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  Animal personalities: an empty placeholder feigning understanding: a comment on Beekman and Jordan

Jungwirth, A., Wedell, N., Bshary, R., & Milinski, M. (2017). Animal personalities: an empty placeholder feigning understanding: a comment on Beekman and Jordan. Behavioral Ecology, 28(3), 629-630. doi:10.1093/beheco/arx048.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002E-87CF-7 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002E-87D0-1
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Jungwirth, Arne, Author
Wedell, Nina, Author
Bshary, Redouan1, Author              
Milinski, Manfred2, Author              
Affiliations:
1Emeritus, Seewiesen, Max Planck Institut für Ornithologie, Max Planck Society, ou_2149690              
2Department Evolutionary Ecology, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society, ou_1445634              

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 Abstract: The time is ripe for analyzing where the misgivings come from that researchers have after attending “personality” sessions at behavior conferences or reading papers in behavior and ecology journals that seem to attract excitement, because of the label “personality.” Beekman and Jordan (2017) point out that “animal personality” studies is nothing more than a rebranding of existing fields of research, fields that are far more solidly grounded and hypothesis driven than the often vague and superficial focus on animal personalities. They go on to state that there has been a rapid increase of mainly descriptive papers pointing to correlations and measuring behavioral repeatability with little attempt to link observed behaviors to evolutionary theory. “This latter approach was met with bemusement among many in the field of behavioral ecology” including the present authors. The field may have profited from the “Bystander’s Dilemma” (Darley and Latané 1968), meaning that if someone needs to do something, here criticize, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will criticize. However, somewhat surprisingly, as we took a similar initiative (Jungwirth et al., unpublished data), there are now 2 independent critical reviews of animal personality research written by outsiders to the field. Importantly, Beekman and Jordan criticize points very similar to the ones we raise, despite all of us having different scientific backgrounds. We may diverge in the emphases we place on various points but overall we agree that it is difficult to see how and where the animal personality approach has advanced our understanding of behavior, ecology, and evolution.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2017-03-042017-02-122017-05-082017-05-082017-05-01
 Publication Status: Published in print
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1093/beheco/arx048
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Title: Behavioral Ecology
Source Genre: Journal
 Creator(s):
Simmons, Leigh, Editor
Affiliations:
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Publ. Info: New York, NY : Oxford University Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 28 (3) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 629 - 630 Identifier: ISSN: 1045-2249
CoNE: /journals/resource/954925590416