Animal personalities: What do we know and where shall we go?

Lecture by Sam Gosling, University of Texas, Austin.

Organisator Studium Generale

di 30 september 2014 20:00

Locatie Impulse, building number 115
Stippeneng 2
6708 WE Wageningen
+31 317-482828

The bear on the picture seems shy, introvert and maybe even friendly. But do animals really have such kinds of personalities or are such impressions in the eye of the beholder? Do the Big Five dimensions of human personality (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) also apply to animals? And can animal personality with such diverging traits survive under natural selection? In this series we dive into the field of animal personality research and we invite you to pose some critical questions.

In the late 1990s, the idea of non-human animals having personality was treated with scepticism or even ridiculed by the scientific community. But now, little more than a decade later, the topic is a well-established, vibrant area of research. Using data from studies on spotted hyenas, dogs, chimpanzees, squid, and humans the international well known researcher Sam Gosling addresses the viability of personality assessments in animals. Including concerns regarding possible anthropomorphism, the need for a shared common conceptual construct and taxonomy, and the integration with ideas about variation within individuals and across the lifespan.