Influence of personality on primate health, welfare, and happiness
Robinson, Lauren Marie
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Is personality important for understanding the variation we see in animal welfare? In this thesis, I address that question by studying the association between personality and health, welfare, and happiness in three species of nonhuman primate: rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta), brown capuchins (Sapajus apella), and chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). As part of this research I test a newly designed animal welfare questionnaire. In Chapter 1 I review how animal welfare questionnaires can be designed and implemented as an addition tool for assessing animal welfare. In Chapter 2 I present a study of rhesus macaque personality, dominance, behaviour, and health. In Chapter 3 I test the reliability and validity of my animal welfare questionnaire. In Chapter 4 I extended my work on welfare questionnaires to test if they are valid for assessment of chimpanzee welfare and associated with personality. I specifically test if welfare ratings are based on observed behaviour. I conclude my quantitative work in Chapter 5 with a study testing the association between personality and health, welfare, and subjective well-being in rhesus macaques. Finally, Chapter 6 includes my conclusions and future directions for this line of research. Across all four quantitative studies some common trends were found. First, personality is associated with overall welfare and health. Second, welfare questionnaires are reliable and valid way to assess welfare in the studied species. And third, welfare and subjective well-being are measuring the same construct in these species. Overall, I conclude that personality is clearly useful for understanding animal welfare and that questionnaires are a reliable, valid, and valuable method of animal welfare assessment, in additional to traditional methods.
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