A map of human personality

There have been many ways to categorize human personality throughout history, from Ancient Ayurveda to the four Greek temperaments and modern Big 5 or HEXACO models.

Joseph Henrich writes about how the Big 5 are by no means universal in his book WEIRD:

So, did the Tsimane’ reveal the WEIRD-5? No, not even close. The Tsimane’ data reveal only two dimensions of personality. No matter how you slice and dice the data, there’s just nothing like the WEIRD-5. Moreover, based on the clusters of characteristics associated with each of the Tsimane’’s two personality dimensions, neither matches up nicely with any of the WEIRD-5 dimensions […] these dimensions capture the two primary routes to social success among the Tsimane’, which can be described roughly as “interpersonal prosociality” and “industriousness.” The idea is that if you are Tsimane’, you can either focus on working harder on the aforementioned productive activities and skills like hunting and weaving, or you can devote your time and mental efforts to building a richer network of social relationships.

From an evolutionary point of view, the two personality profiles that emerge from these farmers are more provisioning (male majority, but not exclusively) and a more caregiving one (female majority, but not exclusively) from an evolutionary point of view. The same can be expected from other subsistence economies: for foragers, you will get a “hunter” profile and a “gatherer” profile. What these two factors thus capture is the ancient evolutionary difference between male and female traits. In the Big 5 this trait is represented partially by the factor “agreeableness” and T/F (testosterone/estrogen) in MBTI. Men are on average much lower in agreeableness than women.

According to our ancestral mode of subsistence, we can therefore derive six (3x2) different personality profiles with 6 different extreme personality traits that correspond to the extremes in the HEXACO model (e.g. farmer male = conscientious/industrious, herder male = extroverted/risk-taking, hunter = open to many ideas/possibilities when tracking an animal):

Cultural Dynamics (link) found very similar profiles that have a very close correlation with different needs on Maslow’s pyramid (the colours are different from mine): settlers: safety, prospectors: esteem, pioneers: authenticity and self-actualization.

Combining these types with Salomon Schwartz’s value map

Cultural dynamics arrives at

Translated into my model (with MBTI terminology)

As well as with other models (HEXACO, conservative-liberal spectrum)

Global Dynamics has a lot of statistics that make the differences between the “three tribes” visible. Hunter-gatherers are egalitarian, i.e. they value justice for all, are universalist, aware of poverty and underdogs, spiritual and open.

Putting the data on the map makes it visible how egalitarian vs status-seeking evolutionary types are:

Forager, in particular, hunter types are also the quintessential life-long learners:

Cultural Dynamics has lots of interesting statistics to explore:


For more information on the evolution of the three tribes check out my book:


Originally published at http://the-big-ger-picture.blogspot.com on November 8, 2021.