Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Convergence of Internal and External Structure for the California Child Q-Set

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Convergence of Internal and External Structure for the California Child Q-Set

Article excerpt

The language of personality traits includes single-word trait descriptors, and longer phrases or sentences. Evidence has accumulated that abstract, semantic relationships among single words have the same underlying structure as the empirical relationships when words are applied to individuals. The present study examines whether these two kinds of structure are also isomorphic for longer trait descriptors. Empirical descriptions and judgements of semantic similarity were collected among the descriptors comprising the California Child Q-set, or CCQ, and analysed with multidimensional scaling. Canonical correlation showed the solutions to be closely related to one another, and to independent sets of ratings available for the CCQ items. Informants' similarity judgements were not affected by the context in which they were made. The dominant dimensions of the solutions reproduce dimensions found previously for the single-word personality lexicon, indicating the two trait-descriptive languages to be closely parallel.

Keywords: big five, trait perception, internal structure, multidimensional scaling, California Child Q-set.

El lenguaje de rasgos de personalidad incluye a descriptores de rasgo de una sola palabra y frases u oraciones más largos. Hay evidencia acumulada de que las relaciones semánticas abstractas entre estas palabras tienen la misma estructura subyacente que las relaciones empíricas cuando las palabras aisladas se aplican a individuos. Este estudio explora si estas dos clases de estructuras son también isomorfas para descriptores de rasgo más largos. Se registraron las descripciones y los juicios empíricos de similitud semántica de los descriptores incluidos en el California Child Q-set (CCQ) y se analizaron con escalamiento multidimensional. La correlación canónica mostró que ambas soluciones están estrechamente relacionadas entre sí y con conjuntos independientes de puntuaciones disponibles para los ítems del CCQ. Los juicios de similitud de los informantes no estuvieron afectados por el contexto en el que fueron hechos. Las dimensiones dominantes de las soluciones reproducen otras dimensiones encontradas previamente en el léxico de personalidad de palabras únicas, indicando que los dos lenguajes de descripción de rasgos son cercanamente paralelos.

Palabras clave: cinco grandes, percepción de rasgo, estructura interna, escala multidimensional, California Child Q-set

Such is the human talent for linguistic invention that if some aspects of personality variation is important in human interaction and often talked about, then singleword descriptors should have entered the language to allow us to signal its presence or absence. In essence, this is the "lexical hypothesis" (Cattell, 1943). It appeals greatly to personality psychologists, since it implies that the language we speak is a distillation of psychological observations accrued across generations, so that a framework for personality description can be gleaned from assiduous study of the dictionary and Roget's Thesaurus. In consequence, a series of publications have confronted the vocabulary of personality, seeking to reduce it to a representative but manageably-sized lexicon, suitable for specifying an individual's position along the dimensions of 'trait space' (e.g. Goldberg, 1992; Peabody & Goldberg, 1989).

Other researchers have argued that some important facets of personality can only be specified by entire phrases (e.g. Block, 1961). If one-word descriptors exist for such aspects, they are too obscure or technical to enjoy wide currency. Conversely, the lexical hypothesis predicts that single-word descriptors and longer phrases occupy the same space and vary along the same dimensions, so that the choice of which to use for diagnostic or research purposes becomes one of convenience (Briggs, 1992), because both capture the same information. One difference is that it is difficult to determine how well an inventory of polylexemic trait descriptions samples the personality domain, since the pool of possible descriptors is openended, in contrast to the single-word vocabulary. …

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