PUBLIC TALK: Personality, Values, Culture, Evolution – why are we similar and yet so different?
|Personality, Values, Culture, Evolution – why are we similar and yet so different? : Public lecture by Ronald Fischer, Center for Applied Cross-Cultural Research, Victoria University of Wellington
Humans are complex social beings. Curious observers through the ages have noted the dramatic differences in human behaviour around the world. How similar or different are our personalities? To understand human behaviour, an integrated perspective is required – one which considers both what we regularly do (our personality traits) and what motivates us (our values). Traits and values have been studied separately in psychology and related disciplines, yet, what we do (our traits) must somehow be related to what we hold dearly (our values). Furthermore, how can we make sense of both the proposed similarities and differences in personality and values that have been reported by travellers, philosophers and more recently in large survey studies?
In this talk, Professor Fischer, Co-Director of the Center for Applied Cross-Cultural Research at Victoria University of Wellington and 2018 UWA Institute of Advanced Studies Visiting Fellow, will use an evolutionary perspective to address these challenging questions. He will present an integration of personality and human values into a functional framework that highlights how both psychological processes are driven by mechanisms in our brains and related to our genes. Equipped with these insights, he will then tackle why we sometimes encounter different personalities and values in some parts of the world, but also debunks the myth of large cultural differences in personality. Deep down, we are all similar and an evolutionary perspective can tell us when, where and why we may behave and value things differently. He will present a gene-culture coevolution model of personality and values that shows how genes, economics, social conditions, and climate jointly shape personality. Finally, he will provide some examples that can help people to reflect on who they are and what makes us all so fascinatingly similar, and yet different.
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