The Five-Factor Framing of Personality and Beyond: Some Ruminations
The five-factor conceptualization of personality has been presented as all-embracing in understanding personality and has even received authoritative recommendation for understanding early development. I raise various concerns regarding this popular model. More specifically, (a) the atheoretical nature of the five-factors, their cloudy measurement, and their inappropriateness for studying early childhood are discussed; (b) the method (and morass) of factor analysis as the exclusive paradigm for conceptualizing personality is questioned and the continuing nonconsensual understandings of the five-factors is noted; (c) various unrecognized but successful efforts to specify aspects of character not subsumed by the catholic five-factors are brought forward; and (d) transformational developments in regard to inventory assessment of personality are mentioned. I conclude by suggesting that repeatedly observed higher order factors hierarchically above the proclaimed five may promise deeper biological understanding of the origins and implications of these superfactors.