Five Factors Found

As late as 1983, McCrae and Costa were arguing for a three-factor model of personality. Not until 1985 did they begin to report work on the five factors of personality. This work cuhnhiated hi their new five-factor personality inventory: the NEO-PI (Costa & McCrae, 1985). The NEO-PI was a revision of an earlier unpublished personality inventory that measured only the first three dimensions; N, E, and O. In the 1985 inventory, the last two dimensions—agreeableness and conscientious ness—were still the least well-developed scales, having no subscales associated with them. Costa and McCrae (1992) did not fully develop the A and C scales until the Revised NEO-PI appeared hi 1992.

Throughout the 1980s, Costa and McCrae (1985, 1989a) continued their work of factor analyzing most every other major personality inventory, including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Myers, 1962) and the Eysenck Personality Inventory (H. Eysenck & S. Eysenck, 1975,1993). For instance, in a direct comparison of their model with Eysenck s, inventory, Costa and McCrae reported that Eysenck s first two factors (N and E) are completely consistent with their first two factors. Eysenck's measure of psychoticism mapped onto the low ends of agreeableness and conscientiousness but did not tap hito openness (McCrae & Costa, 1985).

At that thne, there were two major and related questions hi personality research. First, with the dozens of different personality inventories and hundreds of different scales, how was a common language to emerge? Everyone had his or her own somewhat idiosyncratic set of personality variables, making comparisons between studies and cumulative progress difficult. Indeed as Eysenck (1991) wrote:

Where we have literally hundreds of inventories incorporating thousands of traits, largely overlapping but also containing specific variance, each empirical finding is strictly speaking only relevant to a specific trait. This is not the way to build a unified scientific discipline, (p. 786)

Second what is the structure of personality? Cattell argued for 16 factors, Eysenck for three and many others were starting to argue for five. The major accomplishment of the Five-Factor Model (FFM) has been to provide answers to both these questions.

Since the late 1980s and early 1990s most personality psychologists have opted for the Five-Factor Model (Digman, 1990; John & Srivastava, 1999). The five factors have been found across a variety of cultures, using a plethora of languages (McCrae & Allik, 2002). hi addition, the five factors show some permanence with age; that is, adults—in the absence of catastrophic illness such as Alzheimer's—tend to maintain the same personality structure as they grow older (McCrae & Costa, 2003). These findings prompted McCrae and Costa (1996) to write that "the facts about personality are beginning to fall into place" (p. 78). Or as McCrae and Oliver John (1992) insisted the existence of five factors "is an empirical fact, like the fact that there are seven continents or eight American presidents from Virginia" (p. 194). (Incidentally, it is not an empirical fact that this earth has seven continents: Most geographers count only six.)

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