Conscientiousness: a Review

Topics: Big Five personality traits, Personality psychology, Trait theory Pages: 6 (1806 words) Published: November 28, 2008
Conscientiousness: A review


A major contribution of our personality is an essential trait known as Conscientiousness. It was first grouped in the Five Factor Model personality and the circumplex model of interpersonal behavior 40 years ago by well known psychologists named Tupes and Christal(1961) (McCrae and Costa,1985).Recent developments on the work were carried on by several other psychologists like McCrae and Costa (1985a), Digman and Inouye (1986), Hogan (1983), and Peabody and Goldberg(1989) (Paul D. Trapnell and Jerry S. Wiggins 1990). Conscientiousness can be defined as “governing, persevering, unselfish behavior and impelling the individual to duty as conceived by his (or her) culture. A Conscientious person is honest; know what is right and generally does it, even if no one is watching him (or her); does not tell lies or attempt to deceive others, respects others; respects others property. An unconscientious person is somewhat unscrupulous not too careful about standards of right and wrong where personal desires are concerned, tells lies and is given to little deceits; does not respects other’s property.” (Cattell, R. (1965).Penguin.p. 63. ).Conversely, According to (Goldberg 1990, 1993) the positive factors he included in his meta analysis finding were “conventional” and “traditional” and the negative factors were “unconventional”, “rebellious” and “non-conforming”. Conscientiousness in simple terms can also be described as a conception that parents try to generate in their children: that is be on time, keep the room clean, keep things neat and in order etc.” (Loevinger Jane (1994). Conscientiousness is often categorised in terms of stability and levels. Longitudinal studies have been conducted in order to determine stability of conscientiousness over the life span. These studies offered exceptional opportunities to examine the stability of personality from childhood to midlife with measures of conscientiousness. (Goldberg and Hampson 2006) Many Psychologists look at different aspects of this essential personality trait. This paper will be examining the important issues researched previously on measures, stability, biological and environmental influences, correlation factors and causes and consequences of Conscientiousness.

Measures of Conscientiousness:
There are numerous methods used to measure levels of this trait, determining whether the person is likely to be low or high in conscientiousness. These methods would include personality testing by self-reports or S data, Informant’s report or I data, L data “life reports”. (Funder D.C, 2004,2001,1997). Several instruments were created by researchers to apply the methods of measuring the Five Factor Personality Traits including: Personality Inventory Scales and Q-sets. Among all the methods Self-reports and peer rating are most commonly used due to the nature of the questionnaires designed in Personality Inventory Scales. (McCrae & John, 1992). Here are a few inventory scales used by many psychologists for personality measures: “Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI),the California Psychological Inventory (CPI),the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF), the Guilford-Zimmerman Temperament Survey (GZTS), and the Maudsley Personality Inventory (along with its successors, the Eysenck Personality Inventory, or EPI, and the Eysenck Pesonality Questionnaire, or EPQ and the California Q-sets.” (McCrae and Costa,1985,Page 710.)

These instruments were mostly questionnaire or adjectives based models and were used to measure the levels of conscientiousness and other traits by self and peer reports. A widely used instrument by most of the psychologists in recent times is the Revised NEO Personality Inventory Scale. It was designed to measure specific personality traits like Neuroticism, Extraversion and Openness to Experience, agreeableness and Conscientiousness.(McCrae and Costa,1985) In a recent article FFPI (Five...

References: Costa, McCrae ,Parker, Mills,(2002). Personality Trait Development From Age 12 to Age 18: Longitudinal,Cross-Sectional, and Cross-Cultural Analyses. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology In the public domain 2002, Vol. 83, No. 6, 1456–1468.
Costa, P. T. Jr. and McCrae, R. R. (1995). `Domains and facets: Hierarchical personality
assessment using the Revised NEO Personality Inventory ', Journal of Personality Assessment, 64: 21±50
COSTA, McCRAE,(1998). Six approaches to the explication of facet-level traits: examples from conscientiousness. European Journal of Personality Eur. J. Pers. 12: 117±134, 1998.
COSTA, McCRAE(1985), Updating Norman 's "Adequate Taxonomy": Intelligence and
Personality Dimensions in Natural Language and in Questionnaires
De Raad, B. and Szirma k, S. (1994). `The search for the ``Big Five ' ' in a non-Indo-European
language: The Hungarian trait structure and its relationship to the EPQ and the PTS ',
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