Personality and Temperament in Nonhuman Primates
(Developments in Primatology Progress and Prospects)
by Alexander Weiss
Edition: 1st., 2011
This volume evolved from a symposium held at the American Society of Primatologists conference in Portland, Oregon, USA in August 2005. The symposium’s purpose was to present an overview of the current status of research on personality in nonhuman primates. Primate personality research has progressed much since the 1930s and 1940s when primatologists began to notice large individual differences in the behavioral and emotional dispositions of monkeys and apes. Interest in the area waned and thenbriefly resurfaced when Jane Goodall, during her initial researches at Gombe National Park, described striking personality differences among the chimpanzees. These sometimes dramatic manifestations of distinct personalities should have been celebrated by the scientific community as much as the existence of tool making among
chimpanzees. Instead the personality differences were largely ignored, no doubt because they were subjective and anthropomorphic at a time when primate behavior was synonymous with specific observable behaviors. Personality assessments were just as objectionable as Goodall’s ascribing names to individual chimpanzees.