I'm looking for quantitative research on the correlation between the five dimensions in OCEAN psychometric models. Would appreciate any references.


My answer to the question on evidence for the GFP provides numerous references on the correlations between the Big 5:

What is the support for a global personality factor?

The key bit of the answer is as follows:

van der Linden et al 2010 extend the work of Musek (2007) by presenting a meta-analysis of Big 5 intercorrelation matrices in order to assess the evidence for a General Factor of Personality. Table 2 shows the meta-analytic average scale intercorrelations for the big 5 measures included in the meta-analysis. It shows how across a wide range of measures and measurement procedures, the Big 5 scales moderately intercorrelate. The average absolute unadjusted correlations between the Big Five was 0.23.

big 1 personality correlations - meta analysis van der linden

You can also check out other work discussing higher-order factors (typically one or two factor models). These imply a correlation between the Big 5.

To quote my own primer on the Big 5 (Anglim & O'Connor, 2018: https://psyarxiv.com/a78g2/download):

Researchers have posited one and two factor higher-order models of personality suggesting that the Big Five may not be the broadest meaningful level of personality analysis (Anusic, Schimmack, Pinkus, & Lockwood, 2009; Digman, 1997; Musek, 2007; Veselka et al., 2009). Notably, a single, broad factor (termed the General Factor of Personality; GFP) has been proposed to account for meaningful trait variance at the highest level (e.g., Musek, 2007), although see various critical perspectives (Davies et al., 2015; De Vries, 2011; Revelle & Wilt, 2013) .

Thus, you could check out those references for further background on one and two-factor models. Such papers will generally also discuss the structure of correlations between the Big 5 and arguments for and against why they are meaningful.


  • Anglim, J., & O'Connor, P. (2018). Measurement and Research Using the Big Five, HEXACO, and Narrow Traits: A Primer for Researchers and Practitioners. Australian Journal of Psychology. https://psyarxiv.com/a78g2/download
  • van der Linden, D., te Nijenhuis, J., & Bakker, A. B. (2010). The general factor of personality: A meta-analysis of Big Five intercorrelations and a criterion-related validity study. Journal of Research in Personality, 44(3), 315-327.

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