In a large community sample (N=490), the Big Five were not orthogonal when modeled as latent variables representing the shared variance of reports from 4 different informants. Additionally, the standard higher-order factor structure was present in latent space: Neuroticism (reversed), Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness formed one factor, labeled Stability, and Extraversion and Openness/Intellect formed a second factor, labeled Plasticity. Comparison of two instruments, the Big Five Inventory and the Mini-Markers, supported the hypotheses that single-adjective rating instruments are likely to yield lower interrater agreement than phrase rating instruments and that lower interrater agreement is associated with weaker correlations among the Big Five and a less coherent higher-order factor structure. In conclusion, an interpretation of the higher-order factors is discussed, including possible neurobiological substrates.
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