Men with a greater range of personality traits have sex more often and produce more offspring, a new Queensland University of Technology study shows. Authored by Stephen Whyte, Robert C. Brooks, Ho Fai Chan, and Benno Torgler and published in Personality and Individual Differences, “Do certain personality traits provide a mating market competitive advantage? Sex, offspring & the big five” is the largest study of this kind ever conducted in Australia.
Queensland University of Technology researchers collected their data from the online Australian Sex Survey conducted in 2016. Only heterosexuals were included in the analysis, which gave the researchers a sample of 3,000 men and 1,500 women. For the 2016 survey, the participants answered a slew of socio-demographic questions and were given a given a mini-marker Big Five personality test.
The Big Five personality traits, also known as the OCEAN model and the five-factor model (FFM), is a widely-accepted model of personality often used in academic psychology. Although research has shown that there appears to exist an unlimited number of personality variables, the five personality traits – factors – that have been identified are an openness to experience, extroversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness, per Openpsychometrics.
Throughout human history, both men and women have used competitive advantages to survive, obtain resources, succeed in business, sports, artistic and other endeavors. However, Queensland University of Technology researchers note, little is known about the advantages and disadvantages of personality traits – as measured and defined by the widely-accepted five-factor model – and how they influence reproductive behavior and mating.
Their research shows that there are key personality differences between men and women in offspring success and sexual frequency. For both men and women, extraversion is linked to greater sexual frequency.
“We found key personality differences between the sexes in both sexual frequency and offspring success. Compared to females, males report a larger number of personality factors that influence such outcomes, which explains a greater proportion of the variation in sexual activity.”
When it comes to men, those with a greater range of personality traits have more sex and produce more offspring. The combinations that appear to be linked to higher sexual frequency are combinations of high extraversion and high agreeableness, high extraversion and high conscientiousness, high agreeableness and high conscientiousness.
Extraversion and low openness are also linked to increased offspring, Queensland University of Technology researchers note, but only when it comes to men. When it comes to women, only more agreeable females were found to have more children.
“Our findings suggest that greater variance in male traits and their particular combinations thereof may provide a fitness comparative advantage for males, but not necessarily for females,” the researchers conclude.