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Multidimensional Scaling of Terms Used to Describe Personality

Gerjuoy, Herbert; Aaronson, Bernard S.
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Bulletin
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Factor Structure, Multidimensional Scaling, Personality Assessment, Personality Traits


Buss and Gerjuoy classified 293 personality-descriptive terms into 18 personality "dimensions." They reported "abnormality" and "intensity" scale values for each term. The present study multidimensionally scaled the highest- intensity, lowest-intensity, and lowest-abnormality terms from six Buss-Gerjuoy dimensions. Expert judges estimated the correlations among the personality traits referred to by these terms. The mean estimates had a two-dimensional configuration. One dimension was Abnormality; the other, Behavior Elicitation-Emission. Communications among psychologists should take into account psychologists' assumptions about trait intercorrelations. Psychologists may perceive personality descriptions as redundant if the traits specified are believed highly correlated. Individuals with trait combinations not fitting the consensual model should be explicitly so characterized.

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