In the current study, we set out to examine the viability of a novel approach to modeling human personality. Research in psychology suggests that people’s personalities can be effectively described using five broad dimensions (the Five-Factor Model; FFM); however, the FFM potentially leaves room for improved predictive accuracy. We propose a novel approach to modeling human personality that is based on the maximization of the model’s predictive accuracy. Unlike the FFM, which performs unsupervised dimensionality reduction, we utilized a supervised machine learning technique for dimensionality reduction of questionnaire data, using numerous psychologically meaningful outcomes as data labels (e.g., intelligence, well-being, sociability). The results showed that our five-dimensional personality summary, which we term the “Predictive Five” (PF), provides predictive performance that is better than the FFM on two independent validation datasets, and on a new set of outcome variables selected by an independent group of psychologists. The approach described herein has the promise of eventually providing an interpretable, low-dimensional personality representation, which is also highly predictive of behavior.
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