Humans And Dolphins Have Similar Personality Traits, Study Finds

by : Cameron Frew on : 20 Feb 2021 12:14
Humans And Dolphins Have Similar Personality Traits, Study FindsPA Images

Dolphins and humans have similar personality traits, a new study has found.

The findings, published in the Journal of Comparative Psychology, were based on the analysis of 134 male and female bottlenose dolphins from all across the world.


This was reportedly the first study of its kind, looking at where the personalities of human beings and dolphins converge. The study showed similarities in some areas, particularly when it comes to curiosity and sociability.


Dr Blake Morton, a psychology lecturer at the University of Hull and the lead author of the study, told The Guardian: ‘Dolphins were a great animal for this kind of study because, like primates, dolphins are intelligent and social. We reasoned that if factors such as intelligence and gregariousness contribute to personality, then dolphins should have similar personality traits to primates.’

While we’re not exactly cruising towards a Night of the Dolphin insurgence, Morton said ‘like many primates, [dolphins] have brains that are considerably larger than what their bodies require for basic bodily functions; this excess of brain matter essentially powers their ability to be intelligent, and intelligent species are often very curious.’

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Human personalities are said to be defined by five traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Morton said in order to better understand ourselves, animal comparisons can be helpful.

He said: ‘Most research has been done on primates so we decided to do something different and look at dolphins. No one’s ever studied personality in dolphins before in the way we have.’

However, Morton urged: ‘I don’t want people to misinterpret that and say humans and dolphins have the same personality traits – they don’t. It’s just that some of them are similar.’


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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Animals, Dolphins, Now, Psychology


The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    Dolphins have similar personality traits to humans, study finds