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The H Factor of Personality - Why Some People are Manipulative, Self-Entitled, Materialistic, and Exploitive—And Why It Matters for Everyone

The H Factor of Personality

Why Some People are Manipulative, Self-Entitled, Materialistic, and Exploitive—And Why It Matters for Everyone

by Kibeom Lee & Michael C. Ashton
Subjects Psychology
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Paperback : 9781554588343, 212 pages, November 2012

Table of contents

Table of Contents for The H Factor of Personality: Why Some People are Manipulative, Self-Entitled, Materialistic, and Exploitve-And Why It Matters for Everyone by Kibeom Lee and Michael C. Ashton

List of Boxes


1 Meet the H Factor

2 The Missing Link of Personality Psychology

The "Big Five" Personality Factors

Six Personality Factors

3 HEXACO: The Six Dimensions of Personality

Engagement and Endeavour: Openness to Experience (O), Conscientiousness (C), and Extraversion (X)

Altruism versus Antagonism: Honesty-Humility (H), Agreeableness (A), and Emotionality (E)

4 A Field Guide to Low-H People

Low H, Low E: Greed without Fear-or Pity

Low H, High E: Weaseling and Whining

Low H, High X: Narcissism Run Wild

Low H, Low X: The Smug Silent Types

Low H, Low A: Just Plain Nasty

Low H, High A: Inoffensive but Insincere

Low H, Low C: An Employer's Worst Nightmare

Low H, High C: Selfish Ambition

Low H, Low O: Shallow and Narrow

Low H, High O: Sophisticated Snobbery

5 Can You Tell Someone's Level of H?

Personality in Strangers

Self-Reports of H: Are They Honest?

Knowing Someone's Personality: H Is Among the Last Things You Learn

H in the Workplace: Hard to Tell

6 Do High-H People Flock Together?

Similarity Beyond Personality

Similarity-and Perceived Similarity-in Friends

Personality, Values, and Relationships

7 Politics

Right-Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) and Social Dominance Orientation (SDO)

O and Right-Wing Authoritarianism

H and Social Dominance Orientation

Personality and Political Party Support

8 Religion

Personality and Religious Beliefs

Traditional Religion versus Mystical Spirituality: The Role of O

Reasons for Religious Observance: The Role of H

Do Religions Promote High H?

9 Money, Power, and Sex




10 How to Identify Low-H People-and How to Live Around Them

Not-So-Valid Signs of High H

Respectability / Anti-conformity / Religious Piety / Championing the Underdog / Blunt Criticism / Publicly Displayed Generosity

Valid Signs of Low H

Beating the System / Instrumental Ingratiation / Gambling and Financial Speculation / Sexual Infidelity / Conspicuous Consumption (and Name Dropping) / "Above the Law" Mentality / Contempt of Other Groups

Living Around Low-H People

Epilogue: On Becoming a High-H Person

Appendix: The HEXACO Personality Inventory-Revised

HEXACO Personality Inventory-Revised (Self-Report Form)

HEXACO Personality Inventory-Revised (Observer Report Form)

HEXACO-PI-R Scoring and Interpretation




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 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

"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

"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