Individual Differences and Animal Personality
by Charles Locurto,
College of the Holy Cross
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The study of personality in animals has attracted considerable empirical attention beginning with Pavlov’s identification of personality types in dogs. Subsequent work has revealed a number of similarities in personality between humans and nonhuman animals. A number of personality traits that are typically identified in studies of human personality, including aspects of neuroticism and extraversion, have also been isolated in studies of animal personality, predominantly in studies of nonhuman primates. Even traits that might appear to be uniquely human such as conscientiousness and psychopathy have nonhuman parallels. Moreover, a number of personality traits in humans that have distinctive neurobiological signatures, particularly aspects of neuroticism, are identifiable in nonhuman primates. These similarities include low basal serotonin levels and elevated cortisol levels in response to stress. It is argued that the inclusion of personality assessments in studies of comparative cognition will identify sources of variance that affect cognitive functioning, and will identify mutual influences between personality and cognition.
Locurto, C. (2007). Individual Differences and Animal Personality. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, 2, 67-78. Retrieved from http://comparative-cognition-and-behavior-reviews.org/ doi:10.3819/ccbr.2008.20004