Personality and subjective well-being in orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii)

Alexander Weiss, James E King, Lori Perkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii) are semisolitary apes and, among the great apes, the most distantly related to humans. Raters assessed 152 orangutans on 48 personality descriptors; 140 of these orangutans were also rated on a subjective well-being questionnaire. Principal-components analysis yielded 5 reliable personality factors: Extraversion, Dominance, Neuroticism, Agreeableness, and Intellect. The authors found no factor analogous to human Conscientiousness. Among the orangutans rated on all 48 personality descriptors and the subjective well-being questionnaire, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and low Neuroticism were related to subjective well-being. These findings suggest that analogues of human, chimpanzee, and orangutan personality domains existed in a common ape ancestor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-11
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Animals
  • Observer Variation
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Personality
  • Pongo pygmaeus
  • Reproducibility of Results

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