Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

Living Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford


Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_1554-1



The niche refers to the ecological role of an organism in, and its relationship to, its ecosystem.


Organisms can exploit a variety of niches that in turn exert selection pressure on the population and hence explain adaptive genetic variation between members of the population. Recent discussions within evolutionary theory have invoked two quite distinct concepts of the niche. Niche construction theory (NCT) and developmental niche construction (DNC) are both theories designed to put the active organism back at the center of evolutionary theory, albeit with different conception of the niche at their center.

Theories of Niche Construction

NCT refers to the process by which an organism alters its own environment and hence influences its own and its species selection pressure. It suggests that rather than populations of organisms passively adapting to a changing environment, they actively construct their environment – their selective niche...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Notre DameNotre DameUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Jon Sefcek
    • 1
  1. 1.Kent State UniversityKentUSA