Future directions in behavioural syndromes research

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


A behavioural syndrome occurs when individuals behave in a consistent way through time or across contexts and is analogous to 'personality' or 'temperament'. Interest is accumulating in behavioural syndromes owing to their important ecological and evolutionary consequences. There are plenty of opportunities in this burgeoning young field to integrate proximate and functional approaches to studying behaviour, but there are few guidelines about where to start or how to design a study on behavioural syndromes. After summarizing what we do and do not know, this brief review aims to act as a general guide for studying behavioural syndromes. Although the array of possible behavioural combinations can seem overwhelming, there are at least four different strategies that can be used to choose which behaviours or contexts to study in a behavioural syndromes view. I describe the strengths and weaknesses of these non-exclusive strategies, and then discuss the methodological and statistical issues raised by such studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-761
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1611
StatePublished - Mar 22 2007


  • Coping styles
  • Correlated traits
  • Personality
  • Plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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