Measures of domain-specific resource allocations in life history strategy: Indicators of a latent common factor or ordered developmental sequence?

  • Rafael Antonio Garcia (University of Arizona)
  • Tomás Cabeza de Baca (University of California, San Francisco)
  • Candace Jasmine Black (University of Arizona)
  • Marcela Sotomayor-Peterson (Universidad de Sonora)
  • Vanessa Smith-Castro (Universidad de Costa Rica)
  • Aurelio José Figueredo (University of Arizona)


The psychometric trait approach to human life history, based on common factor modeling, has recently come under some criticism for neglecting to inquire into the developmental progression that orients and executes human life history trajectories (Copping, Campbell, & Muncer, 2014). It was asserted that the psychometric approach wholly focuses on creating a higher-order latent factor of life history by subsuming individual differences with developmental and social experiences, ignoring ontogenetic progression. Implicit in the critique is the assumption that developmental perspectives and latent approaches are mutually exclusive and incompatible with each other. The response to this critique by Figueredo and colleagues (2015) proposed instead that developmental perspectives and latent trait approaches are both compatible and necessary to further research on human life history strategies. The current paper uses three independent cross-sectional samples to examine whether models of human life history are best informed by a developmental perspective, psychometric trait approach, or both.

Keywords: Life History Theory, Psychometric Methods, Developmental Pathways, Latent Traits, Bronfenbrenner Bioecological Model

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Published on
15 Dec 2016
Peer Reviewed