The H Factor of Personality
Why Some People are Manipulative, Self-Entitled, Materialistic, and Exploitive—And Why It Matters for Everyone
Paper 212 pp.
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The “H” in the H factor stands for “Honesty-Humility,” one of the six basic dimensions of the human personality. People who have high levels of H are sincere and modest; people who have low levels are deceitful and pretentious. It isn’t intuitively obvious that traits of honesty and humility go hand in hand, and until very recently the H factor hadn’t been recognized as a basic dimension of personality. But scientific evidence shows that traits of honesty and humility form a unified group of personality traits, separate from those of the other five groups identified several decades ago.
This book, written by the discoverers of the H factor, explores the scientific findings that show the importance of this personality dimension in various aspects of people’s lives: their approaches to money, power, and sex; their inclination to commit crimes or obey the law; their attitudes about society, politics, and religion; and their choice of friends and spouse. Finally, the book provides ways of identifying people who are low in the H factor, as well as advice on how to raise one’s own level of H.
Kibeom Lee is a professor of psychology at the University of Calgary. Originally from Seoul, South Korea, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario and was formerly a lecturer at the University of Western Australia. He is the author of many scientific articles in personality and industrial/organizational psychology.
Michael C. Ashton is a professor of psychology at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Western Ontario. He is the author of the textbook Individual Differences and Personality and of many scientific articles in personality psychology.
“The H Factor is a tour de force. Anchored in solid scientific research, it offers fascinating insights into how previously neglected aspects of personality influence people’s strategies about power, social hierarchies, money, and sex. And it offers sound practical advice for navigating the social world of some unsavory characters. It’s a ‘must-read.’”
— David M. Buss, author of The Evolution of Desire and Evolutionary Psychology: The New Science of the Mind
“A timely addition to the growing volume of literature that aims to present a more thorough picture of human behaviour. With its focus on the newly discovered Honesty-Humility (H) factor of personality, as subsumed by the HEXACO model and defined by traits such as deceitfulness, pretentiousness, and boastfulness at the low end, it tackles the complex theme of sub-clinical social malevolence in a manner that is ultimately accessible to most readers. By blending narrative and anecdotal content with summaries of statistical methodology, the authors deliver a comprehensive yet concise introduction to personality’s latest newcomer—the H factor.... [The presentation] proves helpful for researchers interested in the breadth of influence of the new H factor, as well as for laypeople curious about the impact and expression of the H-factor tendencies in their own lives.... An indispensable resource for those looking for a comprehensive introduction to the HEXACO model, those curious about the direction of personality research, or those seeking a meaningful dissection of antisocial behaviour. In contrast to the depth and sometimes gravity of the subject matter discussed, the authors’ familiar tone and casual style allow for an effortless learning experience. As a result, the book is a refreshing and welcome addition to the ongoing debate regarding universal language in the study of human personality.”
— Livia Veselka, University of Western Ontario, Personality and Individual Differences
“Kibeom Lee and Michael Ashton, two leading figures in the science of personality, reveal some surprising facts about Honesty-Humility, a profound but misunderstood aspect of personality. Everyone from the sincere and scrupulous to the sly and duplicitous will look at themselves—and most certainly at other people—in a new light.”
— Paul Silvia, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, author of How to Write A Lot