Five-Factor Theory and personality development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Five-Factor Theory distinguishes between two layers of stable personality characteristics. Basic tendencies are defined as underlying dispositions that are isolated from any external influences and thereby develop according to an intrinsic, genetically driven program. This claim is supported by findings that the co-variation structures of personality characteristics are similar in different cultural backgrounds, as are age-differences in the scores of tests that attempt to tap basic tendencies. Furthermore, there is a lack of robust evidence regarding specific environmental factors that could contribute to changes in basic tendencies. However, basic tendencies are hypothesized to interact with environment to produce another layer of personality, mental structures called characteristic adaptations. Therefore, external influences can influence personality development according to FFT, but this happens at the level of characteristic adaptations rather than at the level of basic tendencies. Further research is required to empirically distinguish between developments at the two layers of personality.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPersonality Development Across the Life-Span
EditorsJule Specht
Place of PublicationSan Diego
ISBN (Electronic)9780128047613
ISBN (Print)9780128046746
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2017


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