Bonobo personality: Age and sex effects and links with behavior and dominance

Nicky Staes, Marcel Eens, Alexander Weiss, Jeroen M. G. Stevens

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The study described in this chapter examines whether individual differences in six rating-based bonobo personality dimensions---Assertiveness, Conscientiousness, Openness, Attentiveness, Agreeableness, and Extraversion---are related to sex and age and behaviors and dominance. To these ends, the study tested predictions based on previous studies of human and chimpanzee personality, and bonobo behavior and socioecology. Sex and age differences in Assertiveness, Openness and Extraversion and correlations between these personality dimensions and behavior were consistent with our predictions. Conscientiousness showed associations with observed behaviors but requires further investigation as sex and age effects differed from those reported in humans and chimpanzees. Agreeableness and Attentiveness showed few associations with age, sex, and behaviors, indicating the need to further investigate validity of these factors. This study shows that personality dimensions in bonobos are correlated with sex, age and behaviors in ways that are consistent with what is known for bonobos and their socioecology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBonobos
Subtitle of host publicationUnique in Mind, Brain and Behavior
EditorsBrian Hare, Shinya Yamamoto
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780198728511
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2017


  • codings
  • comparative validity
  • construct validity
  • pan paniscus
  • personality
  • ratings


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