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Habituation is not neutral or equal: Individual differences in tolerance suggest an overlooked personality trait

Allan, A.T.L.; Bailey, A.L.; Hill, R.A.

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Authors

Andy Allan andrew.allan@durham.ac.uk
Assistant Professor Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

A.L. Bailey



Abstract

In behavioral studies, observer effects can be substantial, even for habituated animals, but few studies account for potential observer-related phenomenon empirically. We used wild, habituated chacma baboons to explore two key assumptions of behavioral ecology (i) that observers become a “neutral” stimulus and (ii) that habituation is “equal” across group members. Using flight initiation distance (FID) methods within a personality paradigm, the behavioral responses of baboons suggested that observers were not perceived as neutral but instead viewed as a high-ranking social threat. Habituation was also not equal across group members, with repeatable individual differences more important than contextual factors (e.g., habitat) in determining the distance at which baboons visually oriented or displaced from observers. A strong correlation between individual visual tolerance and displacement tolerance (i.e., convergent validity) indicated a personality trait. We offer several suggestions for how to account for these factors and minimize potential bias in future studies.

Citation

Allan, A., Bailey, A., & Hill, R. (2020). Habituation is not neutral or equal: Individual differences in tolerance suggest an overlooked personality trait. Science Advances, 6(28), Article eaaz0870. https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aaz0870

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 14, 2020
Online Publication Date Jul 8, 2020
Publication Date 2020-07
Deposit Date Jan 30, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jul 14, 2020
Journal Science Advances
Publisher American Association for the Advancement of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 6
Issue 28
Article Number eaaz0870
DOI https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aaz0870
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1278383

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Publisher Licence URL
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Copyright Statement
This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.







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