Comparability of Self-Rated Personality Scores across Cultures: The Case of Conscientiousness (contribution to an invited symposium: Personality and Culture)

Rene Mõttus, A. Realo, Jüri Allik

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract / Description of output

An increasing amount of personality research is being carried out at the cultural level. Such research is based on the assumption that culture-level mean scores of personality traits are comparable. However, this assumption and the validity of the national mean scores of self- and other-reported personality traits has been recently challenged by showing that aggregated national scores have occasionally counter-intuitive relationships with supposedly relevant objective criteria. For instance, aggregate self-rated Conscientiousness scores correlate significantly negatively with many generally valued social outcomes such as GDP per capita, life expectancy, school enrollment, or health expenditure (Heine et al., 2008). A potential explanation for the counter-intuitive relationships is based on the idea that people anchor their self-ratings to the culture-specific normative levels of the respective traits. In other words, the counter-intuitive findings may result from culture-related differential item functioning, which makes aggregated national scores incomparable. In the present study, a simple strategy of disentangling variability in subjective ratings from variability in actual trait levels being rated (anchoring vignettes) is implemented in cross-cultural personality research. We will test for the cross-cultural variability in the reference-standard of personality traits by asking people from 19 different cultures to rate the same hypothetical persons on standard personality assessment instruments. The anchoring vignettes strategy allows for correcting subjective ratings for the particular type of DIF. Mean self-ratings of Conscientiousness of participating cultures are compared before and after correcting for the potential DIF. Finally, it will be tested whether such corrections enhance the validity of mean scores at the cultural level.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2010
Event15th European Conference on Personality - Brno, Czech Republic
Duration: 20 Jul 201024 Jul 2010


Conference15th European Conference on Personality
Country/TerritoryCzech Republic


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