A Generalizability Analysis of Subjective Personality Assessments in the Stumptail Macaque and the Zebra Finch

Aurelio José Figueredo, Roberta Lea Cox, Ramon J. Rhine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Psychometric findings are reported from two studies concerning the construct validity, temporal stability, and interrater reliability of the latent common factors underlying subjective assessments by human raters of personality traits in two nonhuman animal species: (a) the Stumptail macaque (Macaca arctoides), a cercopithecine monkey; and (b) the Zebra finch (Poephila guttata), an estrildid songbird. Because most theories of animal personality have historically implied that certain personality constructs should be relatively universal across taxa, parallel analyses of similar data are reported for two phylogenetically distant species of subject using the same psychometric methods. Each of the samples was drawn from a socially-housed colony of the same species: that of macaques consisted of 5 mature adult fem ales and 8 of their adult offspring and that of finches consisted of 5 adult individuals. A modi fied version of the 1978 Stevenson-Hinde and Zunz (SHZ) list of personality items was applied to the macaques at various times during the eight years from 1980–1988 and to the finches during 1992. This study also used the three SHZ scales — Confident, Excitable, and Sociable — originally derived from principal components. Generalizability analyses were used to assess the construct validity, temporal stability, and interrater reliability of the hypothesized factors. Both Stumptail macaques and Zebra finches manifest measurable personality factors that are highly valid across multiple items, stable across multiple years, and reliable across multiple raters. The same model fits both species, as predicted by theory. The construct validity of the factors is slightly higher for the finches than for the macaques, although the interrater reliability is somewhat lower. This study illustrates how generalizability analysis can be used to test prespecified confirmatory factor models when the number of individual subjects is quite small.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-197
Number of pages31
JournalMultivariate Behavioral Research
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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