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Acoustic signalling reflects personality in a social mammal

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Lucy Asher



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2016 The Authors.Social interactions among individuals are often mediated through acoustic signals. If acoustic signals are consistent and related to an individual's personality, these consistent individual differences in signalling may be an important driver in social interactions. However, few studies in non-human mammals have investigated the relationship between acoustic signalling and personality. Here we show that acoustic signalling rate is repeatable and strongly related to personality in a highly social mammal, the domestic pig (Sus scrofa domestica). Furthermore, acoustic signalling varied between environments of differing quality, with males from a poor-quality environment having a reduced vocalization rate compared with females and males from an enriched environment. Such differences may be mediated by personality with pigs from a poor-quality environment having more reactive and more extreme personality scores compared with pigs from an enriched environment. Our results add to the evidence that acoustic signalling reflects personality in a non-human mammal. Signals reflecting personalities may have far reaching consequences in shaping the evolution of social behaviours as acoustic communication forms an integral part of animal societies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Friel M, Kunc HP, Griffin K, Asher L, Collins LM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Royal Society Open Science

Year: 2016

Volume: 3

Issue: 6

Online publication date: 29/06/2016

Acceptance date: 24/05/2016

Date deposited: 06/04/2017

ISSN (electronic): 2054-5703

Publisher: The Royal Society Publishing


DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160178


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Experimental work presented here was funded as part of a BBSRC grant no. (BB/K002554/2).