Individuals in social species commonly form dominance relationships among each other, and
are often observed to differ in behaviour depending on their social status. However, whether
such behavioural differences are a consequence of dominance position, or also a cause to it,
remains unclear. In this thesis I therefore investigated two perspectives of the relationship
between social dominance and personality in the domestic fowl (Gallus gallus domesticus), a
social species that forms relatively stable dominance hierarchies. In paper I I investigated the
influence of social status on the expression and consistency of behaviours by experimentally
changing status between repeated personality assays. The level of vigilance, activity and
exploration changed with social status, while boldness and territorial crows appeared as
stable individual properties, independent of status. These results showed that social status
contribute to both variation and consistency in behavioural responses. Social status should
therefore be taken into account when investigating and interpreting variation in personality.
In paper II I showed that behaviour in a novel arena test and during encounter with an
opponent can predict social status, more specifically that fast exploration and aggressiveness
predicted a dominant social position. Together, these results highlight the dynamics of the
two-way relationship between social position and individual behaviour and indicate that
individual behaviour can both be a cause and a consequence of social status.
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University , 2013. , 71 p.
behavioural syndromes; intra-sexual selection; phenotypic plasticity; social dominance; chicken
2013-05-13, D501, Zoologiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)