Mccrae & Costa's Five-Factor Model

Topics: Big Five personality traits, Personality psychology, Psychology Pages: 7 (2384 words) Published: October 8, 2012
McCrae & Costa's Five-Factor Model

McCrae &Costa’s Five-Factor model of personality has become the dominant conception of personality structure (1985, 1987, and 1997). The Big Five Personality traits are said to be predictive of some kinds of behaviour such as honesty, job performance, and procrastination. Critically discuss the relevance of this understanding of personality to Occupational Testing.

McCrae and Costa’s Five-Factor model of personality is said to be predictive in certain behaviours such as honesty, job performance and procrastination. This Five-Factor model applies to organisational testing because personality is a crucial part in understanding the interests and abilities of an applicant within a business. There have been several criticisms of the Big Five and how accurately it can describe a person’s future performance. These criticisms will be discussed in length in this essay. The essay will also consider the usefulness of the Big Five within psychological assessments. Personality can be defined as “the dynamic organisation of systems that determine the individual’s characteristic patterns of behaviour, thought, and feeling” (Sibaya & Nicholas, Personality, 2008). Simply put one can describe personality as the aspects of a person which make them unique (Sibaya & Malcolm, 2003). Personality attributes have successfully been studied over centauries and investigators have concluded that the personality domain can be best described by five “super ordinate constructs” (Digman, 1990). A personality trait is “a durable disposition to behave in a particular way” and the five-factor model has become the dominant idea of a personality structure (Weiten, 2007). The five-factor model of personality came about as a result of Hans Eysenck’s two dimensions of personality. Eysenck’s theory comprised of neuroticism-stability and extraversion-introversion and he later added the third dimension known as psychoticism (Sibaya & Malcolm, 2003). Eysenck’s theory also concluded that personality traits could largely be determined by genetics (Sibaya & Malcolm, 2003). Eysenck’s theory of personality dimensions was a “precursor of the five-factor model” developed by Costa and McCrae (Sibaya & Malcolm, 2003). The five-factor model can be seen as the most recent approach to personality and personality traits. Costa and McCrae argue that personality traits derive from five higher order traits. These traits are now known as the “Big-Five” (Weiten, 2007). Similar to Eysenck’s view on personality traits Costa and McCrae concluded that genetics play a substantial role in personality (Digman, 1990). An example of genetics playing a role in the development in personality traits can be seen in the study of twins. Jim Lewis and Jim Springer were identical twins separated at birth in 1940 (Sibaya & Malcolm, 2003). These twins were later reunited and research showed that they had similar personality traits. The twins both drove the same model car; they both smoked heavily and liked the same brand of cigarettes (Sibaya & Malcolm, 2003). A further impact of the five-factor model is that it has shown in studies that this personality study applies across cultures and is widely identifiable in different cultures around the world (Weiten, 2007). The five-factor model states that there are five core personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. These form a mnemonic, OCEAN, which is often used for remembering the personality traits (Sibaya & Malcolm, 2003). Openness applies to the openness one would have to an experience. Openness is often associated with traits such as curiosity, imagination and flexibility (Weiten, 2007). McCrae states that openness can determine one’s political attitudes or ideologies (Weiten, 2007). Conscientiousness relates to traits involving well disciplined and well organised people and is associated with people being diligent within the workplace (Weiten, 2007)....
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