Animal Personality

Download Audio

Ask any pet lover or cow poke — we know, or think we know, that cats and dogs and horses have personalities. Who could miss them? But what about an octopus? A hyena? A tortoise? A guppy?

After most of a century of looking the other way, behavioral science is looking again at "animal personality" — bullying fruit flies, oversexed water striders, extroversion and introversion and every stripe character trait from deep sea critters to hippos on the move.

You might have thought we were projecting human traits onto animals. But the real question is — have evolutionary ancestors passed "personality" down to us?

Hear about the new science of animal personality.


Charles Siebert, contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, he wrote this week's cover story "The Animal Self"

Sam Gosling, psychologist and founder of The Animal Personality Institute at The University of Texas

Terry Curtis, board-certified Veterinary
Behaviorist with The University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine

This program aired on January 23, 2006.


More from On Point

Listen Live