Personality Trait Structure as a Human Universal

Robert R. McCrae, Paul Costa

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Abstract

Patterns of covariation among personality traits in English-speaking populations can be summarized by the five-factor model (FFM). To assess the cross-cultural generalizability of the FFM, data from studies using 6 translations of the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (P. T. Costa & R. R. McCrae, 1992) were compared with the American factor structure. German, Portuguese, Hebrew, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese samples (N = 7,134) showed similar structures after varimax rotation of 5 factors. When targeted rotations were used, the American factor structure was closely reproduced, even at the level of secondary loadings. Because the samples studied represented highly diverse cultures with languages from 5 distinct language families, these data strongly suggest that personality trait structure is universal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-516
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Psychologist
Volume52
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1997
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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