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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Use of a Five Factor Model in Equine Personality Research


In order to test the validity of a Five Factor Model of personality on horses, a questionnaire was replicated from a previous study, with an added option of don’t know to the traditional 5-point Likert scale. Raters responded to seventeen items of the 60-item scale with don’t know responses greater than 10% of the time and these seventeen items were subsequently removed from the study. A Principal Components Analysis was used with the remaining items, resulting in eight factors: Neuroticism, Active, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, Openness, Social Extraversion, Temperamental, and Disciplined. These components correspond well to the five components extracted in the original study, indicating good reliability of the scale. However, 17 items from the original questionnaire were deemed irrelevant by raters, indicating a threat to validity. Though the remaining items were able to be used in analyses, further studies should examine if these are in fact the most effective items to use in the investigation of equine personality.

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