Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 388
Personality traits/lexical studies/cultural differences/Saucier: studies of most languages of European origin (plus those in Turkish, Korean and Chinese) have produced factors corresponding to Extraversion, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. Although this structure was not observed in Filipino, French, Greek or Maasai studies, it appears readily in a sub-set of languages that is larger than the sub-set that yields the >Big Five.
Among English adjectives, this structure was as robust across variable selections as were one- and two-factor structures (Saucier 1997)(1). But studies of English type-nouns (Saucier 2003b(2)) and of other inclusive selections of variables (Saucier, Georgiades, Tsaousis and Goldberg 2005;(3) Saucier, Ole-Kotikash and Payne 2006)(4) failed to find it.
Lexical studies in Slavic and Germanic languages (including English) have been quite supportive of the Big Five, and so has a study in Turkish. But other studies (e.g., Di Blas and Forzi 1998(5); Saucier, Georgiades, Tsaousis and Goldberg 2005(3); Szirmák and De Raad 1994)(6) have found no clear counterpart to the Intellect factor in five-factor solutions.
None of these analyses has found the Big Five in a five-factor solution. The appearance of the Big Five is clearly contingent upon the variable-selection procedure, and thus on the operational definition of personality.
Corr I 389
Six factors: Ashton, Lee, Perugini et al. (2004)(7) have presented evidence that many of the lexical studies conducted to date yield a consistent pattern in six factor solutions: six factors that can be labelled as Extraversion, Emotionality, Agreeableness, Honesty/Humility, Conscientiousness and Openness. Although the structural pattern was first detected in studies of Korean (Hahn, Lee and Ashton 1999)(8) and French (Boies, Lee, Ashton et al. 2001)(9), it has appeared to a recognizable degree also in Dutch, German, Hungarian, Italian and Polish.
Seven factors: seven-factor solution (Goldberg and Somer 2000(10); Saucier 1997(1); Tellegen and Waller 1987)(11). Of the two additional factors in these studies, one was found in all three: ‘Negative Valence’ (NV) is a factor emphasizing attributes with extremely low desirability and endorsement rates and with descriptive content involving morality/depravity, dangerousness, worthlessness, peculiarity and stupidity (cf., Benet-Martínez and Waller 2002)(12). A core content theme seems to be Noxious Violativeness – attributes reflecting a tendency to harmfully violate the rights of others, corresponding in many ways to contemporary definitions of antisocial personality disorder (Saucier 2007).
Cor I 390
A lexical study of the language with the largest number of native speakers (Chinese) generated seven emic factors with some resemblance to this structure (Zhou, Saucier, Gao and Liu in press). The seven factors include Negative Valence (or Noxious Violativeness), Conscientiousness, Intellect, Gregariousness, Self-Assurance, Even Temper and Concern for Others (versus Egotism). A comparison of seven-factor solutions from numerous studies indicates that the first six of these are particularly recurrent across studies.



1. Saucier, G. 1997. Effects of variable selection on the factor structure of person descriptors, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 73: 1296–1312
2. Saucier, G. 2003b. Factor structure of English-language personality type-nouns, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 85: 695–708
3. Saucier, G., Georgiades, S., Tsaousis, I. and Goldberg, L. R. 2005. The factor structure of Greek personality adjectives, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 88: 856–75
4. Saucier, G., Ole-Kotikash, L. and Payne, D. L. 2006. The structure of personality and character attributes in the language of the Maasai. Unpublished report. University of Oregon
5, Di Blas, L. and Forzi, M. 1998. An alternative taxonomic study of personality descriptors in the Italian language, European Journal of Personality 12: 75–101
6. Szirmák, Z. and De Raad, B. 1994. Taxonomy and structure of Hungarian personality traits, European Journal of Personality 8: 95–118
7. Ashton, M. C., Lee, K., Perugini, M., Szarota, P. De Vries, R. E., Di Blas, L., Boies, K. and De Raad, B. 2004. A six-factor structure of personality-descriptive adjectives: solutions from psycholexical studies in seven languages, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 86: 356–66
8. Hahn, D. W., Lee, K. and Ashton, M. C. 1999. A factor analysis of the most frequently used Korean personality trait adjectives, European Journal of Personality 13: 261–82
9. Boies, K., Lee, K., Ashton, M. C., Pascal, S. and Nicol, A. A. M. 2001. The structure of the French personality lexicon, European Journal of Personality 15: 277–95
10. Goldberg, L. R. and Somer, O. 2000. The hierarchical structure of common Turkish person-descriptive adjectives, European Journal of Personality 14: 497–531
11. Tellegen, A. and Waller, N. G. 1987. Re-examining basic dimensions of natural language trait descriptors. Paper presented at the 95th annual convention of the American Psychological Association, August 1987


Gerard Saucier, „Semantic and linguistic aspects 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.
Lexical Studies
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009


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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2019-07-18
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