Chapter 19: Costa and McCrae: Five Factor Model of Personality

Part 1: Paul Costa and Robert McCrae

Costa and McCrae followed in the footsteps of Eysenck, but they expanded slightly upon the number of second order factors.  The result of their efforts became one of the most widely respected perspectives on personality structure today: the Five-Factor Model (FFM) of personality.  Indeed, the Five-Factor Model has been so well researched, with findings supporting and expanding the original conception, that Costa and McCrae believe it now deserves to be referred to as the Five-Factor Theory (see McCrae & Costa, 2003).

Paul Costa earned a Ph.D. in human development from the University of Chicago in 1970.  He taught for 2 years at Harvard University, and then joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts at Boston.  In 1978, he joined the National Institute on Aging, a branch of the National Institutes of Health. Since 1985, he has been the Chief of the Laboratory of Personality and Cognition, Gerontology Research Center.  He also holds appointments at the University of Maryland, Duke University Medical Center, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the Georgetown University School of Medicine. Among numerous awards, he has been elected as a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, the American Psychological Association, and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.  He has published hundreds of research articles, many of them in collaboration with Robert McCrae.

Robert McCrae earned his Ph.D. in personality psychology at Boston University in 1976.  After teaching and conducting research at Boston University, the Veteran’s Administration Outpatient Clinic in Boston, and the University of Massachusetts at Boston, he joined the Gerontology Research Center at the National Institute on Aging in 1978, where he continues to conduct research today.  He is also a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, as well as a Fellow of the American Psychological Society and Division 20 (Adult Development and Aging) of the American Psychological Association.


Text:  Kelland, M. (2017). Personality Theory. OER Commons. Retrieved October 28, 2019, from  Licensed under CC-BY-4.0.


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PSY321 Course Text: Theories of Personality Copyright © by The American Women's College Psychology Department and Michelle McGrath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.