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Sex differences in longitudinal personality stability in chimpanzees.

Rawlings, B. and Flynn, E.G. and Freeman, H. and Reamer, L. and Schapiro, S.J. and Lambeth, S. and Kendal, R.L. (2020) 'Sex differences in longitudinal personality stability in chimpanzees.', Evolutionary human sciences., 2 . e46.


Personality factors analogous to the Big Five observed in humans are present in the great apes. However, few studies have examined the long-term stability of great ape personality, particularly using factor-based personality instruments. Here, we assessed overall group, and individual-level, stability of chimpanzee personality by collecting ratings for chimpanzees (N = 50) and comparing them with ratings collected approximately 10 years previously, using the same personality scale. The overall mean scores of three of the six factors differed across the two time points. Sex differences in personality were also observed, with overall sex differences found for three traits, and males and females showing different trajectories for two further traits over the 10 year period. Regardless of sex, rank-order stability analysis revealed strong stability for dominance; individuals who were dominant at the first time point were also dominant 10 years later. The other personality factors exhibited poor to moderate rank-order stability, indicating that individuals were variable in their rank-position consistency over time. As many studies assessing chimpanzee cognition rely on personality data collected several years prior to testing, these data highlight the importance of collecting current personality data when correlating them with cognitive performance.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
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Publisher statement:© The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Evolutionary Human Sciences. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited
Date accepted:02 September 2020
Date deposited:03 September 2020
Date of first online publication:09 September 2020
Date first made open access:17 September 2020

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