Perception of personality traits and semantic learning in evolving hominids

James E. King, Duane M. Rumbaugh and E. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh

in The Descent of Mind

Published in print March 2000 | ISBN: 9780192632593
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670497 | DOI:
Perception of personality traits and semantic learning in evolving hominids

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There are three main arguments in this chapter. First, human personality dimensions predict behaviour and other humans can accurately assess those dimensions based on that behaviour. Second, non-human primates also display personality dimensions that predict their behaviour. Human and probably non-human primates can also assess those personality dimensions based on behaviour. The chapter also suggests that the combined generalisation and discrimination required to classify individual personality dimensions accurately within a complex, socially interacting group is similar to that in which the semantic meaning of a word or other linguistic symbol is inferred from experiencing that symbol in a variety of contexts, and indeed may have thereby contributed to the earliest emergence of the semantic dimension of language. After an inevitable period of confusion and disagreement about the number and description of the factors, a consensus emerged that, as a first general approximation, most personality descriptors could be subsumed into five factors, usually described as the Big Five.

Keywords: human personality; behaviour; humans; non-human primates; individual personality; linguistic symbol; semantic dimension; language; personality descriptors; Big Five

Chapter.  8911 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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