Mind, Body, Cultural Evolution Lab

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The evolution of personality, values, and culture

Personality and value differences between both individuals and cultures pose an interesting question from an evolutionary perspective. If both personality and values are functional for individuals – that is traits and values help people to adapt well to their environment –  then we should not see any variation between individuals and cultures, because the optimal personality and value combination that provides the best fitness would have prevailed during evolution and we would see little differences today. Yet, we see both pervasive differences between individuals and between different cultures. Our research team explores plausible origins of these differences, examining why humans are both so similar and different in their personality traits and values. This research uses large scale survey data, experimental methods, textual analyses and ethnographic data.