Lecture 3: Monday January 10 2011th
Midterm and final
60% of questions from textbook
40% from lecture
On the Uses and Limits of the Big Five Trait Dimensions
Questions of the day:
• How are the Big Five useful?
• How are the Big Five limited?
• What else do we need to know about a person?
Another Film Clip from the Office
• How would you describe Jim’s personality
• How would you describe Michael’s (he is the boss) personality?
Party at Jim’s house he tried to not invite Michael bc he is the boss and it would ruin
Michael – agreeableness is about connecting wt others and he doesn’t see that other
people perceive him very negatively most of the time, everyone was hoping he wouldn’t
come to the party. You wonder if he is fully human like the rest of us or if he just a
character on a show or if there is characters like that in real life. There is a connection
btwn personality traits and being extreme on certain ones and having a character disorder.
This was a party situation and I wouldn’t want anyone to judge 5 traits at a party, but
there is a demand characteristic, in terms of being concerned of how we use and apply
these big 5 traits some of us might have discomfort with this as well.
These dimensions can be found wt self-report or peer report, for each dimension there
are bipolar items that capture it (THE BIG FIVE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCIRBE
EACH OF THE FIVE BASIC DISPOSITIONAL TRAITS TABLE 1.2)
Features of the Big Five
• Apply to all people – in the sense that we can pretty much rank order individuals
in terms of whether they are higher or lower on terms of these traits, applicable to
all people in the sense that other cultures, languages
• Bipolar – when you think about them we remember them vs something else
• Comparative - they let us know how people compare to others on that
dimension, they don’t really get at whats special and unique about the individual
o Jim in the situation was having a party, mostly bc he wanted to get Pam to
his house, he knows Michael Scott is embarrassing and will ruin it
o He tried to not let Michael Scott know about it – but he broght a spy in to
spy on people’s emails
o He tries to plan it so that it wil be a nice time ofr everyone and Scott
1 shows up and you can tell hes frustrated and hes annoyed, Scott makes
himself the centre of the party
o Jim looks at him when he starts singing and you don’t know what hes
gonna do but he gets up and sings along with him and it was a very
important occasion for him having a party there is conflict, difficulty and
question how he copes
o Touching that he handled it in that way, tells you something about him
• Non-conditional - meant to be something that descirbes you regardless of
whether your in a good mood, at a party
Are the Big 5 Useful?
• Is it measuring something real?
• Is there agreement among diverse raters?
to the extent that people agree on a person is this way or another, you would be more
likely to think that this is getting at something useful
TIare needed to see this picture.
Validating the terms, there is a very large sample of people completing self reports
For each of the big 5 dimensions you can rank order from lower to higher and you can
correlate a persons score when they complete it for themselves with the score they
obtained form someone who knows them very well – studies who do this find there are
moderately strong correlations (.5 which is pretty good)
lab study – see if people clean up, if people are organized
didn’t seem like traits were predicting behaviour in the laboratory this apparent
problem was solved by just including more examples of laboratory behaviour relating to
conscientiousness if you only have one test of conscientiousness in the lab but if you
have 5 or 6 chances of ppl to be have conscientiously there will be good correspondence
Do people show consistency on these dimensions?
2 • Across situations and contexts?
• Over time?
most of us don’t think that they are consistent, with certain people you can be
some variability but also surprisng levels of consistencies over dimensions and over
look at you when your 18 and follow you up 10 years later
How do the big 5 traits relate to each other?
• If you know someone’s level of E can you predict there level of N, O, A or C?
does seem there is evidence for cross-contextual consistency
how do the traits relate to another – as humans we naturally tend to evaluate things as
good vs bad and we tend to organize the good concepts together and the bad ones
socially desirably standing is to be low on neuroticism and high on all the others – the
thing we have to watch out for is bc extroversion is socially desirable we mite think they
are also high on consciousness and low on neuroticism but there is no correlation
if we know someone is extroverted it shows us nothing on their independent standing
on the other traits
possible to be high on all 5 but no meaningful connection on your standing on one and
your standing on the others
Aren’t the Big 5 too broad?
• Imagine you are a counseling or clinical student who just interviewed a new client
and you were asked to report on their personality.
called big 5 bc they are so broad
Facets of N & E
in each category there have been defined 6 differ