Unifying the Aspects of the Big Five, the Interpersonal Circumplex, and Trait Affiliation


  • This study was supported in part by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to JBP. We thank Weronika Sroczynski for her help in running this study and Lewis R. Goldberg for his generosity in making data available from the Eugene-Springfield community sample.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Colin G. DeYoung, Psychology Department, 75 East River Rd., Minneapolis, MN 55455-0344; E-mail: cdeyoung@umn.edu.



Two dimensions of the Big Five, Extraversion and Agreeableness, are strongly related to interpersonal behavior. Factor analysis has indicated that each of the Big Five contains two separable but related aspects. The present study examined the manner in which the aspects of Extraversion (Assertiveness and Enthusiasm) and Agreeableness (Compassion and Politeness) relate to interpersonal behavior and trait affiliation, with the hypothesis that these four aspects have a structure corresponding to the octants of the interpersonal circumplex. A second hypothesis was that measures of trait affiliation would fall between Enthusiasm and Compassion in the IPC.


These hypotheses were tested in three demographically different samples (N = 469; 294; 409) using both behavioral frequency and trait measures of the interpersonal circumplex, in conjunction with the Big Five Aspect Scales (BFAS) and measures of trait affiliation.


Both hypotheses were strongly supported.


These findings provide a more thorough and precise mapping of the interpersonal traits within the Big Five and support the integration of the Big Five with models of interpersonal behavior and trait affiliation.