PQA - Measuing the personal qualities and abilities of aspiring health professionals

Presentation at Seventh Australian Conference on Personality and Individual Differences,

27-29 November 2008, Bond University, Gold Coast, Queensland

Bore M, Munro D

Ten is better than five: Evidence in support of De Young, Quilty and Peterson's (2007) ten aspects of the Big Five.

A major research effort and debate in personality psychology has been the quest to determine the number of traits that actually exist. The weight of research suggests five big traits with each trait emerging from a number of obliquely related facets. While Digby (xx) reported extracting two higher level traits, more recently DeYoung, Quilty and Peterson (2007) have argued for and empirically extracted two orthogonally related mid-level traits for each of the Big Five which they labelled as the 10 'aspects'. Our own Big 5 research (n = 1341) has found support for the 10 aspects including evidence of the construct validity of each aspect and evidence of suppression (in this instance, the correlation of a big 5 trait with a marker variable being suppressed by one aspect of that trait). Based on our results we argue that, while the Big 5 are a convenient abstraction of data, the level of 10 aspects is a more realistic, accurate and useful representation of personality. The implications of this as an oblique model of personality traits are also discussed.