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Jordan Peterson on the Five Factor Model of Personality (2): Going Deeper with The Big 5 and IQ

Jordan Peterson on the Five Factor Model of Personality and the disadvantages of openness is one of the most frequently visited posts on Driverlesscroc. I’m recruiting at the moment at work, and so thinking a lot about the type of people we’re looking for and how to find them – which has brought me back to the Big Five... and to Peterson.

Personality and Its Transformations (2017)

Jordan Peterson has a huge number of videos available on YouTube – including several versions of his University of Toronto course, Personality and its Transformations. There are 20 lectures – about 28 hours of video. Lecture 14 is where Peterson gets into personality testing, traits and the Big Five – including the theoretical basis for the model and his understanding of how it maps onto the physiology of the brain.

The lectures are hard to summarise. Lecture 21 brings things together and focuses on workplace success, but a lot of the value is in the overall context, a fair bit of which comes from Peterson’s asides and incidental remarks – including the times when he simply says “We really know nothing about this aspect.”

I’ll post some highlights in future, but for now here’s a list of the lectures most relevant to understanding the Big Five. Under each heading is Peterson’s summary of the lecture followed by an index of the contents helpfully provided by various people in the YouTube comments.

Lecture 14: Introduction to Traits / Psychometrics / The Big 5

In this lecture, I begin discussing the development of modern trait theory. Psychologists, expert in measurement and statistics, discovered extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience, and began the process of delineating their social significance and biological underpinnings.

Index provided by Matt C.

10:19 What is personality? A trait is an element of personality (describable stable elements that characterize you)
16:30 What are these 5 dimensions, exactly? Think of them as a frame of reference…
17:58 [GOLD] Your capacity to expand your ability past the initial constraints of your biological temperament is the development of character or wisdom.
20:43 Traits are patterns of behaviour…
22:37 What people are is a melody of traits
23:16 It’s useful to know your traits so that you can orient your life, it’s difficult to work contrary to your traits
24:00 [GOLD] Really good summary of the traits in relation to “partners”
32:36 Linguistic Hypothesis
41:35 Openness, entrepreneurship, creativity
44:00 Negative correlation between creativity and grad school performance
46:35 You need to have some creative wingnuts in your organization to come up with some completely absurd ideas that might just on the off-chance be true.

Lecture 15: Biology/Traits: The Limbic System

In this lecture, I begin my discussion of the relationship between brain function, at a deep, subcortical level, and the existence of the five traits identified by psychometric researchers.

Index provided by Michael Pearson.

12:00 The ancient part of the brain is in charge
17:30 We only sense a tiny amount of what’s in the world
58:00 Sponges, the brain is in the whole body
1:06:00 Feeling uneasy can be a perception. Signals map all over your nervous system

Lecture 16: Biology/Traits: Incentive Reward/Neuroticism

In this lecture, I continue my discussion of the relationship between subcortical brain processes and the big five personality traits identified by psychometric researchers, focusing on the relationship between positive/negative emotion and extraversion / neuroticism.

Index provided by Hexanitrobenzene.

1:58 Largest part of motivational system is in hypothalamus.
3:40 Emotions track progress towards goals.
3:54 Basic motivations.
4:30 Mental equivalents of pain: grief, frustration, disappointment, loneliness.
10:20 Father’s role in a socialization of children.
17:38 Goals and consciousness.
19:50 Parts of hypothalamus.
20:40 Model of nervous system functional organisation.
32:07 Sensory systems have dual outputs.
43:45 Basic emotions. Two kinds of positive emotions. Consummatory reward.
55:45 Neuroticism roughly corresponds with the strength of negative emotion system. Same with extroversion and positive emotions.
56:47 Learning theory. Rewards.
59:49 Extraversion and neuroticism are not mutually exclusive.
1:01:00 Learning theory. Punishments.
1:09:21 How worried should you be when something you don’t expect happens?

Lecture 17: Biology and Traits: Agreeableness

In this lecture, I talk about the Big Five trait agreeableness, which is the dimension of the care system, in Jaak Panksepp’s terminology. It can be construed as cooperation vs competition, or compliance vs non-compliance, or tender-mindedness vs tough-mindedness. It is also an important determinant of political belief, being the trait most associated with the body of ideas that has come to be known as politically correct.

Index provided by PoLoBreak.

0:00 Agreeableness explanation
23:16 Unagreeableness and criminality, and regulation of aggression
36:22 Personality trait and political belief
45:00 Overcoming personality disadvantages

Lecture 18: Biology and Traits: Openness / Intelligence / Creativity 1

In this lecture, I talk about Big Five trait openness to experience, which is the dimension composed of an amalgam of creativity and intelligence. I also discuss IQ: how it is measured, what it means, how powerfully it predicts long-term life success, as well as the highly skewed Pareto distribution of creative production.

Index provided by Hexanitrobenzene.

0:45 Stability and plasticity.
5:54 A little about IQ tests.
7:18 Dealing with the complexity of the world. Levels of abstraction.
18:45 Perception is structured by the goals
21:09 Abstraction and communication.
26:47 Roots of traits in biology.
36:05 Why think ? So that our ideas die instead of us. [ K. Popper ]
39:20 Why fiction is interesting / Reading fiction improves interpersonal understanding.
40:38 It’s useful to think about intelligence as abstracted action.
47:55 Cognitive ability
50:29 Various kinds of intelligence.
1:00:11 Turns out that the idea of different intelligences is false.
1:01:20 Statistical implementation of tests and analysis of data
1:10:04 Relative poverty causes crime.
1:17:00 IQ and egalitarianism
1:19:55 IQ is not a measure of people’s intrinsic worth
1:30:26 Crystallized vs fluid intelligence
1:31:17 Job complexity and IQ
1:40:37 Is it possible to train intelligence?

Lecture 19: Biology & Traits: Openness / Intelligence / Creativity 2

In this lecture, I complete my discussion of Big Five trait openness to experience, which is the dimension composed of an amalgam of creativity and intelligence. I also discuss IQ: how it is measured, what it means, how powerfully it predicts long-term life success, as well as the highly skewed Pareto distribution of creative production.

Index provided by Hexanitrobenzene.

3:29 Working memory strongly predicts IQ
6:18 What does it mean to think creatively?
7:17 Creative – novel and useful
8:58 Fluency [ aspect of creativity ]
9:47 Originality [ aspect of creativity ]
11:01 Creative achievement questionaire
12:17 Difficulties with creativity – it’s a high risk/high return strategy
24:16 Tangent: difficulties of writing a book
31:32 Price’s law
33:37 Wealth distribution
35:00 famous classic musicians 5% rule
36:19 The 1% of rich people
37:50 Sustainability of companies
39:49 Predicting creative achievement
47:45 Openness predicts creative achievement in the arts, while intellect predicts achievement in sciences.

Lecture 20: Biology & Traits: Orderliness / Disgust / Conscientiousness

In this lecture, I provide details about trait conscientiousness, the best predictor of life success after intelligence (particularly among managers, administrators and students). Sounds good? But conscientiousness is partly composed of aspect orderliness, along with industriousness, and orderliness is associated both with disgust and with authoritarianism (particularly among those low in openness to experience). Hitler and the Jews? The Holocaust? Orderliness and disgust sensitivity gone mad.

Index provided by Hexanitrobenzene.

0:00 Conservatives and liberals. Filtering mechanisms.
3:24 You never get a benefit without a price.
4:38 Conscientiousness is beneficial only on condition that the future is predictable
5:15 Hyperinflation. Some history of pre-WWII Germany.
7:18 Industriousness.
8:21 Correlation between intelligence and conscientiousness is 0.
10:30 Industrious people may be aversive to inactivity.
11:50 Orderliness.
12:36 Problems with modeling conscientiousness
20:15 Orderliness
20:58 Disgust sensitivity and behavioural immune system.
40:49 Perfectionism
44:29 Back to behavioural immune system.
46:53 Two core dimensions of conservative ideology: resistance to change and tolerance of inequality.
50:13 Preference for order and tradition is associated with orderliness and politeness (aspect of agreeableness) as well as lower openness. Egalitarianism is associated with compassion (aspect of agreeableness).
50:39 Conservatism – extension of immune system to society.
52:40 What’s disgusting is destroyed – parasite stress hypothesis, Pre-Columbian history of Americas, Hitler

Lecture 21: Biology & Traits: Performance Prediction

In this lecture, I talk about the thorny problem of predicting performance: academic, industrial, creative and entrepreneurial); about the practical utility of such prediction, in the business and other environments; about the economic value of accurate prediction (in hiring, placement and promotion) — which is incredibly high.

Intelligence (psychometrically measured IQ) is the best predictor of performance in complex, ever changing environments. Conscientiousness is the (next) best predictor, particularly in the military, in school and in conservative businesses. Agreeable people make better caretakers; disagreeable people, better disciplinarians and negotiators (within reasonable bounds). Open people are artistic, creative and entrepreneurial. Extraverts are good socially. Introverts work well in isolation. People low in neuroticism have higher levels of tolerance for stress (but may be less sensitive to real signs of danger).

Match the career you pursue to your temperament, rather than trying to adjust the latter. Although some adjustment is possible, there are powerful biological determinants of the five personality dimensions and IQ (particularly in environments where differences are allowed to flourish).

Index provided by Sergio Rugerio.

29:00 People want to be invisible and want to not fail.
34:00 People don’t want to be happy – they want to not be unhappy (anxious or in pain).
53:30 Depressive spiral triggered by being fired.
59:00 I don’t want the best for the company I want to make a decision that doesn’t get me into trouble.
1:04:00 What you can do to be successful.
1:07:30 Sources of motivation according to personalities.

Lecture 22: Conclusion: Psychology and Belief

In this lecture, I bring the 2017 Introduction to Personality and its Transformations to its close, talking about the psychology of belief, describing the reality and potential of the individual. Human beings are information foragers, evolved to live on the border between explored and unexplored territory, order and chaos and, symbolically, ying and yang. That’s where information flow is maximized, and the meaning that helps buttress us against tragedy is to be found.

[No index available – update to follow]

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...

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