Dominance in human (Homo sapiens) personality space and in hominoid phylogeny


Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Unlike nonhuman primates, individual differences between humans in dominance do not appear as broad personality factors. This may be attributable to differences between the questionnaires used to study human and nonhuman primate personality. Alternatively, this may reflect differences in the organization of personality in humans and nonhuman primates. To determine which of these possibilities was most likely, 1147 participants were recruited and asked to rate their personality and/or that of somebody else on the Hominoid Personality Questionnaire (HPQ), which has been used to study nonhuman primate personality. A large subset of these participants (~80%) also completed self- and/or rater reports of one of three questionnaires used to measure human personality. Exploratory factor analyses of HPQ rater report data yielded five factors. These factors correlated mostly in expected ways with scales from questionnaires used to study human personality. Exploratory factor analyses of HPQ self-report data yielded no clear number of factors and no consistent evidence with respect to the presence of a dominance factor. Subsequent analyses compared HPQ scales that represented dominance factors in chimpanzees, bonobos, mountain gorillas, and orangutans, to scales derived from the Revised NEO Personality Inventory, including Fearless Dominance, which combined Neuroticism, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Extraversion facets, Emotional Stability (the inverse of Neuroticism), and Extraversion’s Assertiveness facet. Fearless Dominance and Assertiveness were most like the great ape dominance factors. The absence of human dominance factors, therefore, appears to reflect present or past social conditions of our species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-254
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date30 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • egalitarianism
  • evolution
  • factors
  • structure
  • traits


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