Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Corr I 277
Behavior/Behavioral Ecology/Gosling: researchers in Behavioural Ecology and Ethology are primarily interested in learning about the ecological and evolutionary implications of consistent individual differences in behaviour (e.g., Carere and Eens 2005(1); Dall, Houston and McNamara 2004(2); Dingemanse and Reale 2005(3); McElreath and Strimling 2006(4); Nettle 2006(5)).
Problem: for [a property] to be identified in a species it is necessary for variation to exist, with different individuals expressing different levels of [this property]; if all individuals in a species had exactly the same levels of [this property] then that trait would be said to be characteristic of the species and would not be considered a personality trait.
Problem: The necessity for individual variation raises some theoretical issues within the context of evolutionary processes because selection tends to reduce or eliminate differences.
((s) For the philosophical discussion in relation to the problems with properties, concepts and introduction of concepts for properties: >Introduction/Strawson, >Concepts/Quine, >Properties/Putnam, >Individuation, >Specification)


1. Carere, C. and Eens, M. 2005. Unravelling animal personalities: how and why individuals consistently differ, Behaviour 142: 1149–57
2. Dall, S. R. X., Houston, A. I. and McNamara, J. M. 2004. The behavioural ecology of personality: consistent individual differences from an adaptive perspective, Ecology Letters 7: 734–9
3. Dingemanse, N. J. and Reale, D. 2005. Natural selection and animal personality, Behaviour 142: 1159–84
4. McElreath, R. and Strimling, P. 2006. How noisy information and individual asymmetries can make ‘personality’ an adaptation: a simple model, Animal Behaviour 72: 1135–9
5. Nettle, D. 2006. The evolution of personality variation in humans and other animals, American Psychologist 61: 622–31


Samuel D. Gosling and B. Austin Harley, “Animal models of personality and cross-species comparisons”, in: Corr, Ph. J. & Matthews, G. (eds.) 2009. The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Behavioral Ecology
Corr I
Philip J. Corr
Gerald Matthews
The Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology New York 2009

Corr II
Philip J. Corr (Ed.)
Personality and Individual Differences - Revisiting the classical studies Singapore, Washington DC, Melbourne 2018


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