Individual variation in fear behaviour

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Vol: 2, Issue: 15

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Found, Rob
vigilance; flight response distance; personality; habituation; fear; Cognitive Neuroscience; Ethics and Political Philosophy; Evolution; Life Sciences; Philosophy of Mind; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology; Zoology
expert opinion description
Individual variation in behaviour adds another layer of complexity to studies of animal responses to fear and risk, but when individual responses are consistent, and correlated with other behaviours, these patterns can provide a structure that furthers our understanding. I interpret Beauchamp’s review of vigilance and fear from the perspective of my own studies of elk personality. Wild elk responses to changing stimuli (benign or aversive) illustrate how personality is a key factor in explaining variation in vigilance and fear behavior. Personality even influences how wildlife can learn to assess risk and adjust their fear responses accordingly.