Coffee or Tea? Examining Cross-Cultural Differences in Personality Nuances Across Former Colonies of the British Empire
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Description: Cross-cultural comparisons often focus on differences in broad personality traits across countries. However, many cross-cultural studies report differential item functioning which suggests that considerable group differences are not accounted for by the overarching personality factors. We argue that this may reflect cross-cultural personality differences at a lower level of personality, namely personality nuances. To investigate the degree of cultural similarities and differences between participants of ten English speaking countries (of which nine formerly belonged to the British Empire), we scrutinized participants’ personality scores on the domain, facet, and nuance level of the personality hierarchy. More specifically, we used the responses of 9,110 participants on the IPIP-NEO 300-item personality inventory in cross-validated and regularized logistic regressions. Based on the trait domain and facet scores, we were able to identify the country of residence for 60% and 73% of the participants, respectively. By using the nuance level of personality, we correctly identified the nationality of 89% of the participants. This pattern of results explains the lack of measurement invariance in cross-cultural studies. We discuss implications for cross-cultural personality research and whether the high degree of cross-cultural item-level differences compromises the universality of the personality structure.