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Five-Factor Model of Personality

  1. Aaron L. Pincus

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0362

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Pincus, A. L. 2010. Five-Factor Model of Personality. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Pennsylvania State University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Personality traits describe individual differences in human beings' typical ways of perceiving, thinking, feeling, and behaving that are generally consistent over time and across situations. Beginning with the work of Allport and Odbert (1936), trait psychologists have attempted to identify a set of basic traits that adequately describe variation in human personality. This effort has employed two strategies: the analysis of descriptive adjectives across human languages (the lexical approach) and the measurement of various traits derived from personality theories (the questionnaire approach). For nearly 50 years, competing sets of fundamental traits (e.g., Cattell, Eysenck, Guilford), typically derived through factor analysis, created disagreement about which traits were basic. However, in the 1980s, a convergence of the lexical and questionnaire strategies generated a consensus among many trait psychologists that five basic broad traits provided an adequate description of individual differences (McCrae & John, 1992). This set of basic traits is referred to as the Five-Factor Model (FFM) of personality.


  • personality traits;
  • personality structure;
  • personality assessment;
  • personality dimensions