Interpersonal perceptions of the five-factor model of personality: An examination using the structural summary method for circumplex data

Emily B. Ansell, Aaron L. Pincus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Research investigating the structural convergence of the Interpersonal Circumplex (IPC; Wiggins, 1979, 1995) with the Five Factor Model (FFM; Costa & McCrae, 1992) of personality has predominantly focused on the traits of Agreeableness and Extraversion. The characteristics of the other three FFM traits: Neuroticism, Openness, and Conscientiousness are often regarded as largely intrapsychic. This study assessed interpersonal perceptions of the FFM traits emphasized in target descriptions by examining respondents' ratings of a target's interpersonal style. In an attempt to isolate the interpersonal aspects of each FFM trait, descriptions of fictional individuals were created that contained information relevant to being extremely high or low on a single FFM trait. Female and male versions were created to ensure gender has no effect on the interpersonal perceptions of the fictitious individual. The 462 participants received a paragraph description of an individual and were instructed to rate the individual on the Interpersonal Adjective Scales (IAS; Wiggins, 1995) based on the target description. Their responses were evaluated using Gurtman's (1994) structural summary approach to describe circumplex data. Based on the results for Extraversion and Agreeableness targets, the descriptions appear to be a valid approach in eliciting previous empirically supported interpersonal perceptions of the FFM. A 5 (Trait) × 2 (Polarity) × 2 (Gender) MANOVA found significant main effects for trait and polarity, and a significant trait × polarity interaction. No gender differences were found. The consistent fit of ratings data to the circumplexical cosine curve examined within the structural summaries supports propositions by several researchers that all FFM traits contain agentic and communal qualities as measured by the IAS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-201
Number of pages35
JournalMultivariate Behavioral Research
Issue number2 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Interpersonal perceptions of the five-factor model of personality: An examination using the structural summary method for circumplex data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this