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Psychol Sci. 2008 Apr;19(4):309-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02085.x.

What do cross-national comparisons of personality traits tell us? The case of conscientiousness.

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University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


Much research contrasts self-reported personality traits across cultures. We submit that this enterprise is weakened by significant methodological problems (in particular, the reference-group effect) that undermine the validity of national averages of personality scores. In this study, behavioral and demographic predictors of conscientiousness were correlated with different cross-national measures of conscientiousness based on self-reports, peer reports, and perceptions of national character. The predictors correlated strongly with perceptions of national character, but not with self-reports and peer reports. Country-level self- and peer-report measures of conscientiousness failed as markers of between-nation differences in personality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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