Origins of the New Big 5

Personality Psychology

Personality Psychology

Personality Psychology is the study of the whole person, with special emphasis on traits and characteristic adaptations.
The personality paradigm has shifted a bit over the years, but recent advancements made by McAdams and Pals make use of the leading theories which have preceded them.[5692]


Dispositional traits are generally believed to be inborn, however most personality theorists fall into at least one of the four 'Positions' of the origin of traits.  The positions are: Nero Physiological Substrates, Behavioral Dispositions, Act Frequencies, and Linguistic Categories.  Each of which suggests either an explanation for the existence of personality traits or a way of identifying traits.

Nero Physiological substrate

Personality theorists aligned under this prospective generally believe that traits are biologically based and determined by the anatomy and physiology of the brain.

Behavioral dispositions

Theorists who endorse this position tend to focus on engaging the whole person on a human level.  This is often because traits are integrated with many other factors that make up the whole person.

Act Frequencies

Theorists who are classed under the Act Frequencies position generalize about traits through behavior patterns.

Linguistic Catigories

Linguistic categories is more of a philosophical position, which suggests that traits exist only in our perceptions.  In other words, traits are imagined and subjective.

Gordon Willard Allport 

Gordon Willard Allport is considered the father of personality psychology. Preceding Allport behavioral research assumed a nomathetic approach; meaning that assessment of the personality relied primarily on quantification, scales, and measurement.  Conversely, Allport assumed an ideographic prospective, where the personality is qualitatively engaged on a more human level.

In his work, Allport identified common traits, which can be found across groups of people, and personal dispositions, which are the ways in which common traits are incorporated into the person person.[5693]

 Hans Eysenck

Eysenck contributed to psychology, his theory of super traits: extraversion, psychoticism, neuroticism.  Eysenck theorized that these traits are expressed through habitual actions, and through trial and error these expressions are modified to better suit specific situations.[5694]

Mccre and Costa's theory of personality

The Five Factor Model, constructed by Costa & McCrae  in 1992, is a list of five polar personality traits which can be used to make generalizations about an individual.  According to theory, everyone falls somewhere along a scale for each of the five trait factors.

Each of the Five domains of personality include a list of facets associated with each trait.[5695]


Facets: Friendliness, Gregariousness, Assertiveness, Activity level, Excitement-seeking, Cheerfulness


Facets: trustworthiness, altruism, coöperation, modesty, sympathy


Facets: Self-Efficacy, orderliness, Dutifulness, Achievement-Striving, Self-Discipline, Cautiousness


Facets: Anxiety, Anger, Depression, Self-Consciousness, Immoderation, Vulnerability

Openness to Experience

Facets: Imagination, Artistic, Interests, Emotionality, Adventurousness, Intellect, Liberalism


The New Big 5

Dan P. McAdams and Jennifer L. Pals distinguished the new big 5, McCrae and Casta's big 5.  universal traits, openness, conscientiousness, extroverted, agreeableness, neuroticism.  The new big 5, however, is a theoretical orientation of personality and serves as the frame work for viewing the personality.  Organized into  3 levels as well as two governing components: culture and human evolution.
McAdams and Pals used a constructivist approach to advancing the personality paradigm, by incorporating aspects of preceding theories into the new big 5 model.
the relationship between Allport's common traits and personal dispositions, for example, is similar to the relationship between McAdams and Pals' dispositional traits and characteristic adaptations.  The constructs differ in that Allport classified common traits based on broad similarities, and McAdams and Pals' dispositional traits stemmed from trait theory.  personal dispositions and characteristic adaptations, however, both refer to modifications of one's propensity.[5692]