Janek Musek

General Factor of Personality (GFP) is the most basic dimension of human personality, it is a common denominator of our largest personality traits.

The general factor of personality: Its psychological meaning, psychological correlates and biological basis (2011 – 2014; head of the project)


The research of the general factor of personality (GFP; Musek, 2007), including its psychological nature, the associations with other prominent psychological variables and its biological (evolutionary, genetic and neurophysiological) bases became a very prominent and propulsive topic in personality psychology and in the psychology in general. In the most recent perspective of the research of the GFP, the major open problems that need to be solved in further investigations emerged very clearly. These problems could be grouped in the following way:

  1. the problems concerning the interpretation of the psychological nature of GFP,
  2. the problems concerning the relations of GFP to other prominent psychological and demographic variables,
  3. the problems concerning the cross-cultural stability of GFP and
  4. the problems concerning the biological basis of GFP.

The research project being proposed here is dedicated to the empirical verification of a general research model that addresses the essence of the above mentioned problems. The model is based on the previous research work of the project leader and others authors (since 2007) and could be briefly formulated in the following statements or hypotheses:

  1. GFP is very robustly identified as a one single general factor occupying the apex of the hierarchical structure of personality dimensions (pyramidal model of personality structure);
  2. GFP has substantial correlations with almost all most prominent psychological variables in the non-cognitive domains (emotionality, affect, motivation, coping, well-being, self-esteem and others);
  3. GFP is a part of a very comprehensive general dimension underlying the entire non-cognitive domain of personality;
  4. GFP represents a stable dimension across different cultural and national environments;
  5. The characteristics of GFP, discovered so far, form a plausible rationale for the assumption of the biological basis of GFP, including the evolutionary, genetic and neurophysiologic aspects.

In this research project, the previously formulated hypotheses will be up-graded in the form of research models displaying the relationships between relevant psychological variables entered into the models. All models will be then empirically tested by means of systematically integrated assessment and research methods including the appropriate measures of the variables in the models and the methods and techniques of the research design (experimental, quasi-experimental, correlational and multivariate).

The results of the empirical testing of the research models could essentially contribute to the more comprehensive and precise theoretical framework of the GFP and of the personality structure. The expected results of the research should strongly improve our understanding of the personality structure and of the relations between major personality dimensions, but also our understanding of the relations between major psychological dimensions of the entire non-cognitive sphere of psychological variables. Moreover, the expected results should bring essential answers to some still unresolved questions concerning the GFP and its nature, including the very important question whether the GFP is based more on the correlations in the real behaviour or on the other less substantial or even artifactual factors causing the correlations between lower-order dimensions of personality (like the Big Five). Consequently, the results of the research can be important in the very fundamental theoretical evaluation of the bioevolutionary model of GFP, which could represent a great step toward a more thorough understanding of biological (evolutionary, genetic and neuroscientific) bases of human personality.