Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 103
Personality traits/McCrae/Deary: When he asserted that ‘traits are not cognitive fictions, but real psychological structures’ (McCrae 2004(1), p. 4) the supporting evidence included consensual validation, prediction of life outcomes, longitudinal stability and heritability. Almost as a provocative challenge McCrae suggests that personality traits are unaffected by the environment, and totally caused by biological factors…. McCrae’s very strong commitment to the biological underpinnings of traits is argued on the basis of substantial heritability, virtually zero contribution from shared environment, and the fact that even the residual in the ‘non-shared’ environment probably contains variance that is actually attributable to genetic and other biological variance, ‘such as intrauterine environment, disease, and aging’ (McCrae 2004(1), p. 6). The stability of personality traits over the lifespan is also cited as evidence of the strong claims made for ‘Five-Factor Theory’, cf. >Five-Factor Model.


1. McCrae, R. R. 2004. Human nature and culture: a trait perspective, Journal Journal of Research in Personality 38: 3–14

Ian J. Deary, “The trait approach to personality”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press

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Corr I 129
Personality traits/Costa/McCrae: Costa and McCrae (1976)(1) clustered 16 PF scales on the basis of data from three different age groups, resulting into two consistent age-group independent clusters, called Adjustment-Anxiety and Introversion-Extraversion, and a third inconsistent age-group dependent cluster, which was conceptualized as an Experiential Style dimension. The three clusters formed the starting point for the development of the three-factorial NEO-PI (Costa and McCrae 1985)(2).

1. Costa, P. T., Jr and McCrae, R. R. 1976. Age differences in personality structure: a cluster analytic approach, Journal of Gerontology 31: 564–70
2. Costa, P. T., Jr and McCrae, R. R. 1985. The NEO Personality Inventory manual. Odessa, FL: Psychological Assessment Resources


Boele De Raad, “Structural models of personality”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
McCrae, Robert R.
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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