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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2010 Jan;98(1):160-73. doi: 10.1037/a0017184.

Only three factors of personality description are fully replicable across languages: a comparison of 14 trait taxonomies.

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Department of Psychology, University of Groningen, 9712 TS, Groningen, the Netherlands.


We tested the hypothesis that only 3 factors of personality description are replicable across many different languages if they are independently derived by a psycholexical approach. Our test was based on 14 trait taxonomies from 12 different languages. Factors were compared at each level of factor extraction with solutions with 1 to 6 factors. The 294 factors in the comparisons were identified using sets of markers of the 6-factor model by correlating the marker scales with the factors. The factor structures were pairwise compared in each case on the basis of the common variables that define the 2 sets of factors. Congruence coefficients were calculated between the varimax rotated structures after Procrustes rotation, where each structure in turn served as a target to which all other structures were rotated. On the basis of average congruence coefficients of all 91 comparisons, we conclude that factor solutions with 3 factors on average are replicable across languages; solutions with more factors are not.

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