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 and social, emotional, and behavioral (SEB) skills 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 and skills 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 personality traits and SEB skills typically change across the life span (normative change) and about why different people’s traits and skills change in different ways (individual differences in change).

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

Note: For information about using the Big Five Inventory-2 in scientific research, see the BFI-2 tab of this webpage. If you’d like to take an online version of the BFI-2, you can do so at my personality test website.

For information about the Behavioral, Emotional, and Social Skills Inventory (BESSI), visit the SEB Skills Lab website.

Lab Director

Christopher J. Soto

Christopher SotoI 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.

 

Student Research Assistants

Christa Ouellette ’22

Christa OuelletteI am a senior from Lamoine, Maine (which is about 30 minutes from Acadia National Park), majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience. I have also taken many courses in the Music and Theater Departments, which has helped me to establish connections between psychology and art, specifically the ways in which we respond to music and color. On campus, I work in the Biology Department office, and I am a part of the Colby Jazz Band, the Colby Megalomaniacs, and the Colby Music Incubator. In my free time, I like to draw portraits and spend time outside, especially in the spring and summer.

 

Lab Alumni

Grace DiBari ’16
Shanna Grant ’17
Lindsay Hylek ’12
Shelley Kind ’13
Anna Kronauer ’16
Josephine Liang ’14
Christi Lumbert ’10
Kayleigh Monahan ’13
Juliana Pham ’16
Sam Rizzo ’19
Ali Russell ’18
Matt Smith ’11
Adam Thompson ’13
Cale Wardell ’13
Ivan Yang ’17
William Yang ’20

Chris Soto’s complete CV is available here (last updated September, 2022). 

Publications

Soto, C. J., Napolitano, C. M., Sewell, M. N., Yoon, H. J., & Roberts, B. W. (in press). Going beyond traits: Social, emotional, and behavioral skills matter for adolescents’ success. Social Psychological and Personality Science

Zhang, B., Li, Y. M., Li, J., Luo, J., Ye, Y., Yin, L., Chen, Z., Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (in press). The Big Five Inventory-2 in China: A comprehensive psychometric evaluation in four diverse samples. Assessment

Soto, C. J., Napolitano, C. M., Sewell, M. N., Yoon, H. J., & Roberts, B. W. (2022). An integrative framework for conceptualizing and assessing social, emotional, and behavioral skills: The BESSI. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 123, 192-222. 

Denissen, J. J. A., Soto, C. J., Geenen, R., John, O. P., & van Aken, M. A. G. (2022). Incorporating prosocial vs. antisocial trait content in Big Five measurement: Lessons from the Big Five Inventory-2 (BFI-2). Journal of Research in Personality, 96, 104147. 

Føllesdal, H., & Soto, C. J. (2022). The Norwegian adaptation of the Big Five Inventory–2. Frontiers in Psychology, 13, 858920. 

Lechner, C. M., Knopf, T., Napolitano, C. M., Rammstedt, B., Roberts, B. W., Soto, C. J., & Spengler, M. (2022). The Behavioral, Emotional, and Social Skills Inventory (BESSI): Psychometric properties of a German-language adaptation, temporal stabilities of the skills, and associations with personality and intelligence. Journal of Intelligence, 10, 63. 

Mishkevich, A. M., Shchebetenko, S. A., Kalugin, A. Y., Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2022). The short and extra-short forms of the Russian version of the Big Five Inventory-2: BFI-2-S and BFI-2-XS. Psikhologicheskii Zhurnal, 43, 95-108. 

Sewell, M. N., Soto, C. J., Napolitano, C. M., Yoon, H. J., & Roberts, B. W. (2022). Survey data of social, emotional, and behavioral skills among seven independent samples. Data in Brief, 40, 107792. 

Stewart, R. D., Mõttus, R., Seeboth, A., Soto, C. J., & Johnson, W. (2022). The finer details? The predictability of life outcomes from Big Five domains, facets, and nuances. Journal of Personality, 90, 167-182.

Soto, C. J. (2021). Do links between personality and life outcomes generalize? Testing the robustness of trait-outcome associations across gender, age, ethnicity, and analytic approaches. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 12, 118-130. 

Soto, C. J., Napolitano, C. M., & Roberts, B. W. (2021). Taking skills seriously: Toward an integrative model and agenda for social, emotional, and behavioral skills. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 30, 26-33. 

Atherton, O. E., Chung, J. M., Harris, K., Rohrer, J. M., Condon, D. M., Cheung, F., Vazire, S., Lucas, R. E., Donnellan, M. B., Mroczek, D. K., Soto, C. J., Antonoplis, S., Damian, R. I., Funder, D. C., Srivastava, S., Fraley, R. C., Jach, H., Roberts, B. W., Smillie, L. D., Sun, J., Tackett, J. L., Weston, S. J., Harden, K. P., & Corker, K. S. (2021). Why has personality psychology played an outsized role in the credibility revolution? Personality Science, 2, 1-21. 

Cemalcilar, Z., Baruh, L., Kezer, M., Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2021). Testing the BFI-2 in a non-WEIRD community sample. Personality and Individual Differences, 182, 111087. 

Danner, D., Lechner, C. M., Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2021). Modeling the incremental value of personality facets: the domains-incremental facets-acquiescence bifactor model (DIFAB). European Journal of Personality, 35, 67-84. 

Hang, Y., Soto, C. J., Speyer, L. G., Haring, L., Lee, B., Ostendorf, F., & Mottus, R. (2021). Age differences in the personality hierarchy: A replication across the life span. Journal of Research in Personality, 93, 104121.

Kalugin, A., Shchebetenko, S., Mishkevich, A., Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2021). Psychometric properties of the Russian version of the Big Five Inventory–2. Psychology Journal of the Higher School of Economics, 18, 7-33. 

Napolitano, C. M., Sewell, M. N., Yoon, H. J., Soto, C. J., & Roberts, B. W. (2021). Social, emotional, and behavioral skills: An integrative model of the skills associated with success during adolescence and across the life span. Frontiers in Education, 6, 679561. 

Shiner, R. L., Soto, C. J., & De Fruyt, F. (2021). Personality assessment of children and adolescents. Annual Review of Developmental Psychology, 3, 113-137. 

Vedel, A. Wellnitz, K. B., Ludeke, S., Soto, C. J., John, O. P., & Andersen, S. C. (2021). Development and validation of the Danish Big Five Inventory-2: Domain- and facet-level structure, construct validity, and reliability. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 37, 42-51. 

Xu, X., Soto, C. J., & Plaks, J. E. (2021). Beyond Openness to Experience and Conscientiousness: Testing links between lower-level personality traits and American political orientation. Journal of Personality, 89, 754-773.

Soto, C. J. (2020). Commentary: Four confessions from a Big Fiver about a six-dimensional model of personality traits. European Journal of Personality, 34, 549-550.

Soto, C. J., & Jackson, J. J. (2020). Five-factor model of personality. In D. S. Dunn (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in Psychology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 

Anderson, C., Sharps, D. L., Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2020). People with disagreeable personalities (selfish, combative, and manipulative) do not have an advantage in pursuing power at work. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 117, 22780-22786.

Denissen, J. J. A., Geenen, R., Soto, C. J., John, O. P., & van Aken, M. A. G. (2020). The Big Five Inventory–2 (BFI-2): Replication of psychometric properties of the Dutch adaptation and first evidence for the discriminant predictive validity of the facet scales. Journal of Personality Assessment, 3, 309-324. 

Halama, P., Kohút, M., Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2020). Slovak adaptation of the Big Five Inventory (BFI-2): Psychometric properties and initial validation. Studia Psychologica, 62, 74-87. 

Hřebíčková, M., Jelínek, M., Květon, P., Benkovič, A., Botek, M., Sudzina, F., Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2020). Five-factor questionnaire BFI-2: Hierarchical model with 15 subscales. Ceskoslovenska Psychologie, 64, 437-460. 

Kohút, M., Halama, P., Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2020). Psychometric properties of Slovak short and extra-short forms of Big Five Inventory–2 (BFI-2). Československá psychologie, 64, 550-563. 

Rammstedt, B., Danner, D., Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2020). Validation of the short and extra-short forms of the Big Five Inventory-2 (BFI-2) and their German adaptations. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 36, 149-161. 

Shchebetenko, S., Kalugin, A. Y., Mishkevich, A. M., Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2020). Measurement invariance and sex and age differences of the Big Five Inventory–2: Evidence from the Russian version. Assessment, 27, 472-486.

Soto, C. J. (2019). How replicable are links between personality traits and consequential life outcomes? The Life Outcomes Of Personality Replication Project. Psychological Science, 30, 711-727. 

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2019). Optimizing the length, width, and balance of a personality scale: How do internal characteristics affect external validity? Psychological Assessment, 31, 444-459. 

Danner, D., Rammstedt, B., Bluemke, M., Lechner, C., Berres, S., Knopf, T., Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2019). The Big Five Inventory–2: Validating a personality inventory to capture 5 personality domains and 15 facets. Diagnostica, 65, 121-132. 

Malka, A., Lelkes, Y., & Soto, C. J. (2019). Are cultural and economic conservatism positively correlated? A large-scale cross-national test. British Journal of Political Science, 49, 1045-1069.

Soto, C. J. (2018). Big Five personality traits. In M. H. Bornstein, M. E. Arterberry, K. L. Fingerman, & J. E. Lansford (Eds.), The SAGE encyclopedia of lifespan human development (pp. 240-241). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Soto, C. J., & Sheets, E. S. (2018). Commentary: Moving toward an integrative understanding of personality disorder: It’s about time. European Journal of Personality, 32, 587-588. 

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2017). 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, 113, 117-143.

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2017). Short and extra-short forms of the Big Five Inventory–2: The BFI-2-S and BFI-2-XS. Journal of Research in Personality, 68, 69-81. 

Mottus, R., Soto, C. J., & Slobodskaya, H. R. (2017). Are all kids alike? The magnitude of individual differences in personality characteristics tends to increase from early childhood to early adolescence. European Journal of Personality, 31, 313-328. 

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.

Malka, A., Osborne, D., Soto, C. J., Greaves, L., Sibley, C. G., & Lelkes, Y. (2016). Binding moral foundations and the narrowing of ideological conflict to the traditional morality domain. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 1243-1257. 

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. & 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.

Note: If you’d like to take an online version of the BFI-2, you can do so at my personality test website.

BFI-2 Self-report form and scoring key
BFI-2 List of items by domain and facet
BFI-2 SPSS scoring syntax
Qualtrics version of the BFI-2
Microsoft Excel macro for scoring the BFI-2 (developed by Per-Ola Rike and Kristian Køhn)
Descriptive statistics for the BFI-2 (from the representative US adult samples used in Soto, 2019)

Citation for the BFI-2

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2017). 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, 113, 117-143.

Short and Extra-Short Forms of the BFI-2

The BFI-2-S is a 30-item short form, and the BFI-2-XS is a 15-item extra-short form, of the BFI-2. They are appropriate for research contexts in which, due to pressing concerns about assessment time or respondent fatigue, administering the full BFI-2 would not be feasible. For most studies, however, we recommend administering the full measure due to its greater reliability and validity.

BFI-2-S Self-report form and scoring key
BFI-2-XS Self-report form and scoring key
BFI-2-S and BFI-2-XS SPSS scoring syntax
Qualtrics version of the BFI-2 short and extra-short forms

Citation for the BFI-2-S and BFI-2-XS

Soto, C. J., & John, O. P. (2017). Short and extra-short forms of the Big Five Inventory–2: The BFI-2-S and BFI-2-XS. Journal of Research in Personality, 68, 69-81. 

Translations of the BFI-2

Besides English, the BFI-2 is also available in the languages listed below, and is currently being translated into additional languages. If you are interested in conducting a translation project, please contact Chris Soto.

BFI-2 Chinese self-report form and scoring key
BFI-2 Danish self-report form and scoring key
BFI-2 Dutch self-report form and scoring key
BFI-2 German self-report form (documentation)
BFI-2 Hebrew self-report form and scoring key
BFI-2 Indonesian self-report form and scoring key
BFI-2 Norwegian self-report form and scoring key
BFI-2 Polish self-report form and scoring key
BFI-2 Russian self-report form and scoring key
BFI-2 Slovak self-report form and scoring key (short and extra-short forms)
BFI-2 Spanish self-report form and scoring key (short form, extra-short form)
BFI-2 Turkish self-report form and scoring key

Preliminary translations of the BFI-2 into more than 30 additional languages are available from the International Situations Project.

The Behavioral, Emotional, and Social Skills Inventory (BESSI)

Social, Emotional, and Behavioral skills (SEB skills) are capacities that people use to maintain their social relationships, regulate their emotions, manage their goals, and learn from experience. There are many specific SEB skills, known as skill facets. Most of these facets can be organized into five major skill domains: Self-Management, Social Engagement, Cooperation, Emotional Resilience, and Innovation Skills.

The Behavioral, Emotional, and Social Skills Inventory (BESSI) is a comprehensive, reliable, valid, and efficient measure of SEB skills. It assesses 32 specific skill facets nested within the five major skill domains listed above. The BESSI uses a skill inventory format. Each BESSI item describes a specific, skill-relevant behavior, and the user rates how well they (or a target person, if they are rating someone else) can perform that behavior.

How to Use the BESSI

The BESSI is freely available for non-commercial purposes, such as scientific research, program evaluation, and personal use. To download the BESSI forms and instructions, and learn more about the measure, visit SEBskills.com

Citation for the BESSI

Soto, C. J., Napolitano, C. M., Sewell, M. N., Yoon, H. J., & Roberts, B. W. (in press). An integrative framework for conceptualizing and assessing social, emotional, and behavioral skills: The BESSI. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology