Behavioral geneticists and evolutionary psychologists have generally pursued human behavioral analyses with little theoretical or methodological exchange. However, significant benefits might accrue from increased communication between these disciplines. The primary goals of this article are (1) to identify meaningful junctures between behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology, (2) to describe behavioral genetic research designs and their applications to evolutionary analyses, and (3) to reassess current personality research in light of behavioral genetic and evolutionary concepts and techniques. The five-factor model of personality is conceptualized as subsuming variation in normative species-typical systems with adaptive functions in the human environment of evolutionary adaptation. Considered as universal evolved mechanisms, personality systems are often seen in dynamic conflict within individuals and as highly compartmentalized in their functioning between settings. However, genetically influenced individual differences in personality may also be understood within an evolutionary framework. Studies of the heritability of personality traits indicate broad-sense heritabilities in the 0.40-0.50 range with evidence of substantial nonadditive genetic variation and nonshared environmental influences. Evidence indicates that evolutionary theory (e.g., inclusive fitness theory) predicts patterns of social interaction (e.g., cooperation and bereavement) in relatives. Furthermore, variation in personality may constitute a range of viable strategies matching the opportunities available in the complex niche environment of human societies. Within this wide range of viable strategies, personality variation functions as a resource environment for individuals in the sense that personality variation is evaluated according to the interests of the evaluator (e.g., friendships, coalitions, or mate choice).
Segal, Nancy L. and MacDonald, Kevin B.
"Behavioral Genetics and Evolutionary Psychology: Unified Perspective on Personality Research,"
2, Article 2.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol70/iss2/2