Situation and context impacts the expression of personality: The influence of breeding season and test context
2013 (English)In: Behaviour Analysis Letters, ISSN 0376-6357, Vol. 100, 103-109 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Non-human animal personality is defined as consistent behavioural differences across time and situations/contexts. Behaviours are, however, often plastic and to explain how plasticity and personality may coexist an adaptive framework has been developed. Still, there is little information on how personality is impacted by situations and contexts on an individual level. We investigated this in the European mink (Mustela lutreola) by performing a set of five experiments in two situations consisting of non-breeding and breeding season, and by using different test contexts. Three personality trait domains were identified; boldness, exploration and sociability. The levels of boldness and exploration changed between seasons but remained repeatable, which implies behavioural reaction norms and supports that the concept of personality remained applicable despite plasticity. Whilst males became bolder and more explorative in the breeding season females became shyer, which reflects European mink breeding behaviour. Furthermore, behaviours performed in mirror stimulus tests fell into different domains depending on whether, the test was conducted in the own territory or not, suggesting plasticity in the response towards conspecifics. To conclude, our results highlight the importance of situation and context for the expression of personality, and the significance of measuring multiple personality trait domains with several methods.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 100, 103-109 p.
Breeding season, Context, European mink (Mustela lutreola), Personality, Plasticity, Situation
Research subject Animal Ecology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-100670DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2013.08.009ISI: 000329265900018OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-100670DiVA: diva2:695965