Sie sind auf Seite 1von 2

History and Background of the Big Five Personalities

Over the years, a substantial amount of research has demonstrated different

interpretations and approaches to fully understand the nature and the defining features

of an individual’s personality. The American Psychological Association (2017) recently

defined the term Personality as the “individual differences in characteristic patterns of

thinking, feeling, and behaving”. To further comprehend the complexities of the human

personality, researchers created various personality frameworks, among which the most

prevalent is the Five Factor Model of Personality or simply known as the “Big Five”.

This theory of personality is also widely-used and applied across multiple countries

with diverse cultures around the globe (Schmitt et al, 2007). The personality of an

individual is viewed as multi-dimensional, which is composed of five components proven

to be stable across diverse populations in various settings of research. The five factors

have been researched thoroughly and thus considerable evidences are established that

the factors account for the differences in the ways people think, feel and interact with

others (Forrester & Taschian, 2010). Furthermore, a valid and reliable assessment scale

has been developed to effectively measure the five factors.

The development of the Five-Factor Model of the Personality in the history of

Personality Psychology is important for it provides a comprehensive hierarchical

organization of the traits of the personality through five basic dimensions, transcending

relationship type. (Wiggins, 1996). The origin of the idea that personality can be simplified

in five simple factors can be traced back to its first use in the 1930s. Scientist Louis

Thurstone, in his presidential address to the American Psychological Association in the

year 1933, stated that “A list of sixty adjectives can be accounted for through the
postulation of five common factors.”, when he described the human personality. However,

Goldberg (1993) noted that Thurstone failed to fully launch the Big – Five Model, for he

turned his focus to the development of the Thurstone Temperament Scale Schedule, a

questionnaire. In the 1940s, Raymond Catell, a British – American Psychologist,

developed an inventory of personality traits called the Sixteen Personality Factor

Questionnaire (16PF). Lewis Goldberg, a prominent researcher of Personality

Psychology, simplified the sixteen fundamental factors of Catell into five primary factors:

Extroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Neuroticism, and Openness to

Experience. Goldberg created the Five – Factor Model based on previous psychology

researches that dates back to the 1960s. His Five – Factor Model was validated by Paul

Costa and Robert Mccrae, both researchers on the Human Personality, which helped

them to develop the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) in the year 1978.

The inventory was revised in the years 1990, 2005, and 2010.

Through the years, there have been numerous attempts to measure the five

dimensions, but the most accepted and reliable frameworks on the Big Five personalities

are the Big Five Inventory (BFI) and the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R)

of Lewis Goldberg, and researchers Paul Costa and Robert Mccrae, respectively.