Effects of early predation and social cues on the relationship between laterality and personality

Paolo Panizzon*, Jakob Gismann, Bernd Riedstra, Marion Nicolaus, Culum Brown, Ton Groothuis

*Corresponding author for this work

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Individual differences in laterality and personality are expected to covary, as emotions are processed differently by the two hemispheres, and personality involves emotional behavior. Fish species are often used to investigate this topic due to the large variability in personality and laterality patterns. While some species show a positive relationship between lateralization strength and boldness, others show a negative relationship, and some show no relationship. A new way to assess the robustness of such a relationship is to manipulate both laterality and personality to examine how this affects their relationship. To this end, we conducted a fully factorial design experiment manipulating predation and group size during early development. Results showed that the strength of laterality was influenced by predation threat, while social tendency and boldness were influenced by group size. These findings suggest that early life conditions can have an impact on laterality and social behavior. The relationship between laterality and personality traits, while present, was heavily influenced by the specific trial conditions but not by the different developmental conditions. In summary, the relationship between laterality and behaviors appears to be context-dependent, yet resilient to early environmental manipulations.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberarae012
Number of pages13
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1-May-2024


  • behavioral development
  • behavioral ecology
  • laterality
  • personality
  • predation


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