A critique of Big Five & An applied personal profile.

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A critique of Big Five & An applied personal profile

As the name indicated, the Big Five (Costa and McCrae 1976) theory consisted of five factors: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. This time, one would critically review the Big Five personality theory. One would discuss the factor analytic technique that used to develop this approach, the reliability of this theory’s taxonomy, the compression with other less broad or more detailed approaches and the application of this approach in the temporal states. Finally, the situational behaviors against stable personality would be presented.

First of all, the factor analytic technique that was adopted for developing the Big Five has a few problems. McCrae and John (1992) argued that it was not a purely objective method and it required arbitrary decisions on analyzing. During the course of analyzing, there might be other factors which effected the interpretation of relationship between behavior and trait. But these suppressor factors would not be included in the final explanation. As a result, the personality dimensions that appeared in the Big Five might be not reliable because of excluding suppressor factor. In addition, factor analytic method was a subjective technique. The research factors which were proposed by theorists were selected empirically. Therefore, it was possible that the relationships among the traits have been omitted or misrepresented by the model. Lastly, the questionnaire was answered on the based of personal assessment. This evaluation was not objective as well.    

In addition, the theoretical root for the taxonomy was unknown. Therefore, theorists only did researches to prove the validity of five factors according to the empirical facts but they didn’t know what they have missed. The number of the traits in Big Five might not be the best choice. Cattell (1965) proposed a more complex approach included 16 personality factors. This 16 P. F. might cover the aspects of personality more comprehensively than Big Five although it was not succinct. Eysenck and Long (1986) suggested another alternative approach which is simple and validity. It consisted of three factors: introversion-extraversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism. It adopted the orthogonal method to interpret the relationship between introversion-extraversion and neuroticism which ensure the independence of each variable.

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Then, it was doubted that the taxonomy of the five factors was not quite reasonable. There might be closed relationship between openness and extraversion. According to the illustrative scales that offered by Costa & McCrae (1985), one interpreted both of them are people’s attitudes and behaviors towards outside. The extraversion was about the attitudes towards people and the openness was about the attitudes towards objective things or events. If the attitudes could be different for people and events, the other factors could be grouped differently as well. Meanwhile, if there was no distinguish for people and events for other items, the ...

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