Research on primate personality and social relationships

  

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Ongoing studies
 
   

Personality in great apes
Great apes exhibit pronounced individual differences in their behaviours. How do their individual-specific behaviours influence captive management? A study in collaboration with various zoological institutions in Europe, the Great Ape Taxon Advisory Group of the European Endangered Species Programs and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA)

Personality differences in rhesus macaques
In which ways differ semi-free ranging individuals of Rhesus macaques from one another? A study in cooperation with Prof Dr Anja Widdig, Leipzig University and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.

Personality and social relationships in capuchin monkeys
What roles do individual differences play in social relationships? We explore this fascinating question in capuchin monkeys, a group-living primate species endemic to South-America. In cooperation with Dr Elisabetta Visalberghi and Dr Elsa Addessi, ISTC-CNR, Unit of Cognitive Primatology and Primate Centre, Rome, Italy. 

Personality and social relationships in Crab-eating macaques
In what ways do individual differences in crab-eating macaques affect their social relationships? A study in cooperation with Karlijn Gosselt-Gielen, Department for Behavioural Biology of the University Utrecht

Personality and social relationships in gorillas
Gorillas are known to show pronounced individual-specific behaviours. How does the individuals' "personality" influence their social relationships? A study in cooperation with Apenheul Primate Park, The Netherlands. 

 

     Completed research projects
   

Personality differences in capuchin monkeys
What kinds of individual-specific behaviours do capuchin monkeys (Sapajus spp.) exhibit and how can these 'personality differences' be empirically quantified and categorised? What impressions of capuchin individuals do human observers develop and how do their 'personality' assessments of capuchins relate to these monkeys' behaviours? To explore these questions, we developed a series of 15 behavioural tests and 2 group observations to study the capuchins of the Primate Centre in Rome. In addition, we conducted a large survey using the two formats of the Capuchin Personality Inventory (CPI-TA and -BV) and involving 150 capuchin monkeys at nine research institutions worldwide. In cooperation with Dr Elisabetta Visalberghi and Dr Elsa Addessi, ISTC-CNR Unit of Cognitive Primatology and Primate Centre, Rome. 
[publications]  [science blog]

Between-individual and between-species differences in primate behaviour
Nonhuman primates often exhibit striking individual differences, such as in aggressive or social behaviours. In these behaviours, there are also pronounced differences between species. Building on methods from cross-cultural psychology, this research developed a comprehensive research methodology for exploring and quantifying individual and species differences in behaviour. Empirical applications are demonstrated in four monkey species, Weeper capuchin monkeys (Cebus olivaceus), mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx), toque macaques (Macaca sinica) and Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). A study in cooperation with the Zoo Berlin and the Berlin Animal Shelter (Tierschutzverein für Berlin und Umgebung Corporation e.V). and the German Animal Welfare Federation (Deutscher Tierschutzbund e.V.). 
[publication]   [science blog]   [science blog]

Personality differences in Crab-eating macaques
What kinds of individual-specific behaviours do crab-eating macaques (Macaca fascicularis) show and how can these be categorised? What impressions do human observers develop of the macaque individuals' 'personality' and how do their assessments relate to the monkeys' behaviours? Together with Karlijn Gosselt-Gielen, Department for Behavioural Biology, University Utrecht, we explored these questions in a 3-year and 6-wave study involving 104 macaques and 99 human observers. We used a complex multi-method design involving behavioural observations and the two formats of the Macaque Personality Inventory for captive individuals (MPIc-TA and BV). 
[publication]   [science blog]

Personality in the Great Apes - Methods and approaches
How can we measure 'personality differences' reliably in nonhuman species? Can methods and theories from human 'personality' research be adapted for this purpose? This project addressed these questions in multi-method studies conducted with Great Apes at the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Center at Leipzig Zoo. They involved a series of 14 behavioural tests and 2 group observations as well as the two formats of the Great Ape Personality Inventory (GAPI-A and -B). Twenty great apes were studied, chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), bonobos (Pan paniscus), gorillas (Gorilla gorilla), orangutans (Pongo abelii; Pongo pygmaeus). 
[publications]   [science blog]   [science blog]