Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Do Animals Have Personalities?

Leaders and followers. What makes personality? Photo by Thang Nguyen at Wikimedia Commons.
The heart of science lies in existential questions such as "Who am I?" and "Where did I come from?" Yet somehow, these are the very questions that scientists tend to shy away from. It's as if we're afraid that by unraveling the mysteries of our world and ourselves, we'll be left with nothing but a handful of yarn. But many of us see the quest for personal understanding differently - as a journey to gain appreciation for all the complexities and rare events that came together to weave the glorious tapestry that is life. It is in this push and pull of wanting to know more while still wanting to maintain mystery that the study of personality lies. And for this reason (and many others), the science of personality has been woefully understudied and underappreciated.

This week I am at Accumulating Glitches pondering personality: What is it? How do we study it? And do other animal species have it? Check it out here.

And to learn more, check these out:

1. RĂ©ale, D., Reader, S., Sol, D., McDougall, P., & Dingemanse, N. (2007). Integrating animal temperament within ecology and evolution Biological Reviews, 82 (2), 291-318 DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2007.00010.x

2. Huntingford, F.A. (1976). The Relationship between anti-predator behavior and aggression among conspecifics in the three-spined stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus Animal Behaviour, 24, 245-260

3. Sinn, D., Moltschaniwskyj, N., Wapstra, E., & Dall, S. (2009). Are behavioral syndromes invariant? Spatiotemporal variation in shy/bold behavior in squid Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 64 (4), 693-702 DOI: 10.1007/s00265-009-0887-2

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