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Big five personality traits influence mate choice and reproductive success

Researchers examine the big five personality traits and how they can influence mate choice, sexual frequency, and success of reproduction.

Depending on the environment, there are different personality traits that can be more beneficial than others. Personality traits, and a combination of them, can impact career, hobby, and relationship choice. It is hypothesized that certain personality traits may be more beneficial when it comes to mating.

The big-five personality test is a five-factor model test that examines the big five personality traits. These traits are openness, agreeableness, extraversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousness.

In a recent study published in Personality and Individual Differences, researchers studied the relationship between the big five personality traits with sexual activity and reproduction. They included female and male Australian participants aged 18 to 81. All participants used online dating websites and completed an online survey that asked questions about their age, gender, education, and much more. Personal questions about sexual activity frequency were also asked. Participants also completed the big five personality test. 

Interestingly, the findings showed that combinations of personality traits in males are more beneficial than for females. This is because men have to compete for sexual access more than females. Females are naturally pickier when it comes to choosing a mate.

Results showed that more extraverted, emotionally stable, and conscientious, as well as less agreeable males seemed to experience higher sexual frequency. More extraverted females showed to have more sexual activity too. A person with a combination of more agreeableness and higher conscientiousness showed to have higher sexual frequency. 

More extraverted males had more offspring than less agreeable males. On the other hand, extraversion and openness did not affect reproductive success in females; however, more agreeable females had greater reproductive success. Being either extremely extraverted or introverted resulted in less sexual frequency.

This study’s limitations include the uncertainty of participants being completely truthful about how frequently or infrequently they are involved in sexual activity.

Every person is unique in that they share a different combination of the big five personality traits. Further research on this topic in a university-based setting is suggested.

Written by Laura Laroche, HBASc, Medical Writer


  1. When it comes tolove: Personality matters: QUT research. 2018,, assessed 22 Nov.2018.
  2. Whyte, Steven. “Do Certain Personality Traits Provide aMating Market Competitive Advantage? Sex, Offspring and the big 5”.Personality and Individual Differences.2018. 158-169. Online.



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