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Penguin Personality: Rating Agreement Between Familiar and Unfamiliar Observers Jennifer Currier.

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Presentation on theme: "Penguin Personality: Rating Agreement Between Familiar and Unfamiliar Observers Jennifer Currier."— Presentation transcript:

1 Penguin Personality: Rating Agreement Between Familiar and Unfamiliar Observers Jennifer Currier

2 Introduction Animal Personality? Does that exist? –Yes. Personalities are simply descriptions of the way in which individuals differ in response to their environment. –Previous research has shown that personalities, also known as behavioral syndromes, are correlated with behavioral, genetic, hormonal, and life history traits (Dingemanse et al. 2004; Van Oers et al. 2004; Sinn et al. 2006;

3 Measuring Personality There are two popular methods of measuring personality –Behavioral test (Verbeek et al. 1994; Sinn et al. 2006) –Survey method (Gosling 1998; Capitanio 1999)

4 Survey Method Observers rate animals on a scale for a list of operationally defined adjectives Personality traitIndividual 1Individual 2 Aggressive Cautious Jealous It was reported that familiar observers were able to rate animals more similarly than unfamiliar observers (Gosling 1998; Martau et al. 1985) The objective of this study was to retest this finding

5 Research Questions When rating animal “ personality, ” do unfamiliar observers achieve similar levels of inter-rater agreement as familiar observers? Do unfamiliar and familiar observers show significant inter-rater agreement with each other?

6 Test Subjects 8 Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) at Sea Life Park, HI

7 Research Methods Two interns (unfamiliar observers) spent 210 minutes formally observing the penguins –Different times of day –Included at least one feeding time Two trainers with >6 months experience with penguins served as familiar observers Trainers and interns independently filled out a 30-adjective survey, rating each penguin on a scale of 1-5

8 Analysis Lawlis and Lu ’ s (1972) chi-square formula was used to determine inter- rater agreement. Differences of up to 1-point were accepted as agreement Comparisons were made between interns and trainers

9 Example Inter-rater Agreement Active Bold Bullying Rater 1Rater Acceptable Unacceptable

10 Results Traits in Agreement (out of 30) Interns 8 Trainers 24 Table 1. Comparisons between interns/trainers revealing the number of adjectives (out of 30) that show significant agreement Trainers agreed on significantly more adjectives than interns (p < 0.01)

11 Conclusions Familiar observers show agreement on more adjectives than unfamiliar observers This suggests that in future studies of animal personality involving the use of the survey measure, better results can be achieved when observers are familiar with the animals they are rating

12 Related Research Comparison between the survey method and behavioral test method of collecting animal personality data Consistency between measures and across time Relationship between personalities and corticosterone levels

13 Acknowledgements HHMI Sea Life Park, HI Diana Costanzo, Caroline Taylor, and Amy Perry Wright lab

14 References Capitanio, J. P Personality Dimensions in Adult Male Rhesus Macaques: Prediction of Behaviors Across Time and Situation. American Journal of Primatology, 47, Dingemanse, N. J., Both, C., Drent, P. J., Tinbergen, J. M Fitness consequences of avian personalities in a fluctuating environment. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 271, Gosling, S. D Personality Dimensions in Spotted Hyenas (Crocuta crocuta). Journal of Comparative Psychology, 112, Lawlis, G. F. & Lu, E Judgment of counseling process: reliability, agreement, and error. Psychological Bulletin, 78, Martau, P.A., Caine, N.G., & Candland, D.K Reliability of the Emotions Profile Index, primate form, with Papio hamadryas, Macaca fuscata, and two Saimiri species. Primates, 26, Sinn, D. L., Apiolaza, L. A. & Moltschaniwskyj, N. A Heritability and fitness- related consequences of squid personality traits. European Society for Evolutionary Biology, 19, Van Oers, K., Drent, P. J., De Goede, P. & Van Noordwijk, A. J Realized heritability and repeatability of risk-taking behaviour in relation to avian personalities. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Londan, 271, Verbeek, M. E. M., Drent, P. J., & Wiepkema, P. R Consistent individual differences in early exploratory behaviour of male great tits. Animal Behaviour, 48,


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