Sense of direction: General factor saturation and associations with the Big-Five traits

David M. Condon*, Joshua Wilt, Cheryl Ann Cohen, William Revelle, Mary Hegarty, David H. Uttal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The ability to locate and orient ourselves with respect to environmental space is known as sense of direction ("SOD"). While there is considerable evidence for the predictive utility of self-report measures of this psychological construct, relatively little research has investigated the psychometric properties of the self-report scale by which it is most commonly measured - the Santa Barbara Sense of Direction scale (SBSOD, Hegarty et al., 2002) - or the broader personality correlates. The present study evaluated the factor structure of the SBSOD following administration to 12,155 individuals and situated it among prominent sources of individual differences, specifically the Big Five personality traits and intelligence. Findings suggest that the SBSOD scale has relatively high general factor saturation, and that a considerable portion of the variance in SBSOD scores is explained by other personality traits, including Conscientiousness (. r=. 0.33), Intellect (. r=. 0.27), Emotional Stability (. r=. 0.26), and Extraversion (. r=. 0.23). Cognitive ability was less highly correlated with SBSOD scores when measured at the level of general intelligence (. r=. 0.11) and in terms of mental rotation ability (. r=. .07). Recommendations are given for revision of the SBSOD scale based on item-level analyses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)38-43
Number of pages6
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Big Five
  • Cognitive ability
  • Individual differences
  • Personality
  • Sense of direction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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