Does the use of a multi-trait, multi-test approach to measure animal personality yield different behavioural syndrome results?

in Behaviour
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A multi-trait, multi-test approach to investigate the convergence or discrimination between behavioural tests putatively targeting the same or different animal personality traits has been recommended, yet whether and how the approaches affect the identification of behavioural syndrome(s), the suite of correlated personality traits, requires investigation. Here, we used behavioural measures collected from five commonly used behavioural tests targeting three personality traits, evaluated their convergence/discrimination through exploratory factor analysis (EFA), and then explored whether the identification of syndrome changed based on the approach we used to quantify personality traits. Our results indicated that tests presumably targeting the same personality trait actually measured distinct behavioural aspects. Syndrome defined using correlation changed due to how we identified personality traits, but not when using structural equation models (SEMs). Overall, this study emphasizes that it is critical to clarify the approach and terms we use for ‘personality traits’ in the field of animal personality.

Does the use of a multi-trait, multi-test approach to measure animal personality yield different behavioural syndrome results?

in Behaviour



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    Order and timing of behavioural tests while in captivity for Northern Cardinals experiencing repeated trails.

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    Measures, their repeatability and corresponding p-values in each of the five behavioural tests: novel environment test, conspecific intruder test, novel object test in foraging setting, novel object test in a familiar area and predator startle test.

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    Pattern matrix from exploratory factor analysis (EFA) of the seventeen measured taken from the five behavioural tests.

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    Loadings and eigenvalues for principal components (PCs) as Exploration, Aggression and Boldness scores.

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    Significant rank order correlation between (A) Exploration and BoldnessP (PC1); and (B) Exploration and BoldnessP (PC4).

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    Correlation coefficient r between a priori and Carter et al. boldness scores.

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    Best structural model identified by SEM for exploration, aggression and (A) a priori boldness scores and (B) Carter et al. boldness scores. Circles are latent variables, and squares are observed variables. Numbers on the lines are the regression coefficient the personality trait shared with the syndrome.

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    AIC, ΔAIC and observed variables for all the plausible a priori and Carter et al. structural equation models.

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    The plausible models constructed by (A) a priori and (B) Carter et al. boldness scores that loaded partially or entirely with measures taken from predator startle test. Circles are latent variables, and squares are observed variables. Numbers on the lines are the regression coefficient the personality trait shared with the syndrome.

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    Summary of study species, behavioural tests used, as well as the final conclusions of 37 studies examining the relationship between boldness and exploration.

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