Collins Conference Room
Seminar
Speaker: 
Paul Smaldino (University of California, Merced)

This event is by invitation only.

Abstract: Higher order psychological characteristics like social identity and personality are often viewed as emerging under universally-present constraints. Such constraints implicitly limit the development of these characteristics to the distributions observed in WEIRD societies. In the case of personality, this means that variation in behavioral traits is expected to cluster according to something like the Big Five dimensions of openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. In the case of social identity, such concrete constructs are lacking, but in general this means that the manifestation of self presumably presents similarly across cultures. However, humans are defined by nothing so much as their flexibility to adapt to different ecological and sociocultural environments. From this assumption of flexibility, I proposed that core aspects of our expressed behavior—personality and social identity—are influenced by and adapted to the social and ecological environment at the structural level. I will present some of my work on population-level theories of personality and social identity, backed by both empirical evidence and mathematical modeling, which account for observed cross-cultural patterns of variation and make novel predictions. Implications for understanding cultural evolution more broadly will be discussed. 

Purpose: 
Research Collaboration
SFI Host: 
Tamara Van der Does and Mirta Galesic