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Evolution and the Mechanisms of Decision Making$
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Peter Hammerstein and Jeffrey R. Stevens

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780262018081

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262018081.001.0001

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Biological Analogs of Personality

Biological Analogs of Personality

(p.217) 13 Biological Analogs of Personality
Evolution and the Mechanisms of Decision Making

Niels J. Dingemanse

Max Wolf

The MIT Press

Individual differences in behavior that are stable over time and correlated across different contexts can be found in a wide range of species across the animal kingdom. Such structured behavioral differences have been termed “animal personalities” (behavioral syndromes). This chapter provides a brief introduction into this research area and discusses the two most common examples of behavioral variation associated with animal personalities (boldness-aggression syndrome and responsiveness to environmental stimuli); key genetic and physiological correlates of animal personalities; and fitness consequences of animal personalities in natural populations. The discussion makes clear that animal personality is a ubiquitous characteristic of animal populations, that personality variation is heritable and underpinned by variation in neuroendocrine and metabolic profiles, and that fluctuating selection pressures act on this variation in a wide variety of taxa. The widespread existence of personality variation implies that the study of decision making should explicitly incorporate between-individual variation.

Keywords:   Strüngmann Forum Reports, decision making, boldness-aggression syndrome, personality, natural selection

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