Capturing a scientific change in thinking about personality and individual differences that has been building over the past 15 years, this volume stands at an important moment in the development of psychology as a discipline. Rather than viewing individual differences as merely the raw material upon which selection operates, the contributing authors provide theories and empirical evidence which suggest that personality and individual differences are central to evolved psychological mechanisms and behavioral functioning. The book draws theoretical inspiration from life history theory, evolutionary genetics, molecular genetics, developmental psychology, personality psychology, and evolutionary psychology, while utilizing the theories of the "best and the brightest" international scientists working on this cutting edge paradigm shift.
In the first of three sections, the authors analyze personality and the adaptive landscape; here, the authors offer a novel conceptual framework for examining "personality assessment adaptations." Because individuals in a social environment have momentous consequences for creating and solving adaptive problems, humans have evolved "difference-detecting mechanisms" designed to make crucial social decisions such as mate selection, friend selection, kin investment, coalition formation, and hierarchy negotiation. In the second section, the authors examine developmental and life-history theoretical perspectives to explore the origins and development of personality over the lifespan. The third section focuses on the relatively new field of evolutionary genetics and explores which of the major evolutionary forces--such as balancing selection, mutation, co-evolutionary arms races, and drift--are responsible for the origins of personality and individual differences. Existing as a seminal work in the newly emerging evolutionary psychology field, this book is a "must-read" for anyone invested in the development of psychology as a field.