Abstract # 120:

Scheduled for Friday, August 19, 2005 10:25 AM-10:45 AM: Session 9 (Crystal Ballroom) Oral Presentation


Predicting behaviour from personality trait ratings in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

L. Murray
University College Chester, Dept. of Psychology, Parkgate Road, Chester, Cheshire CH1 4BJ, England
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     Personality is an important influence on behavior, but few studies reporting personality ratings provide validation or predictive power by including behavioral observation. Here, I test for relationships between specific trait terms and observed behavior WITHIN the broader overall dimensions of personality, along with associations between the more global dimension scores and behaviors. Ratings from 59 chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) from three UK zoos were analyzed by Principal Components Analysis and revealed dimensions concerned with Confidence (C1), Sociability (C2) and Excitability (C3). Over 1000 hours of behavioral focal samples were collected. Examples of behaviors linked to discrete trait adjectives included significant correlations (all at least P < 0.05) between rated and observed playfulness and aggression. In addition, some relationships were specific to particular age/sex classes (e.g., the relationships between Confidence and Effectiveness and increased grooming were only evident among male chimpanzees, while immatures scoring higher on Intelligent engaged in more grooming). This is important because it enables prediction among a specific group of individuals. Links between scores on overall personality dimensions and behaviors were also established (e.g., C2 scores correlated positively with several observed play indices). That the behavioral data here correlated significantly with both specific trait terms used in the rating scale and with the more global dimensions of personality, provides validation of the rating instrument and predictive power which will benefit our understanding of nonhuman personality.