Studies suggest males have more personality

Nov 18, 2009
Zebra finches.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Males have more pronounced personalities than females across a range of species - from humans to house sparrows - according to new research. Consistent personality traits, such as aggression and daring, are also more important to females when looking for a mate than they are to males. Research from the University of Exeter draws together a range of studies to reveal the role that sexual selection plays in this disparity between males and females.

The study shows that in most species show more consistent, predictable behaviours, particularly in relation to parental care, and risk-taking. Females, on the other hand, are more likely to vary their . They are also more likely to respond to these traits and therefore seem to be 'choosier' about the personality of a potential mate.

The research, which is published in the journal Biological Reviews draws on several studies, dating back to 1972. It is the latest study in a growing body of research from a University of Exeter team that links gender personality differences to .

The authors believe sexual selection may hold the key to this variation. A concept originally developed by , sexual selection is the theory that evolutionary traits can be explained by competition between one sex - usually males - for mates and by (female) mate choice. While the physical attributes resulting from sexual selection - from dazzling peacocks tails to over-sized antler horns - are well known, there has been much less of a focus on the impact on personality.

Lead author Dr Wiebke Schuett of the University of Exeter says: "Our study is the first to bring together research about the impact of sexual selection on personality in humans and other animals. Our study suggests that, while males tend to exhibit more pronounced personalities, including more predictable behaviour, in a range of different contexts, females are more receptive to these traits in males. We found a surprising level of similarity across a range of species."

This paper supports research carried out by the same team, published in the journal Animal Behaviour (February 2009). The team studied the social and feeding behaviours of a population of zebra finches. They found that although the male zebra finches did not explore their environment more than the , they were more consistent in their exploratory behaviour. The team concluded that males are more likely to be selected as mates if they are consistent in any behaviour that would be beneficial to a partnership and its offspring. This would include finding food or seeing off predators.

Dr Sasha Dall of the University of Exeter, the team leader, says: "This body of research suggests that male personality could have evolved in much the same way as signs of physical attractiveness - to help attract a mate. Scientists have not given the role of sexual selection in shaping animal personality much consideration in the past. We hope that our work will pave the way for further research in this rather overlooked subject."

More information: The paper, entitled 'Sexual Selection and Animal ,' can be accessed at DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2009.00101.x

Source: University of Exeter (news : web)

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User comments : 3

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cakmn
5 / 5 (1) Nov 18, 2009
"more personality"
"more consistent, predictable behaviours"

This seems to be a rather biased way of expressing the findings of this research, which is not at all surprising ... the bias, that is. Perhaps it would be just as valid to observe that males are more stuck in a rut and that males have more limited means for dealing with things, whereas females are more adaptable.

The take home lesson for human males - who are presumably capable of learning and changing (evolving personally) - is that becoming more open and expansive in their approach to life will most likely lead to developing new ways of dealing with things; ways that might be more appropriate in some situations than the "tried and true" but not always most successful ways.
MrEdd
not rated yet Nov 19, 2009
More personality was the title of the article chosen by physorg not the science article which only claims more pronounced personalites. I do not find the article to be biased. Something that is consistant is more pronounced. These traits were chosen by females because they brought home the bacon. Females might be more adaptable but perhaps they are also less able to exploit a resource.
ArtflDgr
not rated yet Nov 19, 2009
males have what women select for, women dont like dullards, the stupid, or the incompetent/incapable. therefore men have those skills more which allows them to outcompete and achieve in excess of their personal needs so that is shared with her and children.
when sex is on the front burner, thats what men select for, in short term. when sex is subdued, then men prefer longer term mates are are more interested in other qualities. (women have similar switches in bias between short term, and long term).

however, compared to women who get to select, and men who get to present, which one woudl ahve more presentation skilss (personality)?

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