University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > les34's list > "The personalities of nonhuman primates: All too human?"

"The personalities of nonhuman primates: All too human?"

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The “human model” of research on nonhuman primate behaviour takes as its starting point behaviour displayed in humans and seeks to highlight the evolutionary history of behaviours in humans and nonhuman primates. One example of this research is that of studying the personality of nonhuman primates via ratings. This research has demonstrated remarkable affinity between the personalities of humans and their distant primate relations. However,critics have argued that this approach is seriously compromised by anthropomorphism and rater-based artefacts and advocate a more animal-centric approach. To address these criticisms I will first review studies of chimpanzees and orangutans by myself and close colleagues. Next, I will describe a set of existing studies showing that chimpanzee factor structure is universal. Following this I will describe our recent study of rhesus macaques and personality phylogeny. Finally, I will describe a study that will, hopefully, put to bed the half-century old worries about anthropomorphism. Combined, I hope this talk highlights both the utility of the “human model” for research in the study of nonhuman primates and other animals.

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