Talking about this study:

Schmitt, D. P., Allik, J., McCrae, R. R., & Benet-Martínez, V. (2007). The geographic distribution of Big Five personality traits: Patterns and profiles of human self-description across 56 nations. Journal of cross-cultural psychology, 38(2), 173-212.

This study acknowledges that cultural norms can affect how Big Five questionnaires are responded to, and therefore may affect the comparison of the Big Five data from one culture to another.

On the other hand, the authors of this study, as well as the other psychologists working with the Big Five, don't seem to consider that it constitutes an important caveat for the Big Five as a construct. I don't understand why. The Big Five is supposed to be generalizable from one individual to another, from one group to another, from one culture to another.

The solution proposed by the authors was :

For the construction of truly universal and cross-culturally transportable personality instruments, however, it will be necessary to measure these biases and response styles to take them into account and improve the construction of culture-fair measuring instruments.

To my knowledge, this idea prompted to create a Japan-adapted Big Five for instance.

But a possible rebuttal would be: may not this solution be ad-hoc?

The Big Five was created based on the lexical hypothesis, which uses texts to find out terms describing human personality, and then using statistical computation to find how these terms cluster together. Although I did not go over all the history of the Big Five creation, we could suppute that their creators being Western, they used western texts only to find these words, and the psychological clusters.

What if they had applied separately this method to each culture/language? Maybe we could have find completely different sets of personality dimensions from one geo-cultural areas to another.

Or what if they had mixed texts from a lot of different cultures? Maybe we could have find very different personality dimensions, or dimensions (neuroticism, extraversion) which description greatly differ from the one we have now in the current Big Five.



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