Biological Theory

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 64–73

Emotional Selection and Human Personality

Long Article

DOI: 10.1007/s13752-013-0093-3

Cite this article as:
Fellmann, F. & Walsh, R. Biol Theory (2013) 8: 64. doi:10.1007/s13752-013-0093-3


This article addresses the emergence of human personality in evolution. The mechanisms of natural and sexual selection developed by Darwin are not sufficient to explain the sense of self. Therefore we attempt to trace the evolutionary process back to a form of selection termed “emotional selection.” This involves reconstructing selection out of subjective qualities and showing how emotions enable human forms of life that are relevant for the cultural level of cooperation that marks our species. We see a paradigm shift in the concept of emotional selection that binds emotion and evolution closer together, thus closing the explanatory gap between classical ethology and modern evolutionary psychology.


Evolutionary psychology Forms of selection Higher-order emotions Human sexuality Personal self-consciousness 

Copyright information

© Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyChemnitz University of TechnologyChemnitzGermany
  2. 2.Philosophisches SeminarUniversity of MünsterMünsterGermany

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