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Extraverted gorillas enjoy longer lives, research suggests

Date:
December 5, 2012
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Gorillas with an extravert personality live longer than their more introverted peers, a study suggests. Researchers looked at the role of personality by studying 298 gorillas in North American zoos and sanctuaries for over 18 years.

Gorillas with an extravert personality live longer than their more introverted peers, a study suggests.
Credit: Pascal Martin / Fotolia

An international team of researchers looked at the role of personality by studying 298 gorillas in North American zoos and sanctuaries for over 18 years.

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The gorillas' personalities were assessed by keepers, volunteers, researchers and caretakers who knew the gorillas well. Their personality was scored with measures adapted from techniques for studying people and other primates.

Researchers found that out of four personality traits -- dominance, extraversion, neuroticism and agreeableness -- extraversion, which was associated with behaviours such as sociability, activity, play and curiosity, was linked with longer survival.

The study found that the link between extraversion and survival was not affected by age or gender, rearing condition or how many times the gorilla had moved location.

Researchers say these findings are consistent with studies in people which found that extraverts tend to live longer.

The study, carried out on western lowland gorillas is important in understanding how the relationship between personality and longevity of life evolved.

Dr Alex Weiss, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, said: "These findings highlight how understanding the natural history of personality is vital to insuring the continued health and well-being of humans, gorillas and other great apes."

The collection of personality data in 1994 was funded by Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Lincoln Park Zoological Society's Dr Scholl's Graduate Research Fellowship.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Alexander Weiss, Marieke C. Gartner, Kenneth C. Gold, and Tara S. Stoinski. Extraversion predicts longer survival in gorillas: an 18-year longitudinal study. Proc. R. Soc. B., 2013 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2231

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Extraverted gorillas enjoy longer lives, research suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205132435.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2012, December 5). Extraverted gorillas enjoy longer lives, research suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205132435.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Extraverted gorillas enjoy longer lives, research suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121205132435.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

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