Christopher Soto

Welcome to the homepage of the Colby Personality Lab, directed by Chris Soto. The CPL conducts research examining three key issues. The first is personality structure: how people’s specific thoughts, feelings, and behaviors cohere into broader personality traits that persist over time and across relevant situations. I am especially interested in questions about whether, how, and why people’s personalities might be organized differently at different times of life, or in different social contexts. For example, are personality traits organized in similar or different ways during childhood versus adulthood?

The second issue is lifespan personality development: when, how, and why people’s personalities change as they age. I am curious both about how people’s personalities typically change across the life span (normative change) and about why different people’s personalities change in different ways (individual differences in change).

The third issue is personality and life outcomes: how someone’s personality helps shape the course of their life. I am particularly interested in understanding how personality characteristics influence (a) subjective well-being (i.e., how happy or unhappy someone is with their life), and (b) political attitudes.

Note: For information about the Big Five Inventory-2, see the BFI-2 tab of this webpage.

Lab Director

Christopher SotoChristopher J. Soto

I took a personality test for the first time as a junior in high school, and have been hooked on personality psychology ever since. I received my A.B. in Psychology from Harvard College and my Ph.D. in Social and Personality Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. Since arriving at Colby in 2009, I’ve enjoyed teaching courses about personality psychology, research methods, and statistics, working with motivated young researchers, and exploring Maine.


Research Assistants

Shanna GrantShanna Grant ’17

I’m a junior psychology:neuroscience major from Long Island, New York. I have been doing research in the psychology department since my freshman year and am interested in the role of concussions on memory and personality; the influence of personality factors on life outcomes; and individual differences in study strategies. After Colby, I hope to go to graduate school for clinical neuropsychology.


Lab Alumni

Grace DiBari ’16
Lindsay Hylek ’12
Shelley Kind ’13
Anna Kronauer ’16
Josephine Liang ’14
Christi Lumbert ’10
Kayleigh Monahan ’13
Juliana Pham ’16
Matt Smith ’11
Adam Thompson ’13
Cale Wardell ’13
Ivan Yang ’17

Chris Soto’s complete CV is available here (last updated January, 2017). 


Soto, C. J. (in press). Big Five personality traits. In M. H. Bornstein, M. E. Arterberry, K. L. Fingerman, & J. E. Lansford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of lifespan human development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (in press). The next Big Five Inventory (BFI-2): Developing and assessing a hierarchical model with 15 facets to enhance bandwidth, fidelity, and predictive power. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 

Malka, A., Lelkes, Y., & Soto, C. J. (in press). Are cultural and economic conservatism positively correlated? A large-scale cross-national test. British Journal of Political Science.

Malka, A., Osborne, D., Soto, C. J., Greaves, L., Sibley, C. G., & Lelkes, Y. (in press). Binding moral foundations and the narrowing of ideological conflict to the traditional morality domain. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 

Soto, C. J. (2016). The Little Six personality dimensions from early childhood to early adulthood: Mean-level age and gender differences in parents’ reports. Journal of Personality, 84, 409-422. 

Soto, C. J., Kronauer, A., & Liang, J. K. (2016). Five-factor model of personality. In S. K. Whitbourne (Ed.), Encyclopedia of adulthood and aging (Vol. 2, pp. 506-510). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Soto, C. J. (2015). Is happiness good for your personality? Concurrent and prospective relations of the Big Five with subjective well-being. Journal of Personality, 83, 45-55. 

Soto, C. J., & Tackett, J. L. (2015). Personality traits in childhood and adolescence: Structure, development, and outcomes. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 358-362.

Malka, A., & Soto, C. J. (2015). Rigidity of the economic right? Menu-independent and menu-dependent influences of psychological dispositions on political attitudes. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24, 137-142. 

Soto, C. J. & John, O. P. (2014). Traits in transition: The structure of parent-reported personality traits from early childhood to early adulthood. Journal of Personality, 82, 182-199. 

Malka, A., & Soto, C. J. (2014). How encompassing is the effect of negativity bias on political conservatism? Brain and Behavioral Sciences, 37, 320-321. 

Malka, A., Soto, C. J., Inzlicht, M., & Lelkes, Y. (2014). Do needs for security and certainty predict cultural and economic conservatism? A cross-national analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 106, 1031-1051. 

Soto, C. J., & Jackson, J. J. (2013). Five-factor model of personality. In D. S. Dunn (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in Psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

Soto, C. J. & Luhmann, M. (2013). Who can buy happiness? Personality traits moderate the effects of stable income differences and income fluctuations on life satisfaction. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 4, 46-53. 

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2012). Development of Big-Five domains and facets in adulthood: Mean-level age trends and broadly versus narrowly acting mechanisms. Journal of Personality, 80, 881-914. 

Soto, C. J., John, O. P., Gosling, S. D., & Potter, J. (2011). Age differences in personality traits from 10 to 65: Big-Five domains and facets in a large cross-sectional sample. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100, 330-348. 

Malka, A., & Soto, C. J. (2011). The conflicting influences of religiosity on attitude toward torture. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 37, 1091-1103. 

Malka, A., Soto, C. J., Cohen, A. B., & Miller, D. T. (2011). Religiosity and social welfare: Competing influences of cultural conservatism and prosocial value orientation. Journal of Personality, 79, 763-792. 

Orth, U., Robins, R. W., & Soto, C. J. (2010). Tracking the trajectory of shame, guilt, and pride across the life span. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 99, 1061-1071. 

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2009). Ten facet scales for the Big Five Inventory: Convergence with NEO PI-R facets, self-peer agreement, and discriminant validity. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 84-90. 

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2009). Using the California Psychological Inventory to assess the Big Five personality domains: A hierarchical approach. Journal of Research in Personality, 43, 25-38. 

John, O. P., Naumann, L., & Soto, C. J. (2008). Paradigm shift to the integrative Big Five trait taxonomy: History, measurement, and conceptual issues. In O. P. John, R. W. Robins, & L. A. Pervin (Eds.), Handbook of personality: Theory and research (3rd ed., pp. 114-158). New York, NY: Guilford. 

Soto, C. J., John, O. P., Gosling, S. D., & Potter, J. (2008). The developmental psychometrics of Big Five self-reports: Acquiescence, factor structure, coherence, and differentiation from ages 10 to 20. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 718-737. 

John, O. P., & Soto, C. J. (2007). The importance of being valid: Reliability and the process of construct validation. In R. W. Robins, R. C. Fraley, & R. F. Krueger (Eds.), Handbook of research methods in personality psychology (pp. 461-494). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press. 

Helson, R., Soto, C. J., & Cate, R. A. (2006). From young adulthood through the middle ages. In D. K. Mroczek & T. D. Little (Eds.), Handbook of personality development (pp. 337-352). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. 

Helson, R., & Soto, C. J. (2005). Up and down in middle age: Monotonic and nonmonotonic changes in roles, status, and personality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89, 194-204. 

The Big Five Inventory–2 (BFI-2)

The BFI-2 is a measure of the Big Five personality domains (which we label Extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Negative Emotionality, and Open-Mindedness) and 15 more-specific facet traits. A self-report form, scoring key, and list of items are available below. The BFI-2 items are copyright 2015 by Oliver P. John and Christopher J. Soto. Permission is granted for personal and research use of the BFI-2.

BFI-2 Self-report form and scoring key
BFI-2 List of items by domain and facet
Microsoft Excel macro for scoring the BFI-2 (developed by Per-Ola Rike and Kristian Køhn)

Citations for the BFI-2

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (in press). The next Big Five Inventory (BFI-2): Developing and assessing a hierarchical model with 15 facets to enhance bandwidth, fidelity, and predictive power. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2015, June). Conceptualization, development, and initial validation of the Big Five Inventory–2. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Association for Research in Personality, St. Louis, MO.

Translations of the BFI-2

The BFI-2 is currently available in English and German, and is being translated into other languages. If you are interested in conducting a translation project, please contact Chris Soto.

BFI-2 German self-report form (documentation)