Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Playing A Game Shows How Personalities Evolved

Date:
November 9, 2008
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
Why do some of us always do the right thing while others only seem to be out for themselves? New research offers a new explanation as to why such a wide range of personality traits has evolved in humans and other social species.

Researchers offer a new explanation as to why a wide range of personality traits has evolved in humans and other social species.
Credit: iStockphoto

Why do some of us always do the right thing while others only seem to be out for themselves? Research by the universities of Exeter and Bristol offers a new explanation as to why such a wide range of personality traits has evolved in humans and other social species.

Related Articles


‘Game theory’ is used to predict the behaviour of individuals when making choices that depend on the choices of others. First developed as a tool for understanding economic behaviour, game theory is increasingly used in many diverse fields, ranging from biology and psychology to sociology and philosophy.

Using a mathematical model developed by Professor John McNamara from the University of Bristol, the team adapted the theory to allow individuals playing the ‘game’ to have some variation in their personalities to start with, and to monitor each other’s cooperative tendencies as the game was being played.

McNamara described what happened using this new variation of the game: “What we found is that watching each other’s behaviour produced individuals who were more socially aware, which in turn exaggerated the personality traits of both players. Some became more cooperative – because they became aware of the impact their decisions were making on their reputations – while others became less cooperative and exploited trusting individuals for personal gain.”

In evolutionary terms, this trend is self-perpetuating: variation begets more variation, increasing the gap between those who trusted and co-operated, and those that exploited trusting individuals.

Dr Sasha Dall from the University of Exeter’s School of Biosciences (Cornwall Campus) explains: “Our model showed a ‘positive feedback’ loop in which variation encourages social awareness, which favours greater personality divergence, maintaining the need for social awareness. In other words, because people operate in such different ways, we need information to decide whether or not trust to them. This encourages a really diverse range of responses which, in turn, makes social awareness all the more important.”

Although the model focuses on individuals, the findings have implications for understanding whole societies. They are also significant because they offer an explanation as to why variation has evolved in human beings and other social species.

The findings are published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Playing A Game Shows How Personalities Evolved." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103201207.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2008, November 9). Playing A Game Shows How Personalities Evolved. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103201207.htm
University of Exeter. "Playing A Game Shows How Personalities Evolved." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081103201207.htm (accessed March 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, March 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AAA: Distracted Driving a Serious Teen Problem

AP (Mar. 25, 2015) While distracted driving is not a new problem for teens, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says it&apos;s much more serious than previously thought. (March 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Smartphone Use Changing Our Brain and Thumb Interaction, Say Researchers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 25, 2015) European researchers say our smartphone use offers scientists an ideal testing ground for human brain plasticity. Dr Ako Ghosh&apos;s team discovered that the brains and thumbs of smartphone users interact differently from those who use old-fashioned handsets. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Many Don't Know They Have Alzheimer's, But Their Doctors Do

Newsy (Mar. 24, 2015) According to a new study by the Alzheimer&apos;s Association, more than half of those who have the degenerative brain disease aren&apos;t told by their doctors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

A Quick 45-Minute Nap Can Improve Your Memory

Newsy (Mar. 23, 2015) Researchers found those who napped for 45 minutes to an hour before being tested on information recalled it five times better than those who didn&apos;t. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins