Daniel Nettle and Lars Penke (2010)

Personality: Bridging the literatures from human psychology and behavioural ecology

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 365:4043-4050.

The concept of personality has recently begun to attract a great deal of interest in behavioural ecology. However, there is also a large and mature literature on personality within human psychology. These two bodies of work have developed independently and at present make rather little reference to one another. The current paper has two main objectives. First, we seek to acquaint behavioural ecologists with the principal ideas and issues found in the human personality psychology literature. Second, we explore how ideas from the behavioural ecology literature might help advance research in human personality psychology. We suggest strong potential for convergence between the two literatures in the near future. Common themes of this future unified science of personality include the conception of personality traits as reaction norms, a commitment to the importance of direct measurement of behaviour, investigation of both proximate and ultimate explanations for personality variation, and a concern with the impact of personality variation on survival and reproductive success.