A general factor of personality from multitrait-multimethod data and cross-national twins

J. Philippe Rushton, Trudy Ann Bons, Juko Ando, Yoon Mi Hur, Paul Irwing, Philip A. Vernon, K. V. Petrides, Claudio Barbaranelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Citations (Scopus)


In three studies, a General Factor of Personality (GFP) was found to occupy the apex of the hierarchical structure. In Study 1, a GFP emerged independent of method variance and accounted for 54% of the reliable variance in a multitrait-multi-method assessment of 391 Italian high school students that used self-, teacher-, and parent-ratings on the Big Five Questionnaire - Children. In Study 2, a GFP was found in the seven dimensions of Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory as well as the Big Five of the NEO PI-R, with the GFPtci correlating r = .72 with the GFPneo. These results indicate that the GFP is practically the same in both test batteries, and its existence does not depend on being extracted using the Big Five model. The GFP accounted for 22% of the total variance in these trait measures, which were assessed in 651 pairs of 14-to 30-year-old Japanese twins. In Study 3, a GFP accounted for 32% of the total variance in nine scales derived from the NEO PI-R, the Humor Styles Questionnaire, and the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire assessed in 386 pairs of 18- to 74-year-old Canadian and U.S. twins. The GFP was found to be 50% heritable with high scores indicating openness, conscientiousness, sociability, agreeableness, emotional stability, good humor and emotional intelligence. The possible evolutionary origins of the GFP are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-365
Number of pages10
JournalTwin Research and Human Genetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Aug


  • Big five
  • Big one
  • General factor of personality
  • Heritability
  • TEIQue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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