Evolution, the Five Factor Model, and Levels of Personality

California State University, Long Beach
Journal of Personality (Impact Factor: 2.44). 03/1998; 63(3). DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.1995.tb00505.x
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This paper interprets the Five Factor Model as subsuming variation in normative, speciestypical systems with adaptive functions in the human environment of evolutionary adaptedness. It is argued that the evolutionary logic of personality systems is apparent in the patterning of mean sex differences in personality. Personality systems are conceptualized as evolved motivational systems with an affective core. The evolved motive dispositions at the core of personality anchor a hierarchy of levels of cognitive and behavioral functioning aimed at attaining or avoiding the affective states central to these personality systems. Personality systems are seen as often in dynamic conflict within individuals and as highly compartmentalized in their functioning between settings. While variation in personality consists of a range of viable strategies for humans, extremes on these systems tend to be maladaptive, although in at least some cases individuals who approach the maladaptive extremes of indi...

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Available from: Kevin Macdonald, Jul 26, 2013
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    • "The balancing selection model has been favored for explaining the variation in personality traits (MacDonald, 1995MacDonald, , 1998 Nettle, 2006; Figueredo et al., 2010; Wilson, 1994). More specifically, assume that for a given personality trait there is an optimal level; this being the case, selection forces would favor alleles that predispose for this level and would eliminate from the gene pool any alleles that predispose for different ones. "
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    ABSTRACT: Personality traits such as low emotional stability and low empathy have a considerable negative impact on an individual's mating success. This impact is more severe in cases where such traits reach extreme levels and are classified as personality disorders. Several evolutionary models have been proposed to account for the relative high prevalence of these apparently maladaptive traits. The present paper contributes to the explanatory power of these models by putting forward the hypothesis that in ancestral human societies selection pressures on personality traits that predict success in intimate relationships had been weak. The reason why is that mate choice had been controlled by parents, mainly fathers, who did not place considerable weight on these traits in a prospective son- and daughter-in-law, and who were willing to impose substantial costs on their children in order to benefit themselves from a marriage alliance.
    Full-text · Article · May 2016 · Personality and Individual Differences
    • "An exploration of the Five-Factor Model (FFM, Costa & McCrae, 1992) provides an illustration of how an evolutionary perspective may be fruitfully applied to personality psychology. High levels of extraversion describe a suite of cognitions, emotions, and behaviors hypothesized to promote mating (MacDonald, 2006) both directly (e.g., by engaging potential mates) and indirectly by facilitating the formation of friendships and alliances that enable upward social mobility (Denissen, 2008; Nettle, 2006). High levels of agreeableness may promote successful group coordination and the cultivation of interpersonal bonds by motivating individuals to prize cooperation and group goals (Denissen, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: The current study tested the hypotheses that (1) psychological adaptations calibrate Openness to Experience to facilitate or deter pursuit of short-term mating, and (2) this calibration varies as a function of mating strategy, physical attractiveness, and sex—individual differences that shift the costs and benefits of alternative personality strategies. Participants completed a personality inventory before and after reading vignettes describing mating opportunities of different durations (short- and long-term) with individuals of differing levels of attractiveness. Among study findings, participants presented with short-term mating opportunities with individuals of average attractiveness exhibited down-regulated Openness relative to those presented with highly attractive mates. Moreover, these effects varied as a function of the interaction between participants’ sex, mating strategy, and attractiveness. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that evolved psychological mechanisms adaptively calibrate Openness levels in response to short-term mating opportunities. More broadly, they highlight the heuristic value of an evolutionary framework for the study of personality and individual differences.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Personality and Individual Differences
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    • "Across both samples, Neuroticism was consistently negatively associated with the experience and construal of pOsitivity . This finding stands in line with the conceptualizations of Neuroticism as a domain of negative affect (e.g.,Costa & McCrae, 1992;McCrae & Costa, 1996, 1998) or affective intensity and volatility (e.g.,MacDonald, 1995MacDonald, , 1998McAdams, 1992;McAdams & Table 2Correlations of the Big Five with situation experiences, contact, and construal in the Austrian sample for each wave. "
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    ABSTRACT: In situation perceptions, the objective situation and its unique construal are confounded. We propose a multiple-rater approach where situations are rated by raters in-situ (who experienced the situations first-hand) and raters ex-situ (who read participants’ factual descriptions of the situations). Two multi-wave studies (Austria: N=176-179, 3 waves; USA: N=202, 4 waves), examined associations between personality traits (Big Five OCEAN) and four sources of ratings of situation characteristics (Situational Eight DIAMONDS), namely (a) in-situ (situation experience), (b) ex-situ (situation contact, conservative), (c) what is shared between in-situ and ex-situ (situation contact, liberal), and (d) in-situ controlled for ex-situ (situation construal). Replicable evidence was found that personality is associated with the situations people encounter as well as their construal of them.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Journal of Research in Personality
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