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NEO Personality Inventory
November 9, 2006
Name of the test/ Purpose/ Publisher
The NEO Personality Inventory, published by Dr. Paul Costa and Dr. Robert McCrae, is a personality test designed to measure five major personality domains: neuroticism, extraversion, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. The test originally only measured the first three domains and then the other two were also included. Each of the domains is measured by facets that describe the overall dimension, and therefore allow for more specific results. Neuroticism assesses adjustment and emotional stability and is described with anxiety, depression, hostility, impulsiveness, self-consciousness, and vulnerability. Extraversion assesses interpersonal interaction and activity level and is characterized with warmth, gregariousness, assertiveness, activity, excitement-seeking, and positive emotions. The openness domain measures openness to new experiences and is labeled with fantasy, aesthetics, feelings, actions, ideas, and values. Agreeableness measures interpersonal orientation and conscientiousness assesses organization and motivation in behavior.
The construction methodology is composed of both deductive and inductive reasoning. Neuroticism, extraversion, and openness initially were used in this test because they were three dimensions found from the Sixteen PF test when the personality factors were cluster-analyzed. Agreeableness and conscientiousness were added to the test after the publishers conducted an analysis of trait terms in the English language. They created the eighteen item scales for those two domains, which completed the construction of the test. The researchers used rational and theoretical methods as well as factor analytic methodology.
The NEO Personality Inventory is used to measure personality traits and is often used in practical situations. It can be used to study relationships between personality and psychological constructs as well as in clinical, counseling, and educational settings. When using the self report and observer rating forms the results are a cross validation and is useful when trying to assess a person’s personality from different perspectives. It is important to remember that when reading the results one must not interpret them in a simplistic manner or categorize the person.
Evidence of reliability
The NEO Personality Inventory has strong reliability and the correlation statistics were significant at p < .05 and most significant at p < .001. Neuroticism, extraversion, and openness all had internal consistency reliability ranging from .85 to .93. Their test-retest reliabilities were also high ranging from .86 to .91. The 18 facet scales had a .60 to.82 internal consistency reliabilities. Agreeableness and conscientiousness ranged from .56 to .84 for internal consistency reliability. However, agreeableness has the least reliability out of the five personality dimensions. Years after the publication, Costa and McCrae reported internal consistencies of .87 to .93 for neuroticism, extraversion, and openness and six-year test-retest reliabilities of .82 to .83.
Evidence of validity
McCrae and Costa conducted a varimax rotation factor analysis on the eighteen facets and the findings were very consistent with the structure of the test and the five personality dimensions. Factor analysis was used in item selection, which assures that the items are representative of the domains being measured. Also, a validimax rotation factor analysis was conducted to increase convergent validity and decrease discriminate validity. Concurrent validity for the NEO- PI is also very high with correlation between the test and other self-report measures ranging from .57 to .64. Research also shows strong validity when observers or people close to the subject provide some of the same traits as the inventory. The two versions of the test, Form S and Form R, allow the subjects more of an opportunity to accurately measure their personality. Interviews, usually forty minutes, have also been very useful in assessing integrative results about the subject’s personality.
Neuroticism is highly correlated with factors from the MMPI and the Eysenck Personality Inventory Neuroticism Scale. Extraversion had a .55 and .50 correlation with the MMPI and a .69 correlation with the Eysenck Extraversion Scale. Openness correlated highly with .62 with the CQS and .72 and .69 with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Furthermore, there was high construct validity relating the five domains to coping, health, well being, and self-esteem. People high in neuroticism tended to self-blame, cope with hostility, withdraw, and act indecisively. Extroverts were more likely to rationalize and be optimistic and humorous. When researching the relationship between the five dimensions and vocational interests, Costa and McCrae found that extraversion correlated with enterprising interests and openness related to artistic vocations.
Pros and cons of the test according to reviewers
The NEO-PI is one of the most widely used personality tests, because it has both high reliability and validity. It does not take long to administer and score and it is easily accessible and available for all people. However, one of the major problems with the inventory is that most of its samples are adults, and most of them are better educated than the average adult. College students are now being used as samples more often but that could potentially limit who is being recruited to participate in the studies. The new short form, the NEO-FFI has also been publicized but is not as reliable and valid as the original test. Other psychologists also state that more research needs to be conducted for the improvement of the agreeableness and conscientious facets. They believe that only the first three dimensions are fully developed and the openness scale specifically seems too vague in what it measures.
Review of the NEO Personality Inventory
: University of Tulsa,
Dollinger, Stephen & Leong, Frederick.
NEO Personality Inventory
. Southern University
at Carbondale, Illinois.
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