Personality Traits Characterized by the Adjectives in A Dream of Red Mansions

  • Guorong Ma
  • Junpeng Zhu
  • Wanzhen Chen
  • Wei WangEmail author


Text in the novel, A Dream of Red Mansions (DRM), which is thought to broadly reflect Chinese culture, contains a rich source of adjectives, verbs, and motion-event descriptions. These personality-descriptive adjectives used in DRM might help depict personality structure. We selected 493 personality-descriptive adjectives from the first 80 chapters of the novel, and administered them to 732 Chinese university students. With exploratory factor analyses, we tried the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7-factor solutions, and found the five-factor one was relatively clearer. The five factors of personality were respectively titled Wicked, Intelligent, Amiable, Conscientious, and Frank. Men scored higher on Wicked and Conscientious, but lower on Amiable compared with women. As a preliminary trial, our study demonstrated that personality-descriptive adjectives in DRM characterize the personality structure, but leaves an open question on how the DRM-author described disordered personality traits or personality disorders (to be answered in Chapter “ Narrations of Personality Disorders in A Dream of Red Mansions”).


A Dream of Red Mansions Late imperial China Lexical approach Normal personality trait 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guorong Ma
    • 1
  • Junpeng Zhu
    • 2
    • 3
  • Wanzhen Chen
    • 4
  • Wei Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry/School of Public HealthZhejiang University College of MedicineHangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryZhejiang Provincial People’s HospitalHangzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryPeople’s Hospital of Hangzhou Medical CollegeHangzhouChina
  4. 4.Department of Social WorkEast China University of Science and TechnologyShanghaiChina

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