Personality in bonobos

Alexander Weiss, Nicky Staes, J. J. M. Pereboom, Miho Inoue-Murayama, Jeroen M. G. Stevens, Marcel Eens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

To better understand the personality of humans and chimpanzees, we obtained trait ratings of 154 captive bonobos (~80% of the population). We found factors labeled Assertiveness, Conscientiousness, Openness, Agreeableness, Attentiveness, and Extraversion. The factor inter-rater reliabilities and repeatabilities were comparable to those found in humans and other species. Using orthogonal targeted Procrustes rotations we compared the bonobo dimensions to those of three captive chimpanzee samples. Overall congruences indicated a fair degree of similarity and, at the factor level, there was good evidence for Assertiveness, Conscientiousness, Openness, and Agreeableness factors in the chimpanzee samples; evidence for the Attentiveness and Extraversion factors was poor. These findings suggest that, as expected given their close phylogenetic relationship, bonobo personality structure resembles chimpanzee personality structure in some respects. However, divergent evolution, perhaps due to socioecological differences between bonobos and chimpanzees, also appears to have shaped personality structure in these species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1430-1439
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number9
Early online date24 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • behavior
  • chimpanzee
  • evolution
  • Pan paniscus
  • Pan troglodytes
  • primate


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