Jan 9 2013, 3:22am CST | by Luigi Lugmayr
Studying the Tsimane, an indigenous group in central Bolivia, Michael Gurven, professor of anthropology at UCSB, found they did not necessarily exhibit the FFM model, comprising openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism, according to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
The Tsimane live in communities ranging from 30 to 500 people dispersed among approximately 90 villages.
Since the mid-20th century, they have come into greater contact with the modern world although fertility and mortality rates remain high, the study noted.
But Gurven and his team, which includes Christopher Von Rueden, postdoctoral scholar in anthropology, discovered more evidence of a Tsimane "Big Two" -- prosociality and industriousness.
These combine elements of the traditional Big Five and may represent unique aspects of highly social, subsistence societies.
"Similar to the conscientiousness portion of the Big Five, several traits that bundle together among the Tsimane included efficiency, perseverance, and thoroughness. These traits reflect the industriousness of a society of subsistence farmers," said Gurven.
"However," Gurven continued, "other industrious traits included being energetic, relaxed, and helpful. In small-scale societies, individuals have fewer choices for social or sexual partners, and limited domains of opportunity for cultural success and proficiency. This may require abilities that link aspects of different traits, resulting in a trait structure other than the Big Five."
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