Personality and Temperament in Nonhuman Primates

Part of the series Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects pp 41-76


Personality in Nonhuman Primates: What Can We Learn from Human Personality Psychology?

  • Jana UherAffiliated withComparative Differential and Personality Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin Email author 

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Primate personality research encounters a number of puzzling methodo­logical challenges. Individuals are unique and comparable at the same time. They are characterized by relatively stable individual-specific behavioral patterns that often show only moderate consistency across situations. Personality is assumed to be temporally stable, yet equally incorporates long-term change and development. These are all déjà vus from human personality psychology. In this chapter, I present classical theories of personality psychology and discuss their suitability for nonhuman species. Using examples from nonhuman primates, I explain basic theoretical concepts, methodological approaches, and methods of measurement of empirical personality research. I place special emphasis on theoretical concepts and methodologies for comparisons of personality variation among populations, such as among species.