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Can the five factor model describe personality?

Keywords: extroversion vs introversion, ffm research, five factor model personality

Every person is unique. From being geniuses to serial killers, people and their personalities can vary in lots of ways. Why is a person the way he/she is, is a question that everyone would like to answered. What exactly is personality and could it be the factor that makes everyone different? In an attempt to solve this dilemma, there is a need for clear meanings. Personality is generally defined as the 'distinctive and relatively stable pattern of tendencies, thoughts, motives and thoughts that characterize an person', including a variety of human behavior, mindful or unconscious ((Wade and Tavris, 2006). It is widely agreed after that personality hails from within the person, although, a few argue that exterior and communal factors can also be used to study personality. Many ideas, that attempt to specify personality and build a model around this abstract concept, are being used as a tool to speculate and offer guidelines (Ewen, 2003).

Many psychologists developed theories that attempt to explain personality types. Relating to Gordon Allport, most folks have a few central qualities you can use to characterize them and also have further secondary characteristics that tend to be more changeable. Raymond Cattel analyzed this by utilizing a statistical method called factor analysis and developed the 16 Personality Factors. Eysenck developed the PEN (psychoticism, extroversion, neuroticism) model, which marketed just three factors.

Nowadays, modern psychologists agree on five central factors, known as the Big Five or the Five Factor Model (FFM), which form a cluster of personality features that divide people into the following personality types: Extroversion vs. introversion, neuroticism vs. mental stableness, agreeableness vs. antagonism, conscientiousness vs. impulsiveness, openness to see vs. level of resistance to new experience.

Extroversion vs. introversion explains the particular level to which people are sociable or timid. Extroverts are involved with the outside world, are full of energy, prefer to talk and get attention and are assertive. Introverts are low key, prefer to be alone and need less simulation. In neuroticism, people experience panic and negative emotions. They are emotionally reactive when compared with people lower in neuroticism, who are quiet and emotionally stable. Agreeableness vs. antagonism details the good aspect or the irritableness of individuals. Agreeable people strive for social tranquility and go along well with people. Antagonistic people, on the other hands, are disagreeable, skeptical and uncooperative. Conscientiousness people are in charge and trustworthy, whereas, impulsive people are rash and fickle. Folks are open to experiences if they're interested and creative, but conforming and unimaginative people are repellent to new experience.

Being in a position to define individual personality is a major problem for psychologists and the five factor model (FFM) has emerged as a definite personality dimension and is central in describing personality versions within mentally stable people. It includes included and systemized wide ranging concepts and actions using various diagnosis methods and case studies (McCrae and Costa, 1999).

The model is also backed by many factor-analytic studies and research has been conducted on diverse people and over large time periods, resulting in the observation that the Big Five remain constant and secure over a person's lifetime, especially, following the age group of thirty. The five-factor model is also constant with other models such as Eysenck's Pencil model, Catell's 16 Factor Model and other mental theories. Psychologists are also striving to establish a 'Taxanomy of personality' so people can easily be identified using the sliding scales of the 5 variable of the FFM. Regarding to Digman, the FFM has 'given a useful group of very broad sizes that characterize specific differences. These measurements can be assessed with high stability and impressive validity' and it 'provides a good answer to the question of personality structure' (Digman, 1990). Digman conducted studies in Japan, Philippines and Germany and state governments that the model does apply cross culturally and does not fail when confronted with linguistic barriers. Variances within the sexes are also taken into account and males are proven to report higher on extraversion and conscientiousness, and females on neuroticism and agreeableness.

The FFM has also been useful in predicting job performance; conscientious and extravert people perform better at work than people who have neuroticism, and agreeableness correlates adversely with job performance in a authority role. Conscientiousness is also seen as a predictor of academic performance and openness to experience can be an unrelated factor (Neubert).

Although these simple categorizations seem very appealing in endeavoring to define personality, there exists another aspect to the picture that examines the limits of the model. It really is argued that the model is not actually a theory of personality as a good theory must adequately explain the system of personality. It could, therefore, more aptly be called a trait theory (McCrae and Costa, 1999). Despite the fact that the model has convergent validity, it cannot be claim to also have construct validity, as judgments can converge without having to be correct (Davis and Millon, 1993). According to McAdams, the FFM is not really a theory but a set of explanatory changing useful in determining and classifying personality traits. He says the factors are too extensive and, in many situations, cannot anticipate behavior. Building the universality of the FFM in addition has been called into question. A research confirmed that in Spanish, seven factors were required to explain personality proportions and in Italy, only three were needed (Wade and Tavris, 2006).

Moreover, the five-factor model will not take into account or clarify the part of personality that differs for every person. It requires speculation to interpret specific habit from personality information of individuals. Even in the context of work environment, it's been argued that the five factor model is not enough to forecast performance. Factors such as cognitive capacity, emotional intelligence and creativity add a lot to the worthiness of an employee. Transformational leadership and job satisfaction also put in a lot to the work performance of a person. It does not explain the motivation behind learning to be a leader or explain how traits interact with the environment to produce leadership attributes (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2007).

A model has limited importance if it can't be applied and corresponding to Davis and Millon, the FFM model has many weaknesses when applied in the scientific domain as many traits involved with disorders are missing, hence, it is of more used in the academics and experimental framework (Davis and Millon, 1993). Being restricted by the characteristic hierarchy is not recommended since there is bound information regarding personality pathology already. Other levels of trait hierarchy also help in providing information useful in professional medical software. Another empirical research concluded that even though the FFM captured a relevance variance for many personality disorders, it significantly forecasted only 5 of the 11 disorders because of large and intangible characterizations (Clark, 1993).

Theoretically, the model has been questioned on many aspects. McAdams critiques the model on the lack of causal explanations of individual behavior and experience. He believes it explains the 'mindset of your stranger' as it details people one recognizes nothing about, failing woefully to describe the hidden aspects of personality. Behavior might not predict personality accurately as many people do not behave in accordance to their personalities in every situations. It is stated that personality is an illusion and people only behave relating to the interpersonal context. Corresponding to Taylor & Macdonald, the FFM is significantly correlated with spiritual beliefs, recommending on the possibility that there is some correlation that should go deeper than just outward habit (Emmons, Barret and Schnitker, 1999).

The model is often criticized by other alternative models such as Cattel's 16 factor model and Eysenck's PEN model which expresses the three uncorrelated dimensions of personality: psychotism, extraversion and neuroticism. According to Eysenck, the excess two characteristics, agreeableness and conscientiousness, are overlapping and high. He greatly backed the use of valid standards to test the practicality of an theory and used his arousal theory to explain the causal roots of three factors. He analyzed Cortical arousal for extraversion, Visceral brain action for neuroticism and Gonadal hormones for psychoticism. Hence, the PEN theory targets the causal areas of personality and is also backed by credible data, rendering it more than simply a descriptive theory (Eysenck, 1990).

Coming to a finish about the validity of the FFM model in describing personality, the model can be seen as one perspective about how and why individuals act just how they do but cannot provide a complete and thorough character profile. It generally does not explain the key aspects of human being nature or take into account environmental factors, reasons behind personality development, individual differences or specialized medical disorders. Matching to Stop (1995), the statistical and empirical grounds of the model are shaky which is still very early to accept it widely. McAdams criticizes the model as it cannot anticipate how people will act in certain situations and just why they behave just how they are doing. It cannot be used to indicate upon the entre personality of any person as it ignores the sociocultural framework of individual development. In addition, some respondents may not even have the ability to take the questionnaires required to evaluate their personality types (Cavanaugh and Blanchard-Fields, 2006). McAdams correctly amounts up by expressing that the FFM is one important model in personality studies, not the integrative model of personality and cannot be used as the ultimate, well curved theory of personality (McAdams, 1992). Personality is a very abstract concept and to define it in terms of any one model will be unreasonable and it could forever continue to be a imagine psychologists to found an extremely precise, well round and all-encompassing theory of personality as no two different people are the same and categorizing them might continue to be impossible.

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