Proceedings B paper on animal personality

Really pleased to announce that I have a paper out today in the Royal Society’s Proceedings B. This is the main result of my 2017 postdoc in the USA, working with Noa Pinter-Wollman and Jonathan Pruitt, two great biologists. More details on the paper itself are on the papers page. Getting there was really hard work: I was handed a large dataset by Noa and asked to investigate it. So it was a long process of familiarisation, choosing the right statistical methodology, learning it, applying it correctly, and interpreting the results appropriately. I had never even used R before I got to the States (MATLAB is what I know best). In the end though it was worthwhile: a very intriguing finding that links personality development to the spiders’ social environment, over internal factors like genetics. This could have widespread relevance to the study of personality development – including, I wonder, even human beings? Psychology is something I have a great interest in, and it makes me wonder how much our personality is shaped by our familial and school relationships. My intuition for humans is that genetics is more important, perhaps more of a 50/50 thing, than for these spiders. But it should go to show that personality is more or less fluid depending on the animal collective in question!

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