Numerous studies and meta-analyses have now confirmed that personality traits tend to correlate such that a general factor of personality (GFP) emerges. Nevertheless, there is an ongoing debate about what these correlations, and therefore the GFP, represents. One interpretation is that the GFP reflects a substantive factor that indicates general social effectiveness or emotional intelligence. Another interpretation is that the GFP merely is an artifact based on measurement or response bias. In the present paper, we elaborate on a selection of topics that are central to the debate about this construct. Specifically, we discuss (a) the GFP in relation to more specific personality dimensions (e.g., Big Five, facets), (b) the validity of the GFP and under what circumstances it seems to 'disappear', and (c) the theoretical and practical relevance of the general factor. Overall, the review should provide insight into the nature of the GFP and whether or not it represents a meaningful factor that can contribute to a better understanding of personality.

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Spanish Journal of Psychology
Department of Psychology

van der Linden, D, Dunkel, C.S, & Wu, P. (Peiqian). (2021). Is there a Meaningful General Factor of Personality?. Spanish Journal of Psychology. doi:10.1017/SJP.2021.2