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Chapter 3

PSYC 2P25 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Lexical Hypothesis, Hexaco Model Of Personality Structure, Extraversion And Introversion

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Michael Ashton

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Chapter 3 Personality Structure:
Classifying Traits
A Gentle Introduction to Factor Analysis
Factor analysis allows the researcher to reduce many specific traits into more general “factors”
or groups of traits, each of which combines several of the specific traits
Allows us to summarize the relations among a large number of variables in terms of only a small
number of groups, or factors.
One way to figure out the true number of factors is to see which sets of factors an be found in
many different studies, using different research participants or even different sets of variables
measuring the same general kinds of characteristics
The factors that are produced by this technique should be thought of as dimensions along which
people differ, and not as “types” of people
Factor Analysis of Personality Traits: How to Find a Representative Set of Traits?
The Idea of the Lexical Approach
The existing list of important personality traits can be found in the dictionary
The idea behind the use of the dictionary as a source of personality characteristics is based on
the lexical hypothesis
o States that people will want to talk about the personality traits that they view as having
important consequences in their lives -> people will invent some words to describe
people who have high or low levels of these important traits
The Early Use of the Lexical Approach
Galton (1884) noted that the various personality-descriptive words listed in the dictionary would
overlap and blend into each other, with each word partly sharing its meaning with other words,
and partly having some unique meaning of its own
Baumgarten (1933) undertook an inventory of German personality-related words, and Allport
and Odbert (1936) did the same in the English language, using Webster’s dictionary
o Allport and Odbert 18,000 words that described people, of which about 4500 actually
described people’s personality traits
Raymond Cattell was the first to do a factor analysis of ratings on personality-descriptive
adjectives in English
o Set of 35 variables
Cattell (1947) reported that his data revealed 12 factors, others couldn’t find the same and only
a consistent 5 showed
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