Structures of Personality Traits
  General description
June 1-5, 2009  

General description of the course

Central to the history of personality research has been the search for fundamental dimensions in terms of which psychological differences between individuals can be adequately described. Knowledge of such dimensions is important for both everyday and professional (clinical, educational, and organizational) assessment.

The course briefly reviews the history of the most important competing systems from the past and, and especially provides details on the mainstream approach towards trait-description of today, the so-called psycho-lexical approach. The main spin-off of the psycho-lexical approach is the Big Five model of personality.
Issues with the Big Five model relate to its sufficiency in covering the trait-domain, its universality, its horizontal and vertical structure, and its applicability. Most of the issues will be discussed.

In the course, the Big Five model is discussed and some alternatives, simple structure and circumplex structures (both theoretical and empirical), cross-cultural replicability, and the steps towards measuring models through inventories.