Individual Differences in Nonhuman Animals: Examining Boredom, Curiosity, and Creativity
Personality psychology has traditionally focused on the study of individual differences in human cognition and behavior. More recently, the topic of individual differences in nonhuman animal behavior has featured more prominently in biology and psychology research. The study of individual differences in nonhuman animals has important implications for ecology, conservation, comparative psychology, agriculture, and the care of animals in zoological facilities. Individual differences in animal boredom will be examined in this chapter to highlight the importance of studying variation in boredom proneness and coping styles in nonhuman animals. The negative affective state of boredom is adaptive because it serves as motivation for an individual to re-engage with the environment, a process that can involve curiosity and creativity. Future research on animal boredom should investigate the behavioral and physiological correlates of boredom at both a species and an individual level in order to expand the existing literature and contribute to the future of animal welfare.