Five-Factor Model of Personality

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  • A trait approach in identifying the core structure of personality. Its roots can be traced to Gordon Allport and William Cattell. Cattell asked people to rate themselves and others on items describing a particular trait that Allport had invented. Cattell then used factor analytical techniques to investigate which of these items form clusters (i.e., are closely interrelated and distinct from other items) in order to identify the core structure of personality. Through these analyses, he identified 16 factors (e.g., shy vs. bold, trusty vs. suspicious) that he believed reflected the basic personality found in everyone and developed the “Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire” (or 16PF). More recently, factor analyses by Robert Costa and William McCrae suggest only five distinct factors, resulting in the so-called “big-five model,” ...

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