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Thread: Big Five personality traits by country

  1. #1
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Post Big Five personality traits by country

    Many psychological studies have attempted to define a sort of average national character based on aggregated results from the Big Five personality traits. Many of them are behind paywalls. One of the most recent studies was conducted by Petri Kajonius and Erik Mac Giolla (2017). It is also possibly the largest ever with 130,602 participants from 22 countries (average of 6000 participants by country).

    N = Neuroticism
    E = Extraversion
    O = Openness to experience
    A = Agreeableness
    C = Conscientiousness





    I have sorted the countries by score for each trait. Those in red have a negative score (meaning the opposite of the trait). Blue means a score of 0 (neutral).

    Ranking of countries by neuroticism

    1. United Kingdom
    2. Ireland
    3. Singapore
    4. Malaysia & South Africa
    5. Australia
    6. Canada
    7. Finland, India & New Zealand
    8. USA
    9. Hong Kong
    10. South Korea
    11. France
    12. Mexico
    13. Germany
    14. Norway
    15. Sweden
    16. Netherlands
    17. China
    18. Romania


    => English-speaking countries are more neurotic (anxious, stressed, irritable, depressed), with the UK on top.

    Ranking of countries by extraversion

    1. Mexico
    2. Romania
    3. Philippines
    4. USA
    5. India
    6. Ireland
    7. Australia
    8. Netherlands & South Africa
    9. France & Germany
    10. Singapore
    11. Canada
    12. United Kingdom
    13. Norway
    14. New Zealand
    15. Sweden
    16. Hong Kong
    17. China
    18. South Korea
    19. Finland


    => Hot and sunny countries tend to be more extraverted, except in East Asia.

    Ranking of countries by openness to experience

    1. France
    2. Finland
    3. Sweden
    4. Norway
    5. Netherlands
    6. Germany & Romania
    7. Ireland
    8. Mexico
    9. India
    10. United Kingdom
    11. New Zealand
    12. Australia
    13. South Africa
    14. Canada
    15. Philippines
    16. China
    17. USA
    18. Hong Kong
    19. Malaysia, Singapore & South Korea


    => Interestingly the countries most open to experience happen to be those with strong social security (and high taxes) and more egalitarian values.

    Ranking of countries by agreeableness

    1. Ireland
    2. Australia & Norway
    3. Sweden
    4. India
    5. Canada
    6. New Zealand
    7. Netherlands & USA
    8. South Africa
    9. United Kingdom
    10. Romania
    11. Philippines
    12. France
    13. Malaysia
    14. Finland
    15. Mexico
    16. Germany
    17. China
    18. Hong Kong
    19. South Korea


    => Scandinavia & Ireland on top alongside immigration countries (Australia, NZ, Canada, USA).

    Ranking of countries by conscientiousness

    1. Romania
    2. USA
    3. India
    4. Mexico
    5. China
    6. South Africa
    7. Germany
    8. Canada
    9. Malaysia
    10. Australia
    11. New Zealand, Netherlands & Philippines
    12. France & Hong Kong
    13. Sweden
    14. Norway
    15. South Korea
    16. Singapore
    17. Ireland
    18. United Kingdom
    19. Finland


    => Harder to find a pattern.


    Another large study is Schmitt et al. (2007), which involved over 17,000 people from 56 different nations around the world (average of 300 participants by country). Here is the summary table.




    Top 5 for Extraversion

    1. Serbia
    2. Croatia
    3. Turkey
    4. Indonesia
    5. Congo


    Top 5 for Agreeableness

    1. Congo
    2. Jordan
    3. Greece
    4. Botswana
    5. Ethiopia


    Top 5 for Conscientiousness

    1. Congo
    2. Ethiopia
    3. Tanzania
    4. Israel
    5. Zimbabwe


    Top 5 for Neuroticism

    1. Japan
    2. Argentina
    3. South Korea
    4. Belgium
    5. Brazil


    Top 5 for Openness

    1. Chile
    2. Belgium
    3. Bangladesh
    4. Estonia
    5. Romania


    The method differs between the two studies, but personally I find the former to be much more accurate. That is certainly because it has 20x more samples by country.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 20-07-21 at 18:18.
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  2. #2
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    How do you quantify these personality traits?
    Is the study only looking for statistical correlations or does it also look for a mechanism?

  3. #3
    Satyavrata Maciamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bicicleur 2 View Post
    How do you quantify these personality traits?
    Is the study only looking for statistical correlations or does it also look for a mechanism?
    It is based on a questionnaire. I have added a second study. You can download the paper (41 pages), which explains the methodology and lists the questions.

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