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FATEC 2008

Just Like Humans
Animal personality is now taken seriously.


We name them, raise them, clothe them and spoil them. We describe them as manipulative, grumpy, sensitive and caring. And they’re not even human – they’re our pets. It’s in our nature to ascribe human characteristics to animals even if they don’t really exist. For this reason, in the interests of remaining objective observers of nature, scientists have taken pains to avoid anthropomorphizing animals. To talk about a dog’s having a swagger or a cat’s being shy would invite professional sneers.

In recent years, however, evidence has begun to show that animals have personalities after all. Chimps, for example, can be conscientious: they think before they act, they plan and they control their impulses, says Samuel Gosling, a Texas based psychologist. (...)

 

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