How Universal Is the General Factor of Personality? An Analysis of the Big Five in Forager Farmers of the Bolivian Amazon

Dimitri van der Linden, Curtis S. Dunkel, Aurelio J Figueredo, Michael Gurven, Christopher von Rueden, Michael Anthony Woodley of Menie

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In various personality models, such as the Big Five, a consistent higher order general factor of personality (GFP) can be identified. One view in the literature is that the GFP reflects general social effectiveness. Most GFP studies, however, have been conducted in Western, educated, industrialized, and rich democracies (WEIRD). Therefore, to address the question of the universality of the GFP, we test whether the GFP can also be identified in a preliterate indigenous sample of Tsimane by using self-reports, spouse reports, and interviewer ratings. In the Tsimane, a viable GFP could be identified and the intercorrelations between personality traits were significantly stronger than in samples from industrial countries. The GFP correlated with the ratings of social engagement. In addition, self and spouse ratings of the GFP overlapped. Overall, the findings are in line with the notion that the GFP is a human universal and a substantive personality factor reflecting social effectiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 1 2018



  • Big Five
  • cross-cultural comparisons
  • general factor of personality
  • indigenous
  • social effectiveness
  • Tsimane

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology

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