The Big Five

Rolf Marvin B|e Lindgren (
Tue, 26 Sep 1995 04:57:30 -0400

[John F. Kihlstrom]

| There ought to be more work on the Big Five as a set
| of social-constructivist dimensions, or perhaps
| categories, guiding person perception and memory.

since the FFM (Five-Factor Model) is a piece of *extremely* empirical
research, it does leave lots to interpretation.

| We will probably never know, but I suspect that the nature of the Big
| Five changes with cultural change. Perhaps, in the late 40s,
| intelligence was important, so that Factor V emerged as intellectance.
| Then, in the 60s, openness became more important, so that Factor V lost
| some of it's intellectual flavor and took on that quality. Bob Hogan
| has offered a similar argument.
one might be led to believe that such an "objective" method as factor
analysis would provide an antidote against socially biased research.

technically, according to work published by Johnson and Ostendorf, and
by Hofstee, de Raad and Goldberg, which aspects of the Big 5 are
considered most important depends on the rotation of the factors. (their
Abridged Big Five Dimensional Circumplex is an attempt at a further
analysis of the factors).

the factors as such seem to be named according to which adjectives they
correlate with.

adjectives might have more than one loading, this colors their
interpretation. which interepretation is chosen depends on which factor
roation is chosen.

social contructs, then, partly determine which factor rotation is

does this make any sort of sense?

> Anyway, some psychometric work in my lab, done collaboratively
> with Paul Trapnell and Martha Glisky, seems to indicate that
> the various facets of Factor V are pretty independent of each other?
have you published any of it? I'd *love* to see it: Factor V is very

> Why five dimensions? Because that's all the information we can
> keep in our head at once. Remember the magical number 7, plus or
> minus 2?
I think I can see how this proposition, tho highly speculative, does
make some sense :) why five dimensions? well, because most of all of
the factor analyses said so.

Catell ended up with 16 factors, which were reduced to 5. if the FFM
has five factors courtesy the magic number 7 plus or minus two, why are
they hidden by 5000 synonyms? might it be that they're some sort of
elaborate cultural "chunking"?