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Title: Pig personalities : a search for traits and types
Author: Erhard, Hans W.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis examines in detail the extent to which individual differences in specific aspects of behaviour in pigs can be characterised as stable personality traits showing consistency across time and context. Behavioural tests were developed to measure aggressiveness, the active/passive responses to challenging situations and flexibility/persistence of behaviour. Aggressiveness: Attack latency in a standardised resident-intruder test situation was found to be consistent across four weeks, and predicted the behaviour when unfamiliar pigs were mixed. Active/passive responses: The reaction to a tonic immobility test (susceptibility to and duration of immobility) predicted ease of handling, speed of movement and reaction speed in an emergence test across time (tested up to an interval of eight weeks). Flexibility/persistence: The persistence to continue an ongoing behaviour or to perform a behaviour once learned to be successful was studied in a distraction task and a reversal task in various maze experiments. Individual differences in the behaviour in the distraction task were consistent across at least 7 weeks and predicted the speed at which pigs mastered a reversal task in a Y-maze. The behaviour in these tests was shown to be consistent across time as well as across situation, which suggests that the differences between individuals may be a reflection of underlying differences in stable personality characteristics. While specific personality traits can be found and assessed, these do not cluster together in pigs, as they appear to in some other species, to form distinctive personality types.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available