New Paper:

Manson, J.H., & Kruger, D.J. (2022). Network analysis of psychometric life history indicators. Evolution and Human Behavior..

Two of the controversies besetting the field of life history theory in psychology (LHT-P) are (1) whether life history strategy (LHS) is most fruitfully conceptualized as a latent reflective factor, or as a formative, descriptive construct and (2) whether the instruments most commonly used to measure psychometric LHS adequately cover its components. Psychological network analysis, as an alternative to latent factor modeling, affords an opportunity to map the relationships among narrower constructs hypothesized to comprise psychometric LHS. We recruited 1064 U.S. undergraduates, who completed instruments comprising 23 network nodes, including the K-SF-42 scales, Kruger's (2017) mating effort and parental effort scales, and measures of childhood environmental harshness, current stability of resource access, sociosexuality, future orientation, and the dark triad. We tested pre-registered hypotheses pertaining to node centrality and node clustering (communities), and found mixed support for our predictions. Observed values of node predictability suggested that these 23 indicators comprise a self-determined network. The mating effort and parental effort scales were among the most central nodes, along with developmental SES, current resource stability, Machiavellianism and psychopathy. Contrary to prediction, most of the K-SF-42 subscales clustered into a single community of nodes. Our results add to recent literature casting doubt on the usefulness of widely used psychometric LH instruments. We expect that future research will reveal considerable heterogeneity in the sources of associations between the variables that have been characterized LHS indicators.

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