Animal Personalities: Behavior, Physiology, and Evolution
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Ask anyone who has owned a pet and they’ll assure you that, yes, animals have personalities. And science is beginning to agree. Researchers have demonstrated that both domesticated and nondomesticated animals—from invertebrates to monkeys and apes—behave in consistently different ways, meeting the criteria for what many define as personality. But why the differences, and how are personalities shaped by genes and environment? How did they evolve? The essays in Animal Personalities reveal that there is much to learn from our furred and feathered friends.
The study of animal personality is one of the fastest-growing areas of research in behavioral and evolutionary biology. Here Claudio Carere and Dario Maestripieri, along with a host of scholars from fields as diverse as ecology, genetics, endocrinology, neuroscience, and psychology, provide a comprehensive overview of the current research on animal personality. Grouped into thematic sections, chapters approach the topic with empirical and theoretical material and show that to fully understand why personality exists, we must consider the evolutionary processes that give rise to personality, the ecological correlates of personality differences, and the physiological mechanisms underlying personality variation.
provide an important link between individual differences in behavior and underlying physiology. Personality in cephalopods Although cephalopod mollusks are phylogenetically distant from vertebrates, they exhibit high levels of behavioral variability (Mather 1995). This variability has led the researchers studying individual differences in cephalopod behavior to assume the bottom-up approach more commonly seen in assessment of personality in “higher” vertebrates (Gosling 2001). Studies of 26 |
boldness toward a predator (here, inspection of a live pike) and aggressiveness were associated with different patterns of monoamine turnover in the brain. Individuals that were particularly “bold” in the face of predation had higher concentrations of serotonin in the brain, but aggressiveness was negatively associated with serotonin turnover (A. M. Bell et al. 2007). These results suggest that at least with respect to serotonin, the two behaviors are mechanistically independent. The
Purdy 1995). As we and others have argued before, comparative research also has an important contribution to make to personality psychology (Gosling 2001; Nettle and Penke 2010; chapter 4, this volume). Indeed, with advances in genomics, neuroscience, and phylogenetics, the potential contributions to be made by cross-species research are now greater than ever. And with continued progress in the measurement of personality in animals and in identifying cross-species generalities in personality
cross-fostering study on rhesus monkeys suggested that infants’ responses to separation from foster mothers is best predicted by their inherited levels of reactivity, not their foster mother’s reactivity or caretaking style (also see Benus and Röndigs 1997; Suomi 1999; Drent et al. 2003). Of course, cross-fostering studies can also highlight the effects of environmental factors; studies of rats and rhesus monkeys have emphasized the role of maternal care, rather than genetics, in the transmittal
personality traits, but not others, within an animal system (Weiss et al. 2000; Sinn et al. 2006). Information on environmental qualities and age- and sex-speciﬁc effects on the relative difference in the estimates of genetic variation between different animal personality traits could give information on the selection pressures and ﬁtness consequences that act or have been acting on these traits (Kimura 1958). Currently, most animal personality studies report the heritability for only a single