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Do early life experiences predict variation in the general factor of personality (GFP)?

Cite this dataset

Manson, Joseph; Chua, Kristine Joy; Lukaszewski, Aaron (2021). Do early life experiences predict variation in the general factor of personality (GFP)? [Dataset]. Dryad.


Evolutionary approaches to examine human personality variation have used the Big Five as given, tested higher order latent structures like the Big Two or the General Factor of Personality (GFP), or applied domain-specific psychological adaptations. Yet, debates regarding the adaptive significance of personality variation are ongoing. We focus on latent factor models and test adaptationist hypotheses linking facultative responses of the GFP, its subparts (i.e., metatrait alpha), and extraversion to early life experiences in 366 U.S. undergraduates. To address the problem of shared method variance, we assessed Big Five personality traits using both self-report and stranger-rating from brief videotaped interviews. Structural equation modeling, from the self-reported Big Five dimensions only, revealed a well-fitting GFP, which was related to father-closeness. A GFP comprised of the other-rated Big Five dimensions could not be extracted. Results from metatrait alpha were also unsupported. Lastly, we found some support for an alternative hypothesis that extraversion (men only) is ontogenetically calibrated to physical phenotypic traits that affect individuals’ bargaining power. Our findings cast doubt on the value of the GFP as a valid construct. We discuss how the field of personality science may benefit from adopting a bottom-up as opposed to a top-down approach.

Usage notes

See GFPdataReadMe.txt file.