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

  • Jana UherEmail author
Part of the Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects book series (DIPR)


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.


Human Personality Behavioral Repertoire Personality Construct Personality Difference Trait Score 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am grateful to the editors and to Wendy Johnson, Jochen Fahrenberg, and Jens Asendorpf for valuable comments on the manuscript. I thank the zookeepers at the Wolfgang Köhler Primate Research Center in Leipzig, Germany, for their kind cooperation and for rating the apes; Josep Call from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, for supporting this study; and Josefine Kalbitz for recording behavior for the reliability analyses.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Comparative Differential and Personality PsychologyFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany

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