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Convergence of Internal and External Structure for the California Child Q-set

  • David Bimler (a1), John Kirkland (a1), Hiram E. Fitzgerald (a2) and Robert A. Zucker (a3)


The language of personality traits includes single-word trait descriptors, and longer phrases or sentences. Evidence has accumulated that abstract, semantic relationships among single words have the same underlying structure as the empirical relationships when words are applied to individuals. The present study examines whether these two kinds of structure are also isomorphic for longer trait descriptors. Empirical descriptions and judgements of semantic similarity were collected among the descriptors comprising the California Child Q-set, or CCQ, and analysed with multidimensional scaling. Canonical correlation showed the solutions to be closely related to one another, and to independent sets of ratings available for the CCQ items. Informants' similarity judgements were not affected by the context in which they were made. The dominant dimensions of the solutions reproduce dimensions found previously for the single-word personality lexicon, indicating the two trait-descriptive languages to be closely parallel.

El lenguaje de rasgos de personalidad incluye a descriptores de rasgo de una sola palabra y frases u oraciones más largos. Hay evidencia acumulada de que las relaciones semánticas abstractas entre estas palabras tienen la misma estructura subyacente que las relaciones empíricas cuando las palabras aisladas se aplican a individuos. Este estudio explora si estas dos clases de estructuras son también isomorfas para descriptores de rasgo más largos. Se registraron las descripciones y los juicios empíricos de similitud semántica de los descriptores incluidos en el California Child Q-set (CCQ) y se analizaron con escalamiento multidimensional. La correlación canónica mostró que ambas soluciones  están estrechamente relacionadas entre sí y con conjuntos independientes de puntuaciones disponibles para los ítems del CCQ. Los juicios de similitud de los informantes no estuvieron afectados por el contexto en el que fueron hechos. Las dimensiones dominantes de las soluciones reproducen otras dimensiones encontradas previamente en el léxico de personalidad de palabras únicas, indicando que los dos lenguajes de descripción de rasgos son cercanamente paralelos.


Corresponding author

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to David Bimler. School of Arts. Development and Health Education. MUCE. Massey University. Private Bag 11-222. Palmerston North. (New Zealand). E-mail:


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*John Kirkland is currently at Royal University for Women, Bahrain.



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