The Structure and Invariance of Human Life History Indicators Across the Sexes: An extension of Richardson, Sanning et al., (2017)

G. B. (George) Richardson, Nathan McGee, Lee Copping

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In this article we attend to recent critiques of psychometric applications of life history (LH)
theory to variance among humans and then develop theory to advance the study of latent LH
constructs. We then reanalyze data (n = 4,244) examined by Richardson, Sanning, et al. (2017) to
determine whether (a) previously reported evidence of multidimensionality is robust to the
modeling approach employed and (b) the structure of LH indicators is invariant by sex. Findings
provide further evidence that a single LH dimension is implausible and that researchers should
cease interpreting K-factor scores as empirical proxies for LH speed. In contrast to the original
study, we detected a small inverse correlation between mating competition and Super-K that is
consistent with a trade-off. Tests of measurement invariance across the sexes revealed evidence of metric invariance (i.e., equivalence of factor loadings), consistent with the theory that K is a
proximate cause of its indicators; however, evidence of partial scalar invariance suggests use of
scores likely introduces bias when the sexes are compared. We discuss limitations and identify
approaches that researchers may use to further evaluate the validity of applications of LH to human
variation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Nature
Volume32
Issue number2
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 23 Dec 2020

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