Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 151
Cultural differences/cultural psychology/psychology/psychological theories/McCrae: Over the past twenty years, researchers around the world have begun to translate instruments like the NEO-PI-R (McCrae and Allik 2002)(1) and the Big Five Inventory (BFI) (Schmitt, Allik, McCrae et al. 2007)(2), and have administered them to respondents in dozens of countries. Results are easily summarized: personality is much the same everywhere. The FFM structure ((s) >Five-Factor Model) itself is universal. McCrae and colleagues (McCrae, Terracciano and 78 others 2005)(3) reported an almost perfect replication of the American adult self-report NEO-PI-R structure using 11,985 observer ratings of college-age and adult targets from 50 cultures. The same study replicated the American pattern of age differences (although the age effects for N ((s) >neuroticism) and A ((s) >agreeableness) were much smaller in the international sample). >Cultural psychology, >Neuroticism, >Agreeableness, >Openness to experience, >Conscientiousness, >Intraversion, >Five-Factor Model.
There is a plausible explanation for this universality: the FFM is strongly rooted in biology. Each of the five factors is heritable (Riemann, Angleitner and Strelau 1997)(4), and studies of twins (Yamagata, Suzuki, Ando et al. 2006)(5) and of family relatives (Pilia, Chen, Scuteri et al. 2006)(6) show that the five-factor structure of the observed traits mirrors the structure of their underlying genes. Apparently, Warmth and Assertiveness are both definers of E because they are influenced by some of the same genes.


1. McCrae, R. R. and Allik, J. (eds.) 2002. The Five-Factor Model of personality across cultures. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers
2. Schmitt, D. P., Allik, J., McCrae, R. R., Benet-Martínez, V., Alcalay, L., Ault, L. et al. 2007. The geographic distribution of Big Five personality traits: patterns and profiles of human self-description across 56 nations, Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 38: 173–212
3. McCrae, R. R., Terracciano, A. and 78 Members of the Personality Profiles of Cultures Project 2005. Universal features of personality traits from the observer’s perspective: data from 50 cultures, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 88: 547–61
4. Riemann, R., Angleitner, A. and Strelau, J. 1997. Genetic and environmental influences on personality: a study of twins reared together using the self- and peer report NEO-FFI scales, Journal of Personality 65: 449-75
5. Yamagata, S., Suzuki, A., Ando, J., Ono, Y., Kijima, N., Yoshimura, K., Ostendorf, F., Angleitner, A., Riemann, R., Spinath, F., Livesley, W. J. and Jang, K. L. 2006. Is the genetic structure of human personality universal? A cross-cultural twin study from North America, Europe, and Asia, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 90: 987–98
6. Pilia, G., Chen, W.-M., Scuteri, A., Orrú, M., Albai, G., Deo, M. et al. 2006. Heritability of cardiovascular and personality traits in 6,148 Sardinians, PLoS Genetics 2: 1207–23


Robert R. McCrae, “The Five-Factor Model of personality traits: consensus and controversy”, 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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