Animal Personalities : Behavior, Physiology and Evolution


by Claudio Carere, Dario Maestripieri, Published: 2013, FileType: PDF

Animal Personalities Behavior, Physiology And Evolution

In this timely volume, the first one synthesizing and integrating the research on animal personality, Claudio Carere and Dario Maestripieri, two recognized scholars of behavioral biology, provide a collection of essays diverse in biological approaches and levels of investigation as well as in species―from invertebrates to monkeys and apes, including humans. There is currently no other compilation of papers providing such a broad and updated overview about a subject at the forefront of science. Various research perspectives and approaches have been brought together striving to develop new avenues of research. They include applied areas with an overall holistic approach to the subject, which makes the volume particularly valuable for a wide audience, ranging from undergraduate students uncertain of their future choices, biologists of virtually all disciplines, medical researchers, veterinarians, and psychologists.

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 no domesticated 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.

Everyone who has experienced close, long-term relationships with animals, such as pet owners or farmers, probably believes that domesticated animals show personality variation, the way people do. In fact, there are studies suggesting that pets’ personalities appear to match those of their owners. It is possible that pet owners project their own personalities onto their pets, or expect that their pets will complement some aspects of their own personalities. In this view, animal personalities would be a product of pet owners’ imagination and social-emotional needs. It turns out, however, that personalities are not observed or suspected only in domesticated animals. They have been scientifically demonstrated in no domesticated animals as well—from invertebrates to monkeys and apes—and in a variety of different environments. In fact, the study of animal personality is one of the fastest growing areas of research in behavioral biology and behavioral ecology.

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