRAIT APPROACHES TO PERSONALITY

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  • THE FIVE-FACTOR MODELTaxonomies guide research and facilitate the communication of research findingsPersonality psychology can benefit from an agreed-upon taxonomy of traitsMany psychologists believe that individual differences can be organized in terms of five dimensions the five-factor model or BIG 5Like the models of Cattell and Eysenck, the factor-analytic approach to traits underlies the five-factor modelThe five-factor model is supported by evidence showing that five factors are necessary and sufficient for a taxonomy of individual differences

  • THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: EVIDENCE

    Evidence for the five-factor model rests on factor analyses of 3 types of dataTrait terms found in languageCross-cultural researchThe correlation of trait questionnaires with other questionnaires and ratings

  • THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: EVIDENCE

    ANALYSIS OF TRAIT TERMS IN LANGUAGEResearch procedure (lexical approach)Individuals rate themselves or others on many different trait-terms sampled from the dictionaryRatings are then factor-analyzed to discover how many factors are needed to account for the resulting patterns of correlations

  • THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: EVIDENCE

    ANALYSIS OF TRAIT TERMS IN LANGUAGENorman (1963) showed thatFive-factors were repeatedly found using different measures and samplesFive factors possess reliability and validity (e.g., are relatively stable throughout adulthood and reflected in various indices of functioning)OCEAN of traits

    Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism

  • THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: EVIDENCE

    IS THE BIG FIVE UNIVERSAL?Hofstede et al. (1997) identified 126 trait words that they could translate fairly directly across English, Dutch, and GermanCompared the meanings of the five factors across three languagesFound agreement except on all but OpennessGerman and English were very similar; the Dutch factor of Openness included expected subtraits related to fantasy and ideas, but also emphasized subtraits related to rebelliousness

  • THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: EVIDENCE

    IS THE BIG FIVE UNIVERSAL?Translation may impose structural problemsDi Blasi & Forzi (1999) explored the structure of traits by selecting trait words from the Italian languageAsked participants to rate themselves on these words and used factor analysis to determine whether the BIG 5 would replicate in ItalianFound a three-factor solution fit the data better: extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousnessNeuroticism and openness were not identified as traits in Italian

  • THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: EVIDENCE

    IS THE BIG FIVE UNIVERSAL?Unique personality traits may exist in certain cultures (e.g., Chinese tradition factor)In some cultures, people do not think of others using trait wordsWork in cultural psychology suggests that in Asian cultures people are more attuned to an individuals social embeddedness (e.g., relationship position, community status) than to a persons traits

  • Multiple data sets from diverse nations suggest the presence of a sixth factor - honesty or honesty/humilityFindings across seven languages show consistent individual differences in the tendency to be truthful and sincere versus cunning and disloyalThe six-factor model has not been incorporated into theory or applied research

    THE SIX-FACTOR MODEL: MAYBE WE MISSED ONE

  • THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: MEASURES

    The NEO Personality Inventory - Revised (NEO PI-R)Measures five broad domains (factors) and 30 narrower facets (6 subtraits comprise each of the BIG 5 domains)Each facet is measured by 8 items Scales have good reliability and validity across different data sources (e.g., ratings by peers or spouses)NEO-PI-R correlated with other BIG 5 measures

  • THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: MEASURES

    INTEGRATION OF THE BIG 5 WITH CATETELL AND EYSENCKScores on the NEO-PI-R correlate with Cattells 16 PF and Eysencks EPICattells Stability-Emotionality and Eysencks N are virtually identical to the BIG 5 domain of NeuroticismCattells Reserved-Outgoing and Eysencks I-E are virtually identical to the BIG 5 domain of ExtraversionCattells Tough-minded Tender-minded is similar to the BIG 5 domain of AgreeablenessEysencks P corresponds to a combination of low Agreeableness and low ConscientiousnessCorrelations permit the synthesis of earlier models within the BIG 5 a single, unified theory!

  • THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: BIOLOGICAL BASIS

    The BIG 5 are more than descriptions of individual differencesEach factor is a universal psychological structure that everyone has in varying amounts and which influences psychological development

    BIG 5 factors have a biological basisDifferences on BIG 5 factors are determined by genetic influences on neural structures and brain chemistryBIG 5 factors are not influenced by the environment; extreme nature position (intrinsic maturation)

  • THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENTCHANGE ACROSS THE LIFESPANResearch strategy - study people over a long period and administer the same personality measures at different pointsStability over time (i.e., high correlations between scores on personality measures administered at different times)In spite of stability, change is found

  • THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

    Younger AdultsTRAITOlder AdultsHigher Openness Lower Lower Conscientiousness Higher Higher Extraversion Lower Lower Agreeableness Higher Higher Neuroticism Lower

  • CHANGE ACROSS THE LIFESPANMcCrae & Costa studied age differences in Conscientiousness across five culturesFound an increase with age in each culture, although cultures varied in political, economic, and religious conditionsChanges in domain level reflect intrinsic maturation, just like other biological systems

    THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

  • CHANGE ACROSS THE LIFESPANSrivastava et al. (2003) conducted an Internet survey of a adults who completed a five-factor measureResults revealed significant age-linked changes on most of BIG 5 factors (e.g., Agreeableness increased from 31-50 years when adults raise children)These findings contradict the claim that trait levels are entirely inherited and unaffected by social experience

    THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

  • CHANGE ACROSS THE LIFESPANOverall, research suggests thatPersonality is more stable over short periods than over long periodsPersonality is more stable and less complex in adulthood than in childhoodThere are individual differences in stability across the lifespanThe limits of environmental influence on personality change remain to be determined

    THE FIVE-FACTOR MODEL: GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

  • HEALTHAdults who are conscientious as children live longer and are about 30% less likely to die in any given year, even when ruling out environmental variablesWhat explains the relationship?Conscientious individuals take fewer risks and are less likely to smoke and drink heavily

    THE FACTOR MODEL: APPLICATIONS

  • CLINICAL DIAGNOSISThe five-factor model is a useful diagnostic tool Compulsive personality can be viewed in terms of very high Conscientiousness and very high NeuroticismAntisocial personality can be seen as very low Agreeableness and very low Conscientiousness

    THE FACTOR MODEL: APPLICATIONS

  • THE PERSON-SITUATION CONTROVERSYSince the 1960s, researchers have questioned whether there is enough consistency in behavior to support trait conceptsVariability may reflect an adaptive capacity to discriminate between situations and adjust behavior accordingly

  • THE PERSON-SITUATION CONTROVERSY2 aspects of consistency must be distinguished:

    Longitudinal stability = people high on a trait at one point in time are high on that same trait at another point in timeCross-situational consistency = people high on a trait in some situations are high on that trait in other situations Trait theorists suggest both are trueCritics of trait theory disagree with cross-situational stability

  • THE PERSON-SITUATION CONTROVERSYLONGITUDINAL STABILITYWhy do traits have longitudinal stability?Genetically based biological tendencies may ensure the durability of traitsEnvironmental conditions may also contribute to the stability of traitsOthers interact with he person in ways that perpetuate traits and trait stereotypesPeople select and create environments that serve to strengthen their traits

  • THE PERSON-SITUATION CONTROVERSYCROSS-SITUATIONAL STABILITYA defining feature of trait theory is that individuals are characterized by the degree to which they possess a given trait on averageThere may be variability around the averageMethods exist for describing variations around the average

  • THE PERSON-SITUATION CONTROVERSYCROSS-SITUATIONAL STABILITYFleeson et al. had participants record their current thoughts and feelings several times daily over several daysRather than reporting overall level of a trait, participants reported how much they exhibited a trait-related behavior during the past hourThis method can be used to determine average levels of behavior as well as the degree to which behavior varies around the average The results revealed thatPeople show dramatic short-term variability in behavior not accounted for by trait measures

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