Evolutionary Aspects of Personality Development: Evidence from Nonhuman Animals

Conor Smith, Alexander Weiss

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Personality and its development have a long evolutionary history, beginning with subtle differences in behavior selected for as a consequence of life history strategies and culminating with the complex and well documented developmental arcs observed in modern humans. Evolutionary mechanism such as frequency dependent selection and social responsiveness theory have also played a major role in the progression of personality from a
basic bold-timid spectrum to the multiple diverse factors present in humans and many other species. Using comparative studies of great ape species, several theories of the evolution of personality development are explored and evaluated. The results of these studies suggest that personality development has its roots in biological and genetic origins, as per the Five-Factor Theory, and has little to no influence from social roles, contrary to predictions from the social-investment principle.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPersonality Development Across the Lifespan
EditorsJule Specht
ISBN (Electronic)9780128047613
ISBN (Print)9780128046746
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2017


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