Resolving a scientific embarrassment: A comment on the articles in this special issue


  • Lewis R. Goldberg

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Oregon and Oregon Research Institute, Eugene, OR, U.S.A.
    • Oregon Research Institute, 1715 Franklin Boulevard, Eugene, OR 97403–1983, U.S.A.
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The controversy concerning the two dominant interpretations of Factor V reflects a confusion in the scientific literature between two different five-factor models, each proposed for a different purpose. In the ‘Five-Factor Model’ of genotypic personality dispositions, the fifth factor is interpreted as a broad dimension of Openness to Experience. On the other hand, in the ‘Big-Five’ model of phenotypic personality-trait descriptors, Factor V is best labeled as Intellect or Imagination, and Openness is viewed as a narrower and more specific attribute at a lower level in the hierarchy of lexicalized personality characteristics. As future investigators begin to differentiate more clearly between the two purposes of these models, their differential use of the two labels should serve to signal their scientific intents.