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The Evolution of Personality and Individual Differences$
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David M. Buss and Patricia H. Hawley

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372090

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372090.001.0001

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The Development of Life History Strategies: Toward a Multi-Stage Theory

The Development of Life History Strategies: Toward a Multi-Stage Theory

(p.154) 6 The Development of Life History Strategies: Toward a Multi-Stage Theory
The Evolution of Personality and Individual Differences

Marco Del Giudice

Jay Belsky

Oxford University Press

The development of individual differences has always been a primary focus of psychological research, and it continues to be an intensely debated topic to this day. Three issues in particular stand out in contemporary debate. The first pertains to the sources of individual variation, with the pressing task of understanding the interplay between genetic and environmental factors. Second, there is the issue of early experience (especially within the family) and its role in shaping later development, a role which some question and for which there exists no comprehensive theory capable of accounting for many conflicting findings. Finally comes the issue of continuity versus discontinuity in individual differences across the life span; this subject is rendered difficult by the compartmentalized way in which development is often studied and by the lack of organizing principles for linking diverse behavioral phenomena, manifested at different points in time, into meaningful clusters. This chapter illustrates how an evolutionary approach can advance understanding of all three of these issues, and how a developmental perspective can provide fascinating insights to the study of individual differences.

Keywords:   individual differences, individual variation, early experience, evolutionary approach, life history

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