A discussion on the five factor model of personality

Decades of research on personality has uncovered five broad dimensions of personality. These so-called Big Five dimensions are called:

A discussion on the five factor model of personality

This essay will look at whether five fundamental traits can in fact comprehensively explain human personality on their own. Trait theories of personality rely on factor analysis of commonly used adjectives relating to personality traits which are then grouped together under smaller headings.

The first trait theory was the work of A discussion on the five factor model of personality who found 4, descriptive personality terms in the then most comprehensive English dictionary. Cattell then reduced these terms to by eliminating synonyms, before using factor analysis to discover 16 key traits forming the 16PF.

While these five traits if effective should be sufficient on their own to describe all facets of a personality, there also should be no correlation between the main factors as this would mean they too could possibly be combined under a larger heading. The Five Factor Model is now perhaps the most widely use trait theory of personality and has achieved the closest thing to a consensus in personality research.

This is roughly what would be expected and is similar to findings regarding psychological disorders such as anorexia, giving the Five Factor Model further credibility. Sex differences have also been demonstrated across the traits with females scoring higher on neuroticism and agreeableness and males scoring higher on extraversion and conscientiousness, which seems to concur with casual observation.

Additionally the Five Factor Model has been shown to be reliable across cultures, Trull and Geary for example found that the five traits could be replicated in China, while Ostendorf found the same in Germany.

All this suggests that the Five Factor Model can be used reliably in a variety of contexts and has real-world validity and at least seems to be as capable of explaining personality in other cultures as it is in our own.

There is also a lot of empirical evidence supporting the Five Factor Model and it has been shown to be predictive of behaviour in a variety of contexts. In one study by Saulsman and Pagethe relationship between the five dimensions and the 10 personality disorder categories in the DSM-IV was examined revealing that each disorder had its own unique five-factor profile across 15 independent samples.

Similarly, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness have been shown to correlate significantly with academic performance Poropat, In particular conscientiousness was shown to be as accurate a predictor as IQ. Many other studies have been conducted showing stress to be involved in everything from health behaviours Korotkov,to technological acceptance and use Devaraj et al.

Such statistical evidence demonstrates that the Five Factor Model is high in validity and useful as a predictive tool, but whether this means it can fully explain personality is another matter. It should be considered that perhaps behaviour itself might not reflect personality exactly either.

For example, two very different personalities can engage in the same behaviours but with different motives. So to take one of the above examples; one worker might appear to be conscientious as a way to climb the ladder and get a promotion while another might genuinely be conscientious. Therefore to say that the Five Factor Model offers a complete explanation of human personality because it offers an explanation of behaviour may be an illogical leap.

This obviously is only relevant if five factors are enough to truly offer a comprehensive predictor of personality or behaviour.

Many critics of the Five Factor Model accuse the five factors to be insufficient in capturing a comprehensive character profile. Eysenck argued that the additional two traits were in fact excessive and demonstrated overlap Eysench,and that only three were really required.

All these trait models have been shown to have their own strengths and weaknesses and the large number of different models demonstrates the subjective nature of using statistical analysis; essentially the resultant factors will be the product of the data used in the factor analysis and here is where the scope for subjectivity and error Block, exists.

In one recent analysis of English adjectives Saucier and Goldberg attempted to discover if there was indeed anything not explained by the Five Factor Model and found that the big five were adequate as is.

A discussion on the five factor model of personality

This sheds doubt on the Five Factor Models comprehensiveness and also illustrates the subjectivity inherent in factor analysis. One study by Bagby et al. This then would seem to suggest that no, five factors are not sufficient to fully explain human personality and that at least one more is required.

However, as demonstrated by the variety of trait models that exist, more or fewer may be necessary and it is likely only a matter of time before another improved selection of factors becomes the accepted model. In a sense the difference then is more in the presentation, meaning that arguably a Five Factor Model could be no more and no less adequate in explaining human personality as long as you examine the underlying facets.

It could be argued that a Five Factor Model is adequate in explaining personality, but that it could be explained just as well with a three or eighteen factor model. Here it is the social context, rather than any intrinsic personality, that determines our behaviour Krahe, However an extreme situationist stance can not explain variance in the voltage that participants were willing to administer, and in neither this nor similar studies was an attempt to measure personality traits made perhaps an interesting area for future research.

While it is unlikely that personality is completely a construct of the situation otherwise why do we observe the individual differences we do? This is something that the Five Factor Model does not address and so again we see that it is not able on its own to explain human personality.

Another more fundamental aspect that is lacking in the Five Factor Model is a description of how individuals develop their personalities. As it is it is a descriptive model that offers no real explanation for human personality.

A discussion on the five factor model of personality

For that reason alone it is insufficient in explaining the phenomenon. In conclusion then, the Five Factor Model is a useful tool for predicting behaviour and explaining why certain individuals act the way they do. Furthermore, it is not the only useful tool for predicting behaviour and the decision to use five factors, rather than say three or sixteen, seems to be largely subjective.In summary, Digman states that the five variables that compose the five-factor model "provide a good answer to the question of personality structure" (Digman, , p.

). Originality It would be possible to argue that the five-factor model does not meet the criterion of originality.

Many contemporary personality psychologists believe that there are five basic dimensions of personality, often referred to as the "Big 5" personality traits. The five broad personality traits described by the theory are extraversion (also often spelled extroversion), agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and .

Five Major Dimensions of Personality A trait is a temporally stable, cross-situational individual difference. Currently the most popular approach among psychologists for studying personality traits is the five-factor model or Big Five dimensions of personality.

This paper examines the five-factor model, a tool used for dimensionally studying personality. Aspects of the model given attention include the specific variables in the model, other related models, and clinical applications of the model.

The Big Five Personality Test. Price: $ Time to take: 15 Minutes. About this test. What Does it Measure? This test is based on the Five Factor model of personality, the most widely accepted theory of personality today.

The Five Factor model scores people based on five broad dimensions of personality: Discussion Forum; What is. The Big Five model of personality is widely considered to be the most robust way to describe personality differences. It is the basis of most modern personality research. This question inventory is based on questionnaires used in professional research settings and will evaluate your personality on each of the Five Factors.

What Is the Five Factor Model of Personality? | HealthGuidance