Saturday, February 04, 2006
The Animal Self (New York Times)
Anderson and Mather's resulting 1993 paper in the Journal ofComparative Psychology, entitled "Personalities of Octopuses," was notonly the first-ever documentation of personality in invertebrates. Itwas the first time in anyone's memory that the term "personality" hadbeen applied to a nonhuman in a major psychology journal.
Scientists are not typically disposed to wielding a word like"personality" when talking about animals. Doing so borders on thescientific heresy of anthropomorphism. And yet for a growing number ofresearchers from a broad range of disciplines - psychology,evolutionary biology and ecology, animal behavior and welfare - it isbecoming increasingly difficult to avoid that term when trying todescribe the variety of behaviors that they are now observing in anequally broad and expanding array of creatures, everything fromnonhuman primates to hyenas and numerous species of birds to waterstriders and stickleback fish and, of course, giant Pacific octopuses.In fact, in the years since Anderson and Mather's original paper, awhole new field of research has emerged known simply as "animalpersonality." Through close and repeated observations of differentspecies in a variety of group settings and circumstances, scientistsare finding that our own behavioral traits exist in varying degrees anddimensions among creatures across all the branches of life's tree...
Full text at:
Charles Siebert also appeared on the radio show "Animal Personality" along with Sam Gosling, Psychologist and founder of the Animal Personality Institute at the University of Texas, and Terry Curtis, Vetinary Behaviorist with the University of Florida College of Vetinary Medicine:
Model of an Internal Evolutionary Mechanism