The study, which was published yesterday (7 June 2010) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that women with higher levels of neuroticism and more extravert men, are likely to give birth to a larger number of children in societies with traditionally high birth rates.
The study also found evidence of a link between maternal personality traits and offspring´s physical condition, as women with higher neuroticism levels were more likely to have children with a decreased body mass index (BMI), reflecting malnutrition.
Personality traits are increasingly being studied to understand individual-level determinants of fertility patterns, and how differences in personality can be maintained by natural selection. Previous work has been carried out in modern Western populations, but the current research was conducted in a more traditional population, enabling the team to test how personality affects fertility rates in a `natural environment´ characterized by high birth rates.
The researchers gathered data from four villages in rural Senegal. They then investigated the effects of personality for both partners on the number and health of their offspring using the Big Five personality dimensions which psychologists consider to be the five fundamental personality traits present in all humans.
Women with above-average levels of neuroticism, prone to be anxious, depressive, and moody, had 12% more children than those with below average. This relationship was stronger amongst women with a higher social status. A negative association between maternal neuroticism and offspring´s physical condition suggested that high neuroticism carries a cost for the families.
In the study of men, individuals with above average levels of extraversion, prone to be sociable and outgoing, had 14% more children than men with below average extraversion.
The research was conducted by Dr Virpi Lummaa, from the University of Sheffield´s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, Dr Alexandra Alvergne, from the Department of Anthropology, University College London and Markus Jokela from the University of Helsinki, Finland.
Dr Virpi Lummaa said: "Our results show that personality predicts family size differently in men and women, and those men with largest families have personality aspects different from the women with the largest families. Gaining understanding of such individual-level determinants of reproductive decisions helps in the current debate on the role of individual versus social factors in explaining recent fertility changes around the world."
Notes for Editors: The paper, entitled `Personality and reproductive success in a high-fertility human population´ was published on 7 June 2010 in Volume 107, Issue 22 of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Alexandra Alvergne, Markus Jokela and Virpi Lummaa.
For further information please contact: Lauren Anderson, Media Relations Officer, on 0114 2221046 or email email@example.com
Lauren Anderson | EurekAlert!
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.07.2018 | Life Sciences
18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine