Sunday, September 20, 2009
Race and the Big Five
* p < .05, two-tail test, comparison with white counterpart.
The General Social Survey asked ten questions in 2006 about personality traits--two questions for each of the Big 5. Two questions per trait is not nearly enough (typical performance by sociologists) but we'll use what we've got.
For extraversion, the questions asked about outgoingness, and for agreeableness, people were asked if they agreed that they didn't find fault in others and trusted them. On conscientiouesness, people were asked if they agreed that they were hardworking and thorough. Questions for emotional stability asked about agreeing that you are relaxed or prone to nervousness.
Respondents were asked if they are imaginative and artistic, so I called this measure "creativity." Answers to these pairs of questions were summed. You see the means in the table.
Whites are significantly more extraverted than Mex-Ams, but do not differ from blacks. Blacks are more agreeable than whites, but Mex-Ams are less so. The group do not differ on conscientiousness.
Blacks are more emotionally stable than whites. This contradicts findings from my last post, but keep in mind that the measure I used before tapped depression more than anything else, while this one focused on how relaxed someone is.
Finally, the groups do not differ on creativity.
One comment about the data: it's clear that respondents lack some objectivity because a disproportionate number of people describe themselves as having what I'm sure people see as the positive quality. Few people admitted that they are lazy and fail to do a thorough job. Conscientiousness was more skewed than any other measure, but the others were skewed as well. There is a tendency to think you're outgoing, agreeable, conscientious, relaxed, and creative, regardless of the facts. I don't know if groups differ in these biases, but there is an overall bias, no doubt.