On some limitations of personality psychology

…Big Five Conscientiousness was not found to correlate with mask wearing in a sample of thousands in Spain during the coronavirus epidemic (Barceló & Sheen, 2020). This was not treated by the authors as any kind of falsification of the Big Five, or even evidence against it. The abstract noun “conscientiousness” has a rich meaning, only part of which is captured by the Big Five, and only a tinier part of which is captured by the two-question methodology used here (“does a thorough job” and “tends to be lazy”). But Conscientiousness is often correlated to health behaviors, and is often said to predict them with various strengths, even though the questions in the survey focus on job performance and tidiness.

Here is the full essayby a literal banana,” interesting throughout.


OK do you have a model that has better predictive result?

the shame cult model has a predictable & reproducible result

"Estate agents across England will be banned from using the term ‘Master Bedroom’ over its supposedly racist connotations as the Black Lives Matter purges continue to sweep through the country"

I also came to say that "predictive validity" does not appear anywhere in this essay, and the word "predictive" occurs only once. It is almost as if this banana is wholly unaware of the literature on the topic.

The author claims repeatedly that the model deliberately makes absolutely no predictions

Yes, and everyone who uses the model for practical purposes breaks it into several factors and then measures the predictive validity of those constructs. Is that irrelevant?

this breakdown was sorta funny/sketchy
"One of the more surprising correlations replicated by Soto (2019) is between “Agreeableness” (Big Five) and “Heart Disease” (measured by a questionnaire about chest pain)."

Yes, agree. Author is certainly right that there's a lot of weird claims and that what it means to "validate" a model is frequently sketchy.

For those interested in background, here are the Big Five from a screen scrape:
" Many contemporary personality psychologists believe that there are five basic dimensions of personality, often referred to as the "Big 5" personality traits. The five broad personality traits described by the theory are extraversion (also often spelled extroversion), agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.

Trait theories of personality have long attempted to pin down exactly how many personality traits exist. Earlier theories have suggested a various number of possible traits, including Gordon Allport's list of 4,000 personality traits, Raymond Cattell's 16 personality factors, and Hans Eysenck's three-factor theory. "

I like Allport's list. Try memorizing that for an exam!

My personality is such that I could never believe in standardized personality testing, and especially not any Big Five.

Good points. I myself think masks can be very important in times like the ones we are going through right now. However, I wonder if there is not more to it. Recently, I have been watching CGTN, Beijing's regime's English-language official news mouthpiece and it has been clear that Beijing's ruling cabal has stepped out the anti-American propaganda to weaken American resolve. I think we should immediatelly offer China's neighbours total garantees.

I am Irwin Rogers, a retired Project Management Specialist from Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and I agree that the Red Chinese need to be contained. I believe our allies in Brazil offer the best path forward and we should look to Herr President Captain Bolsonaro for guidance in these matters.

Good point. Brazil's leader, President Captain Bolsonaro has shown the right conception of the role of its country in any anti-Chinese endeafours. I think we should twke heed of his advice and send weapons and other important supplies to Brazil.

check this out
it might be important
Addie Rose Krug***

I've been in a situation the last couple weeks where I must (finally) wear the mask continuously for 7 hours at a stretch. That mask, which starts out so crisp and newly-washed and hopeful, feels like about the last thing one would want to be in contact with by the end of that stretch; the effect rather like a petri dish pressed close to one's face. Also, I've noticed that when I've sneezed a time or two, it was absolutely natural to pull the mask away from my face. I defy anyone to actually sneeze or cough for any length of time, into the mask.

It hasn't surprised me that my city's universal mask-wearing has correlated with a greatly increased number of positive tests. "Masks save lives!" If there's false consciousness, might there also be false conscientiousness?

Masks are the condom of this pandemic. They fail regularly to accomplish what they are intended for, they are uncomfortable and annoying to use, to the point that they won't be used.

People who should know better think that hectoring people to use them is going to solve the problem.

It didn't then, and it won't now. If you are smart come up with a better solution.

In an old post on IQ and five factors I suggest that the respective instruments measure human performance in the way analogous to the way, for example, acceleration measures automobile performance. Yes, there's something there, but the measurement tells you nothing about the mechanisms underlying the performance. Here's the analogy:

The analogy I have in mind is that of automobile performance. Automobiles are complex assemblies of mechanical, electrical, electronic and (these days) computational devices. We have various ways of measuring the overall performance of these assemblages.

Think of acceleration as a measurement of an automobile’s performance. It’s certainly not the only measurement; but it is real, and that’s all that concerns me, As measurements go, this is a pretty straightforward one. There’s no doubt that automobiles do accelerate and that one can measure that behavior. But, just where in the overall assemblage is one to locate that capability?

Does the automobile have a physically compact and connected acceleration system? No. Given that acceleration depends, in part, on the mass of the car, anything in the car that has mass has some effect on the acceleration. Obviously enough the engine has a much greater effect on acceleration than the radio does. Note only does the engine contribute considerably more mass to the vehicle, but it is the source of the power needed to move the car forward. The transmission is also important, but so is the car’s external shape, which influences the amount of friction it must overcome. And so forth.

Some aspects of the automobile are clearly more important than others in determining acceleration. But, as a first approximation, it seems best to think of acceleration as a diffuse measure of the performance of the entire assemblage. As I’ve already indicated, there’s nothing particularly mysterious about what acceleration is, why it’s important, or how you measure it. Nor, for that matter, is there any particular mystery about how the automobile works and how various traits of components and subsystems affect acceleration. This is all clear enough, but that doesn’t alter the fact that we cannot clearly assign acceleration to some subsystem of the car. Acceleration is a global measure of performance.

Literary banana's article suggests it's worse than that. Interesting.

Not bad writing or analysis for a rude, literal banana. Who could have guessed that glib contemporary pop psychology (even or especially the academic versions thereof) could be so . . . fruity?

Heene's citation suggests adequately (with or without Popperian falsification [and what might Feyerabend's assessments of "Big Five" methodologies amount to?]) that "the personality psychology" of so many arbiters of and apologists for pop psychology amounts to a deep-seated craving for (unearned and undeserved) academic and social recognition: "This all too strong tendency to avoid falsification is probably deeply rooted in the scientifically unhealthy political/economical aspiration of psychology which keeps the machine for paper-producing and grant-funding well-oiled but also leading to a severe publication bias…" Heene's assessment here merits plentiful study and elucidation itself (using all the proper falsifiable methodologies at researchers' disposal, of course of course of course).

The Big Five a legitimate or valuable "logos of the psyche"? Looks extremely doubtful to this rude Irish potato.

(My humble working psychology thesis: "Human being--a fruit or vegetable with animal aspirations and a mineral destiny.")

i would focus on agreeableness and suggestibility when it comes to mask wearing patterns

That's not where I feel my mask wearing coming from. I feel like I'm a simple person on things like this. The virus is bad. Masks help defeat the virus. Wear masks.

(My personality is to be lazy generally, but to jump on actual problems immediately. The pandemic is an actual problem.)

Its a hoax by China, libtard. Wear the mask if you want. I makes you look like a puss(breaks down coughing)...

Isn’t it cute how grown adults have faith in anything from the psych or social science literature?

Did QAnon just go mainstream enough to become a serious policy and psychology question? Skip to the end if you want to cut to the chase:


It is really too weird for me. Either these people really are QAnon, or they think their Oath of Office is the time to shit post?

What has even happened to this country.

QAnon[a] (/kjuːəˈnɒn/) is a far-right conspiracy theory[7][8] detailing a supposed secret plot by an alleged "deep state" against U.S. President Donald Trump and his supporters.[9]

I think it's more than just a theory at this time (if limited to the definition above), especially see what Flynn just went through. Pretty much a fact now. And well documented.

Heh, so you heard it from Trumpian stalwart TMC.

At this point QAnon is just mainstream Trumpusm.

Low trust societies tend towards conspiratorial and magical thinking. It's a natural step in our (d)evolution.

A large percentage of people in Latin America believe the CIA is responsible for hurricanes and tropical storms. A large percentage of people in Arab countries believe Jews are responsible for their terrible governance and poverty. A large percentage of people in SE Asia believe their local Chinese populations are responsible for all sorts of maladies from poverty to disease.

Large swathes of US based leftists believe whites are responsible for everything from illness to bacteria.

The Big Three, respect, empathy, and being concerned for others' well being, is not on the list. Indeed, in some circles the Big Three is often equated with weakness. The Spanish, as we know, are not what one would call weak - they value an image of strength. Like Trump and His followers.

"Perhaps the most important and surprising accomplishment of the Five Factor Model is hiding the fact that such research is not taking place within the field of social psychology."

There are many factors not covered by big 5, not least of which is risk aversion or risk loving which are well established and studied.

what sorta personality type decides to defund the police at the beginning of a violent crime wave - (67 peeps shot in chicago in less than 72 hours}
could be the frittata personality type

My work is tangentially related to I/O Psych, and my non-expert understanding is that nobody thinks The Big Five model, by itself, is predictive. The big personality testing companies compete on the factor models they create out of the Big Five, breaking those five into a dozen or so distinct factors.

In practice: the testing companies have their constructs; they have behavioral questions to measure them (preferably a forced choice assessment rather than a Likert scale); employers do some kind of job analysis to define competencies and align them with work behaviors; you use the assessments to measure what you're looking for; you do a validation study to see how predictive the assessment is over time.

Now, if you do that, you'll find that Meyer's Briggs and astrology reliably fail to predict job performance. And you'll find that personality assessments from people like Hogan, Pearson, etc. (ETS used to have one) do longitudinal validation studies to show that using their assessments reliably predicts x, y, z. The validation studies either confirm or falsify the reliability of the construct, e.g. when used for the selection of employees. What's bad about that? What's the "more scientific" alternative?

Question: what factor predicts why some refuse to wear masks (or repeatedly comments n websites) in order to be disruptive?

It strikes me if this testing might be more in vogue for roles that have fewer natural performance metrics.

For a salesman you're going to look at sales, right? You're not going to say "he's been underperforming, but his personality looks right."

Maybe. I think they're also used for selection of new candidates when you likely don't have a clear/reliable record of past performance, and you are trying to predict performance more reliably than a random interviewer's "gut feeling about this guy."

we understand harvard uses personality tests to lower the number of asians admitted to harvard

It seems to me that the purest form of social science is eugenics.

We are not supposed to notice that the implicit goal of all social science is to marginalize the weak/vulnerable through methods of classification that are meaningful only to the strong/powerful.

These classifications are expressed in (unstated/unacknowledged) policy goals to eliminate people with undesirable classifications.

All the BS math & statistics are simply window dressing .

And is any psychology of any value at all in predicting any individual's future behavior?

Of course, statistical analysis of group behaviors will produce correlations, but doesn't any sufficiently large data set produce plenty of (mostly meaningless) correlations?

Just because physics can predict the next solar eclipse (etc.) doesn't mean psychology can predict much of anything.

i.q. was a metric that seemed to be a reproducible positive predictor of academic success before it got canceled by gender theorists

If it hadn't been a success they wouldn't have needed to cancel it.

sorta like how the SATS reproduced and got cancelled

I wonder if there is any connection between a literal banana and the long defunct fafblog. A few things that caught my attention, but might just be coincidental. Picture of of crab ~ Infinite lobster. The tone of this tweet e.g. "I didn’t expect MY scientific beliefs to be challenged, sobs banana who voted for the Scientific Beliefs Getting Challenged Party" and the construction of "voted for the Scientific Beliefs Getting Challenged Party". And of course, the Anthropomorphism of the entity that is author.

Anyway, the voice feels a bit familiar, and it is nice to hear it , or something like it, again.

Was there any utility in dividing the material world up into air, earth, fire, and water for centuries? Honest question.

Big Five seems like a primitive way of understanding human psychology, but it's not arbitrary. I guess I'm in the "better than nothing camp", but handle with care obviously. Also worth mentioning that there is a lot to the study of psychology beyond personality.

I would be embarrassed to publish a study correlating answers to a self-reported evaluation of one's own performance on two questions as saying anything about personality and behavior. I would also think that neuroticism (properly measured) might be better predictive.

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