Research article

Tell me who You are and I’ll Tell You what You are Worth: The Role of Societal Value in the Structuration of Six Facets of the Big Two



This paper aims to show that six facets of the big two can be prioritized according to their societal value (that is, the value related to the society’s perceived main requirements), and that knowledge of this value differential could serve as a basis for trait inferences. The first two studies revealed the hierarchical organization of facets by asking participants to judge a) the societal value of these traits (study 1); and b) the targets known by indices of their societal value on traits accounting for the six facets (study 2). The last two studies examined how people’s inferences between traits were affected by this evaluative hierarchy. Study 3 tested the correlations between all pairs of facets by asking participants to describe an acquaintance using a set of traits accounting for two facets. Study 4 asked participants to rate the similarity between 66 pairs of traits crossing all the facets. The results showed that, as predicted, trait inferences were structured by the societal value of the facets and were organized in a circumplex-like structure. The discussion focused on how societal values emanate from the economic prioritization of traits in society and how they permeate people’s representations.


facetsbig twosocietal value
  • Year: 2022
  • Volume: 35 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 15
  • DOI: 10.5334/irsp.689
  • Submitted on 1 Feb 2022
  • Accepted on 19 Jul 2022
  • Published on 3 Oct 2022
  • Peer Reviewed