The other general factor – GFP

The existence of a GFP which divides the world into Alphas and Betas would be of no surprise to our game theorist friends.

Just, 2011. A review of literature on the general factor of personality

The position of a general factor of personality atop the hierarchal structure of personality has broad implications for the field of personality theory. It suggests that natural selection has shaped our social fitness in addition to our intellectual prowess. This was first suggested by Darwin (1871) and further investigated by Galton (1887). Rushton’s (1985) differential K theory suggested that variability exists in humans in the extent to which they utilize the K-strategy. While the idea of a general factor of intelligence has received much attention in psychology, a similar solution for personality has not been thoroughly investigated until recently (Musek, 2007). A number of studies have used behavioral–genetic analyses to quantify the genetic basis of the GFP (e.g. Rushton et al., 2008; Rushton et al., 2009; Veselka et al., 2009b). Further research will hopefully use a large enough sample to provide more insight into the existence of non-additive genetic effects. The GFP has been found to correlate positively with intelligence (Schermer & Vernon, 2010). As well, neurobiological foundations of the GFP have been proposed (Erdle & Rushton, 2010). Data from a number of highly diverse measures of personality have revealed the position of the GFP atop the hierarchy of personality structure (e.g. Rushton & Irwing, 2009a, 2009b, 2009c, 2009d; Rushton et al., 2010). The statistical artifact explanation of the GFP presents a real concern for the GFP’s validity and future research should address this issue in light of the recent, highly varied evidence supporting the existence of the GFP. Additionally, gender differences in the general factor of personality present an area of future research that could be quite fruitful. Males and females fulfill distinct social roles, and it is highly likely that evolution has selected for different personality traits in males and females due to different environmental pressures. In a similar vein, an investigation of whether the GFP accounts for more variance in male or female samples could provide interesting results. A stable, measurable GFP would possess tremendous predictive validity as a measure for socially desirable traits. This is exemplified by the recent trend in GFP research towards examining the relationship between the GFP and job-performance, employee selection and assessment, and social status (Van der Linden & Bakker, submitted for publication; Van der Linden, & te Nijenhuis, et al., 2010; Van der Linden, & Scholte, et al., 2010). It is hoped that this trend will continue, and that it will be complemented by additional research regarding what exactly lies at the heart of the GFP.

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