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An Adaptationist Framework for Personality Science

Lukaszewski, Aaron W. ; Lewis, David M.G. ; Durkee, Patrick K. ; Sell, Aaron N. ; Sznycer, Daniel ; Buss, David M.

In: European Journal of Personality, 34 (June 2020), Nr. 6. pp. 1151-1174. ISSN 0890-2070 (Druck-Ausg.), 1099-0984 (Online-Ausg.)

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The field of personality psychology aspires to construct an overarching theory of human nature and individual differences: one that specifies the psychological mechanisms that underpin both universal and variable aspects of thought, emotion, and behaviour. Here, we argue that the adaptationist toolkit of evolutionary psychology provides a powerful meta-theory for characterizing the psychological mechanisms that give rise to within-person, betweenperson,and cross-cultural variations. We first outline a mechanism-centred adaptationist framework for personality science, which makes a clear ontological distinction between (i) psychological mechanisms designed to generate behavioural decisions and (ii) heuristic trait concepts that function to perceive, describe, and influence others behaviour and reputation in everyday life. We illustrate the utility of the adaptationist framework by reporting three empirical studies. Each study supports the hypothesis that the anger programme—a putative emotional adaptation—is a behaviour-regulating mechanism whose outputs are described in the parlance of the person description factor called ‘Agreeableness’. We conclude that the most productive way forward is to build theory-based models of specific psychological mechanisms, including their culturally evolved design features, until they constitute a comprehensive depiction of human nature and its multifaceted variations. © 2020 European Association of Personality Psychology

Document type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: European Journal of Personality
Volume: 34
Number: 6
Publisher: Wiley
Place of Publication: Chichester [u.a.]
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2022 15:34
Date: June 2020
ISSN: 0890-2070 (Druck-Ausg.), 1099-0984 (Online-Ausg.)
Page Range: pp. 1151-1174
Faculties / Institutes: Juristische Fakultät > Institut für Kriminologie
DDC-classification: 150 Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: agreeableness, anger, evolutional psychology, personality, social psychology
Additional Information: Dieser Beitrag ist aufgrund einer (DFG-geförderten) Allianz bzw. Nationallizenz frei zugänglich. *** This publication is freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.
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