Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Personality and exercise levels may be linked -- not just in humans, but other animals too

Date:
October 13, 2010
Source:
University of New South Wales
Summary:
There may be a fundamental link between aspects of an individual's personality and their capacity to exercise or generate energy, recent research suggests. Humans are not the only animals that choose to exercise, and individuals within the same species differ in their levels of activity.

There may be a fundamental link between aspects of an individual's personality and their capacity to exercise or generate energy, recent research suggests.

Humans are not the only animals that choose to exercise, and -- as with people -- individuals within the same species differ in their levels of activity, says Dr Peter Biro, a senior lecturer in the UNSW Evolution and Ecology Research Centre, in a review article in the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, with colleague Judy Stamps of the University of California, Davis. Dr Biro is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow.

Likewise, scientists now recognise that many animals have 'personality', in that they display consistent differences in behaviours. Dr Biro believes it is significant that those behaviours often relate to the rates at which they acquire and expend energy through feeding or activity.

"Some of us are couch potatoes while others are drawn to sport and exercise," notes Dr Biro. "We often associate the athletic 'jock' type or person with being aggressive and social, whereas the more sedentary 'nerd' often is seen as more socially awkward and submissive.

"These are generalisations, but most people would probably agree there is some truth to them. If so, why should individuals differ in their propensity for activity and in their personality, and why might they be related? "

The article reviews a wide range of recent research into these questions and concludes that there is now enough evidence to suggest a link between an individual's personality and the rate of its metabolism -- the chemical process that converts food into the energy that fuels the body.

"Animals in captivity often engage in energetically demanding behaviour when they have unlimited food available," Dr Biro says. "Mice spend considerable time on running wheels, for example, and other animals often pace back and forth in zoo enclosures. Given they don't need to move about in search of food as they would in nature, we might ask why they are apparently 'exercising'.

"Recent research suggests that this behaviour might be related to an individual's capacity to generate energy -- its 'metabolic capacity'. For example, mice in isolation that have high metabolism tend spend more time on running wheels, and run faster, than those with low metabolism.

"Male crickets with sex on their mind tend to call to attract mates more and have higher metabolism than those with slower metabolism."

Metabolism and aggression are also linked. It has now been documented, for example, in several species of fish and birds that individuals with high metabolism tend to be more aggressive and dominant over those with slow metabolism.

The amount of energy devoted to energetically demanding activities differs among individuals, Dr Biro says. These differences in energetic capacity -- along with the tendency for metabolism to be consistent over long periods -- might provide a very general explanation for personality in animals.

"It may just be that some individuals generate much more energy than others and when those individuals are captive with abundant food, they must outlet 'excess' energy that is normally expressed in nature in activities such as feeding and defence of food supplies.

"We are still some ways from a really solid understanding of the links between metabolism and personality in animals, but recent research suggests these ideas have merit and are worth studying further."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of New South Wales. The original article was written by Bob Beale. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Peter A. Biro, Judy A. Stamps. Do consistent individual differences in metabolic rate promote consistent individual differences in behavior? Trends in Ecology & Evolution, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2010.08.003

Cite This Page:

University of New South Wales. "Personality and exercise levels may be linked -- not just in humans, but other animals too." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101013095328.htm>.
University of New South Wales. (2010, October 13). Personality and exercise levels may be linked -- not just in humans, but other animals too. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101013095328.htm
University of New South Wales. "Personality and exercise levels may be linked -- not just in humans, but other animals too." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101013095328.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins