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December 31, 2008

Myers-Briggs for dogs

Goofy_xray

You knew it was only a matter of time.

Social psychologist Samuel Gosling of the University of Texas has come to the conclusion that ".... dogs share four out of the five personality traits psychologists use to understand human behavior."

Long story short: "Human personality is measured according to five variables: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to new experience."

Gosling has "... found that only conscientiousness — which measures trustworthiness, selfishness and dependability — is absent in dogs."

Strange, don't you think?

I mean, it seems to me, based on dogs I've known and loved, that their strongest traits are trustworthiness and dependability.

Here's a February 22, 2005 Times of London story about Gosling and his work.

    Science bows to dog mind

    Dogs share four of the five main personality traits that psychologists use to understand human behaviour, says a British researcher based in the US.

    The findings by Samuel Gosling of the University of Texas promise to settle a question that may strike pet owners as odd, but which is controversial among scientists: whether animals can be said to have a meaningful personality at all.

    Dr Gosling said: “The evidence that dogs have personality is as strong as the evidence that humans have.

    “There’s a strong view that animal personality is preposterous anthropomorphism: when I suggested applying measures of human personality to animals, I had people yelling that I was bringing the field into disrepute.”

    Human personality is measured according to five variables: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness to new experience. Dr Gosling found that only conscientiousness — which measures trustworthiness, selfishness and dependability — was absent in dogs.

    To investigate whether dog personalities were predictable, Dr Gosling interviewed owners about their pets’ temperaments, then tested whether the dogs would behave as predicted in particular circumstances.

    Dogs’ “emotional stability”, for example, the equivalent of human neuroticism, was tested by asking an owner to leave her dog and walk away with another dog on the lead.

    “If I’d known how much this would affect certain dogs, I might have found another way,” Dr Gosling said. “Some animals absolutely hated this, and this correlated well with the predictions.”

....................

You can read Gosling's scientific paper entitled "Temperament and personality in dogs (Canis familiaris): A review and evaluation of past research," which appeared in the Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science in 2005, by scrolling down to it here, then clicking on the word "Link."

Print it out for later if you like.

My advice to Gosling: Should he ever formalize a Myers-Briggs canine equivalent, make certain one of the profiles is WOOF.

December 31, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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Comments

Can't wait for the MMPI...

Posted by: jim` | Dec 31, 2008 2:17:28 PM

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