The aim of this study which was conducted in the Inuit culture in northern Canada was to test the validity of the Five Factor personality model of the Big Five. The Inuit culture was chosen to test the cross-cultural validity of the Big-Five due to several reasons.
The first is that this was the first application of the Big Five
model in Inuit culture, the second is that even though Inuit are located in
Canada; their culture is not considered as a western culture
That said, did the results verify the universality and multicultural validity of the Big Five?
Was the hypothesis accepted, how was it accepted, what does that mean?
In the review of the literature and when designing this research, it was hypothesized that “A five factor structure congruent to the big five will appear in Inuit culture”. Despite some limitations, which were restricted to two items in this study, items 9 which should have correlated to openness and did not, and item 16 which should have correlated to agreeableness but instead also correlated to neuroticism, were the only two items that did not meet the expectation of the literature of the research. In conclusion 23 out of the 25 items of the survey of this research loaded onto their components as expected.
Moreover the principal component analysis revealed by compressing 25 variables into representative variables associated with each trait required the researchers to run principal component analysis, which tests the assumptions to ensure reliability. All correlations and covariance were greater than 0.62 as revealed by the Anti-image Matrices except for item 9 which wasn’t accepted with a score of 0.412
The factor analysis of the other hand also revealed that as expected, the variables which the research predicted would load onto their components do so, with the exception of item 9, which did not load onto any component and item 16, which should have loaded onto one component which what agreeableness, instead loaded also on another component, which was neuroticism.
Even though it is possible that a research design error could have
resulted in skewed results
Error in the results arising from unaccounted for confounding
variables is also likely, especially for item 16 which loaded onto two
components of agreeableness and neuroticism. In order to further expand of the
idea, the facets of those two traits were stated then compared to identify
possible confounds exclusive to the local culture. Agreeableness is comprised
of facets of trust, earnestness, altruism, cooperation, compliance, modestly,
sympathy, and compassion. Neuroticism on the other hand is comprised of
anxiety, irritability, immoderation, self-consciousness, and depression
Aside from the above stated limitations, this study has demonstrated the cross-cultural validity of the Big-Five as a universal measure of personality and the international personality item pool as a universal personality item pool which has been and can be translated into most languages.
Strengths, Limitations and Future Directions
This survey was conducted on a sample size that is comprised of
1006 participants from the Inuit culture of Canada from an age group that
ranges from 9 to 12 years of age. The first strength was that the sample size
was large enough to produce reliable and valid results since the KMO was >
Another strength was that the results were statistically
significant at P = 0.00 which well above the required level of P < 0.05. The
rationale behind setting the level of statistical significance at P<0.5 has
to do with what the scientific community perceives as acceptable level of error
However there were some issues that may compromise some of the validity of the results, the first is that not all factors loaded onto their components, where 2 factors out of the 25 which in percentage terms accounts for 8% of the factors did not load onto the expected components. As stated prior, this error in loading could have been a result of translation error or unaccounted for confounding variables specific to the local culture.
is the age group of the sample size which was children between the ages of 9
and 12. Even though all the legal and ethical requirements for conducting the
research was accounted for, it does not negate the fact that this age group
which is comprised of minors might not be able to evaluate abstract concepts
appropriately, which is what comprises the Big Five personality traits. Moreover,
children do not have a fully developed personality, some psychologists prefer
to address personality in childhood through temperaments, which is biologically
based with some overlap with the Big Five
In order to account for the limitations of this research, further
personality research should be conducted in the Inuit culture regarding the
local adaptation of the Big Five personality traits. Since the current research
was conducted on children aged 9 to 12, some highly recommended research which
should follow the current research into the adaptation of Big Five personality
traits in the Inuit culture are either a longitudinal or a cross-sectional
study. Those types of research are designed to study personality across the
lifespan as people age and personality develops
The research that was conducted on a sample of 1006 Inuit children aged 9 to 12 has validated the universality and cross-cultural applicability of the Big Five personality theory, by translating items from the international personality item pool into Inuktitut, which generated statistically significant results that accepted the presented hypothesis “A five factor structure congruent to the big five will appear in Inuit culture”. However there were some limitations to the research which could have risen from a failure in translation or confounding variables, were manifested by a failure to load 2 out of the 25 factors onto their respective components while conducting a factor analysis. This research’s limitation can be accounted for my conducting more personality research in Inuit culture by either using a different research design such as a longitudinal or cross-sectional study, or by using a different item pool such as the NEO personality inventory 3.
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