New article in Journal of Research in Personality: Just as WEIRD?

In the April issue of Journal of Research in Personality, we (Joseph A. Vitriol, Steven G. Ludeke and I) have an article titled Just as WEIRD? Personality traits and political attitudes among immigrant minorities. Here is the abstract:

A large body of literature has examined how personality traits relate to political attitudes and behavior. However, like many studies in personality psychology, these investigations rely on Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic (WEIRD) samples. Whether these findings generalize to minority populations remains underexplored. We address this oversight by studying if the observed correlations between personality traits and political variables using WEIRD respondents are consistent with that observed using immigrant minorities. We use the Immigrant panel (LISS-I panel) in the Netherlands with data on first- and second-generation immigrants from Western and non-Western countries. The results indicate that the association between personality and political outcomes are, with few exceptions, highly similar for immigrant minorities compared to the general population.

Here is the key figure from the article:

You can find the article online here. The replication material is available at GitHub, the Harvard Dataverse and the Open Science Framework.

Big Five personality traits in non-WEIRD settings

A new study, published in Science Advances, questions the validity of the Big Five personality traits outside of Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic (WEIRD) populations.

I was interviewed by New Scientist in order to give my take on the implications of the study. The article is available online.

Problems with the Big Five assessment in the World Values Survey

I have a new short paper titled Problems with the Big Five assessment in the World Values Survey in Personality and Individual Differences (co-authored with Steven Ludeke). In the paper, we examine basic psychometric properties of the Big Five personality traits included in Wave 6 of the World Values Survey. The abstract:

Publicly-available data from the World Values Survey (WVS) is an extremely valuable resource for social scientists, serving as the basis for thousands of research publications. The most recent assessment (Wave 6) was the first to assess Big Five personality traits, and this data has already been used in published research. In the present paper, we show for the first time that the Big Five data from WVS Wave 6 is extremely problematic: items from the same trait correlate negatively with each other as often as not, occasionally to truly extreme degrees. Particular caution is warranted for any future research aiming to use this data, as we do not identify any straightforward solution to the data’s challenges.

In Figure 2 in the paper, also presented below, we show the distribution of item-item correlations for the Big Five personality traits in all countries. Ideally, the item-item correlations would be positive and strong. However, in most cases, the correlations are weak and/or going in the wrong direction.

There are multiple potential problems with the data and, alas, we are unable to identify a single issue explaining why there is a problem and thus provide guidelines on how to correct it. Noteworthy, some blog posts examine the data in further detail and discuss issues such as coding errors, translation errors and acquiescence bias, e.g. Rene Bekkers blog post, Hunting Game: Targeting the Big Five, and Florian Brühlmanns blog post, Can we trust Big Five data from the WVS?.

Reproducibility material for the paper can be retrieved at GitHub and the Harvard Dataverse.