Ecological Approaches to Personality

Aurelio José Figueredo, Pedro S.A. Wolf, Paul R. Gladden, Sally Olderbak, Dok J. Andrzejczak, W. Jake Jacobs

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews the theoretical arguments and empirical evidence that individual variation in personality and behavior is shaped by a combination of: frequency-dependent niche-splitting, developmental plasticity, genetic diversification, directional social selection, and behavioral flexibility. It argues that extant theory and data are inconsistent with the aim of assigning the evolution of individual differences to any one selective pressure to the exclusion of all others. Instead, the ecological conditions intrinsic to the social circumstances of many species, including humans, favor a combination of these shaping pressures. Thus, the only single superordinate category that includes most of theseconvergent and divergent selective pressures is social selection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Evolution of Personality and Individual Differences
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199893485
ISBN (Print)9780195372090
StatePublished - May 1 2011


  • Behavioral flexibility
  • Developmental plasticity
  • Directional social selection
  • Frequency-dependent niche-splitting
  • Genetic diversification
  • Individual differences
  • Personality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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