Temperament-Personality-Character and Evolutionary Biology

  • Xenia Gonda
  • Kostas N. Fountoulakis


While evolution aims at ‘survival of the fittest’ and thus at selecting the most adaptive and optimal single manifestation of a given characteristic, in the personality and behaviour of humans marked differences are observable, with remarkably distinct manifestations of personality trait and temperament levels leading to a multimodal distribution in the population. As these personality trait and temperament differences are heritable and are underpinned by genetic variation, and are also associated with environmental influences, the question arises on what contributed to these significant personality differences and how can they be conceived and explained from an evolutionary point of view. The present chapter overviews the turning points in the evolutionary psychology conceptualisation of human personality and personality differences, the different evolutionary processes which may theoretically account for and explain individual personality variation, and summarises differences in personality traits and temperaments in the most prevalent personality models from the aspect of their evolutionary adaptiveness.


Evolution Temperament Personality Adaptiveness Interaction with the environment Selective neutrality Mutation-selection balance Balancing selection 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xenia Gonda
    • 1
  • Kostas N. Fountoulakis
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapySemmelweis UniversityBudapestHungary
  2. 2.3rd Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, School of Health SciencesAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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