The Role of Competition and Cooperation in Shaping Personality: An Evolutionary Perspective on Social Dominance, Machiavellianism, and Children's Social Development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

This chapter attempts to describe and explain children's social and personality development through an evolutionary lense. It begins by briefly outlining the modern history of evolution and individual differences, including looking at key concepts (e.g., phenotypic plasticity) and using a very promising meta-theoretical perspective (the life history theory). It then reintroduces the construct of "social dominance" and presents arguments to support the critical roles of both prosocial and antisocial behavior in interindividual competition. Third, it sketches out the theoretical (and methodological) implications of social dominance relations for human personality development, and then exemplifies with a theory and body of empirical work exploring children's social dominance relations and the strategies they employ, including a mixed strategy which has been referred to as Machiavellian behavior. The chapter concludes by suggesting that human personality cannot be fully understood without looking towards evolutionary theory.

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

Keywords

  • Interindividual competition
  • Machiavellian behavior
  • Personality development child development
  • Social development
  • Social dominance

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