16 Personality Factors

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16 PF is the standard abbreviation for the 16 Personality Factors multivariately-derived by psychologist Raymond Cattell.

Below is a table outlining this model.


[edit] Raymond Cattell's 16 Personality Factors (16 PF)

Descriptors of Low Range Primary Factor Descriptors of High Range
Impersonal, distant, cool, reserved, detached, formal, aloof


Warmth Warm, outgoing, attentive to others, kindly, easy going, participating, likes people


Concrete thinking, lower general mental capacity, less intelligent, unable to handle abstract problems (Lower Scholastic Mental Capacity) Reasoning Abstract-thinking, more intelligent, bright, higher general mental capacity, fast learner

(Higher Scholastic Mental Capacity)

Reactive emotionally, changeable, affected by feelings, emotionally less stable, easily upset

(Lower Ego Strength)

Emotional Stability Emotionally stable, adaptive, mature, faces reality calmly

(Higher Ego Strength)

Deferential, cooperative, avoids conflict, submissive, humble, obedient, easily led, docile, accommodating


Dominance Dominant, forceful, assertive, aggressive, competitive, stubborn, bossy


Serious, restrained, prudent, taciturn, introspective, silent


Liveliness Lively, animated, spontaneous, enthusiastic, happy go lucky, cheerful, expressive, impulsive (Surgency)
Expedient, nonconforming, disregards rules, self indulgent

(Low Super Ego Strength)

Rule-Consciousness Rule-conscious, dutiful, conscientious, conforming, moralistic, staid, rule bound

(High Super Ego Strength)

Shy, threat-sensitive, timid, hesitant, intimidated (Threctia) Social Boldness Socially bold, venturesome, thick skinned, uninhibited (Parmia)
Utilitarian, objective, unsentimental, tough minded, self-reliant, no-nonsense, rough (Harria) Sensitivity Sensitive, aesthetic, sentimental, tender minded, intuitive, refined (Premsia)
Trusting, unsuspecting, accepting, unconditional, easy (Alaxia) Vigilance Vigilant, suspicious, skeptical, distrustful, oppositional (Protension)
Grounded, practical, prosaic, solution oriented, steady, conventional (Praxernia) Abstractedness Abstract, imaginative, absent minded, impractical, absorbed in ideas (Autia)
Forthright, genuine, artless, open, guileless, naive, unpretentious, involved (Artlessness) Privateness Private, discreet, nondisclosing, shrewd, polished, worldly, astute, diplomatic (Shrewdness)
Self-Assured, unworried, complacent, secure, free of guilt, confident, self satisfied (Untroubled) Apprehension Apprehensive, self doubting, worried, guilt prone, insecure, worrying, self blaming (Guilt Proneness)
Traditional, attached to familiar, conservative, respecting traditional ideas


Openness to Change Open to change, experimental, liberal, analytical, critical, free thinking, flexibility


Group-oriented, affiliative, a joiner and follower dependent

(Group Adherence)

Self-Reliance Self-reliant, solitary, resourceful, individualistic, self sufficient


Tolerated disorder, unexacting, flexible, undisciplined, lax, self-conflict, impulsive, careless of social rules, uncontrolled

(Low Integration)

Perfectionism Perfectionistic, organized, compulsive, self-disciplined, socially precise, exacting will power, control, self-sentimental

(High Self-Concept Control)

Relaxed, placid, tranquil, torpid, patient, composed low drive

(Low Ergic Tension)

Tension Tense, high energy, impatient, driven, frustrated, over wrought, time driven.

(High Ergic Tension)

Primary Factors and Descriptors in Cattell's 16 Personality Factor Model (Adapted From Co≈n & Rieke, 1994).

Cattell referred to these 16 factors as primary factors, as opposed to the so-called "Big Five" factors which he considered global factors. All of the primary factors correlate with global factors and could therefore be considered subfactors within them.

[edit] Origins

In 1936 Gordon Allport and H. S. Odbert hypothesized that:

Those individual differences that are most salient and socially relevant in people’s lives will eventually become encoded into their language; the more important such a difference, the more likely is it to become expressed as a single word.

This statement has become known as the Lexical Hypothesis.

Allport and Odbert had worked through two of the most comprehensive dictionaries of the English language available at the time, and extracted 18,000 personality-describing words. From this gigantic list they extracted 4500 personality-describing adjectives which they considered to describe observable and relatively permanent traits.

In 1946 Raymond Cattell used the emerging technology of computers to analyse the Allport-Odbert list. He organized the list into 181 clusters and asked subjects to rate people whom they knew by the adjectives on the list. Using factor analysis Cattell generated twelve factors, and then included four factors which he thought ought to appear. The result was the hypothesis that individuals describe themselves and each other according to sixteen different, independent factors.

With these sixteen factors as a basis, Cattell went on to construct the 16PF Personality Questionnaire, which remains in use by universities and businesses for research, personnel selection and the like. Although subsequent research has failed to replicate his results, and it has been shown that he retained too many factors, the current 16PF takes these findings into account and is considered to be a very good test. In 1963, W.T. Norman replicated Cattell’s work and suggested that five factors would be sufficient.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

16 Personality Factors

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