Animals that show particular behavioural tendencies are still rather unpredictable. One explanation for this that has attracted much attention lately (in ethology) is of personality traits. They are defined as ‘consistent, between-individual differences in behaviour’.
I would like to know peoples opinions on attributing human like personalities to animals such as ‘bold and ‘shy’ as I worry this may lead to misinterpretation of why the animal is showing a particular behavioural trait.
Attributing basic personality traits in higher animals such as vertebrates is understandable but can we really begin attributing human like personalities to organisms such as insects? We would have to remember that micro-organisms such as yeasts are also animals, is it realistic to attribute personality to them? Where is the line drawn?
Interesting point: There is evidence to suggest there are different personality traits in genetically identical organisms such as in certain life stages of aphid. How much do people think experience contributes to what we would define as a personality?