The description of personality: basic traits resolved into clusters


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Abstract

Results of factor analyses of personality have been inconsistent because of the use of different measures (ratings, behavior, questionnaires), biases of investigators, limited sampling of subjects and of aspects of personality, and varying naming of traits. The writer suggests that these difficulties may be overcome by a factor analysis of the entire ‘sphere’ of trait names, on the argument that these adequately represent personality. By grouping synonyms and opposites, Allport and Odbert's list of trait names was reduced to 150 categories, to which were added the names of 10 special abilities and 11 special interests. One hundred adults representative of the general population were each rated by an intimate as to whether the subject was above or below average on each trait. Tetrachoric correlations of the 171 traits were surveyed for clusters in which items intercorrelated above .45. Sixty such clusters are listed and interpretations deferred. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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