The General Factor of Personality (GFP) as social effectiveness: Review of the literature


The General Factor of Personality (GFP) is a higher-order factor causing lower-order personality traits to show consistent correlations in a socially desirable direction. The literature on the GFP reveals that there are various scientific interpretations of this construct. One interpretation is that it is a substantive factor reflecting general social effectiveness and exerting a broad influence on behavior. Another interpretation is that it merely reflects methodological or statistical artifacts and has no further relevance for personality research. We review the empirical literature on the nature of the GFP, its possible links to evolutionary processes, and its relation to other constructs overlapping with social effectiveness. We conclude that the substantive interpretation of the GFP is the most plausible, whereas the notion that it is a psychologically meaningless methodological artifact would be rather difficult to uphold

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This paper was published in UCL Discovery.

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