A cross-setting study of chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) personality structure and development: Zoological parks and Yerkes National Primate Research Center

Alexander Weiss, James E. King, William D. Hopkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study addressed whether personality ratings using a 43 adjective questionnaire based on the Five-Factor Model generalized from a sample of 202 zoo-housed chimpanzees to a sample of 175 chimpanzees housed in Yerkes National Primate Research Center. Mean interrater reliabilities of adjectival ratings were lower for the chimpanzees housed in Yerkes. In addition, rank order of the interrater reliabilities of items differed between settings. To compare factor structure, we first examined whether we could replicate the original six factor structure found in an earlier study of 100 zoo chimpanzees using principal factors analysis in the Yerkes sample and 102 new zoo chimpanzees. The dominance, extraversion, conscientiousness, and agreeableness factors were clearly replicated in the Yerkes sample and the 102 new zoo chimpanzees. The Neuroticism and Openness factors did not replicate in the Yerkes sample, but they also did not replicate in the new zoo chimpanzees. These findings suggest the need to sample more adjectives representing neuroticism and openness in future versions of the questionnaire. We next sought to determine whether factor structure, as determined by principal components analysis, remained invariant across the two settings. This analysis revealed dominance, extraversion, conscientiousness, and agreeableness factors in both settings and a high level of congruence between the zoo and Yerkes samples for these factors. Finally, we tested whether factor scores in the two samples were similarly related to age and sex. With the exception of differences in age effects for dominance and agreeableness, age, and sex effects were consistent across samples. These findings suggest that, whereas there may be differences in the ease with which ratings are made, personality structure, and development are largely consistent across widely differing settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1264-1277
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Volume69
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

Keywords

  • Chimpanzee
  • Five-factor model
  • Zoo
  • age
  • Sex

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