On the Evolution of Personalities via Frequency-Dependent Selection

Max Wolf*, John M. McNamara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Personality differences can be found in a wide range of species across the animal kingdom, but why natural selection gave rise to such differences remains an open question. Frequency-dependent selection is a potent mechanism explaining variation; it does not explain, however, the other two key features associated with personalities, consistency and correlations. Using the hawk-dove game and a frequency-dependent foraging game as examples, we here show that this changes fundamentally whenever one takes into account the physiological architecture underlying behavior (e.g., metabolism). We find that the inclusion of physiology changes the evolutionary predictions concerning consistency and correlations: while selection gives rise to inconsistent individuals and stochastically fluctuating behavioral correlations in scenarios that neglect physiology, we find high levels of behavioral consistency and tight and stable trait correlations in scenarios that incorporate physiology. The coevolution of behavioral and physiological traits also gives rise to adaptive physiological differences that are systematically associated with behavioral differences. As well as providing a framework for understanding behavioral consistency and behavioral correlations, our work thus also provides an explanation for systematic physiological differences within populations, a phenomenon that appears to exist in a wide range of species but that, up to now, has been poorly understood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-692
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Volume179
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

Keywords

  • ANIMAL PERSONALITY
  • ECOLOGY
  • coevolution
  • TRADE-OFFS
  • STRESS
  • STRATEGIES
  • metabolism
  • BEHAVIORAL SYNDROMES
  • RAINBOW-TROUT
  • INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES
  • individual differences
  • physiology
  • MODELS
  • behavioral syndromes
  • PLASTICITY
  • stress physiology

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