From the individual to the population–and back again? Emphasising the role of the individual in animal welfare science

During the past decades, the study of “animal personalities” has gained increasing importance in the field of behavioural and evolutionary ecology, thereby contributing to a focus shift from the population to the individual in various research disciplines. Against this background, the overall idea of the present review is to transfer the personality concept from behavioural […]

Preliminary model of personality structure in captive red pandas (Ailurus fulgens)

Research on animal personality has revealed that it is stable and contextually consistent and has a significant impact on an animal’s physiology and psychological wellbeing. Personality, sometimes referred to as behavioral syndromes, personality dimensions, or temperament, impacts health, reproductive success, and survival, and is thus an important factor to consider when assessing the welfare of […]

Personality in captive killer whales (Orcinus orca): A rating approach based on the five-factor model

The comparative study of animal personality has received great interest in recent years. Some studies have analyzed personalities in cetaceans (exclusively in dolphins), but none have analyzed the factorial structure of personality of any species in this order. Our objective was to evaluate a sample of captive killer whales (n = 24) adapting one of […]

Animal personality due to social niche specialisation

The existence of ‘animal personality’, i.e. consistent individual differences in behaviour across time and contexts, is an evolutionary puzzle that has recently generated considerable research interest. Although social factors are generally considered to be important, it is as yet unclear how they might select for personality. Drawing from ecological niche theory, we explore how social […]

Unravelling animal personalities: how and why individuals consistently differ

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Behavioural reaction norms: animal personality meets individual plasticity

Recent studies in the field of behavioural ecology have revealed intriguing variation in behaviour within single populations. Increasing evidence suggests that individual animals differ in their average level of behaviour displayed across a range of contexts (animal ‘personality’), and in their responsiveness to environmental variation (plasticity), and that these phenomena can be considered complementary aspects […]

Are we barking up the right tree? Evaluating a comparative approach to personality

Animal studies can enrich the field of human personality psychology by addressing questions that are difficult or impossible to address with human studies alone. However, the benefits of a comparative approach to personality cannot be reaped until the tenability of the personality construct has been established in animals. Using criteria established in the wake of […]

Behavioral differences as predictors of breeding status in captive cheetahs

Abstract 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2361(1999)18:43.3.CO;2-O Individual behavioral variation of 44 adult captive-born cheetahs, Acinonyx jubatus, was assessed using observer and keeper ratings on a variety of behavioral attributes. Inter-rater consensus was high for most questionnaire items, several of which were significantly correlated with direct behavioral measures recorded in a mirror-image experiment. Principal component analysis was applied to identify […]

Black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) in U.S. zoos: I. individual behavior profiles and their relationship to breeding success

Abstract This is the first part of a multi-zoo study to analyze the effects of captive environments on black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) behavior, breeding success, and well-being. We estimated the reliability and validity of a standardized method of cross-institutional assessment of the behavior of individual rhinoceros. In 1994 and 1995, we asked zookeepers at 19 […]

Collective personalities in honeybee colonies are linked to colony fitness

Personality differences (i.e. consistent between-individual differences in behaviour) play an important role in the lives of humans and other animals, influencing both their day-to-day actions and their long-term reproductive success. For organisms living in highly structured groups of related individuals, such as colonies of social insects, personalities could also emerge at the group level. However, […]