EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Context dependence of personalities: risk-taking behavior in a social and a nonsocial situation

Kees van Oers, Margreet Klunder and Piet J. Drent

Behavioral Ecology, 2005, vol. 16, issue 4, 716-723

Abstract: Individuals of many species differ consistently in their behavioral reaction to mild novel challenges. Suites of these behaviors are referred to as behavioral syndromes or personalities. Personality traits are often phenotypically and genetically correlated. Therefore, animal personalities are generally considered as broad characteristics, with one underlying genetical and physiological mechanism that is expressed across situations and contexts. Because there are carryover effects between situations, animals are not entirely flexible in their behavior in each situation. This may cause behaviors to seem nonadaptive in isolated situations. To test whether individuals with different personalities could react differently to changes in their environment, we studied context dependence of personalities in the great tit (Parus major). We tested birds categorized as either fast or slow explorers for their latency to come back to a feeding table after a mild startle (risk-taking behavior) in a nonsocial followed by a social context. We found that the relation between exploratory behavior and risk-taking behavior depended on the social context. Females in general returned later in the social test, while male reaction to the presence of a conspecific was dependent on their behavioral type. Slow males thereby reacted to the behavior of the companion and fast males did not. These results show that although personalities have a rigid structure the relation between personality traits is context dependent. These results are discussed in the perspective of the adaptive significance and maintenance of personalities. Copyright 2005.

Keywords: Behavioral syndromes; boldness; exploration; Parus major; personality; risk taking (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/beheco/ari045 (application/pdf)
Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:oup:beheco:v:16:y:2005:i:4:p:716-723

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
http://www.oup.co.uk/journals

Access Statistics for this article

Behavioral Ecology is currently edited by Mark Elgar

More articles in Behavioral Ecology from International Society for Behavioral Ecology Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, UK.
Series data maintained by Oxford University Press ().

 
Page updated 2017-11-07
Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:16:y:2005:i:4:p:716-723