Please join Bilkent University’s Psychology Department on Friday for a seminar by Dr Kaan Kerman.
Speaker: Kaan Kerman. Bilkent University
“Can non-human animals have personalities? A comparative perspective into stable behavioral differences”
Date: Friday, 17 March 2023
Room: C Blok amphitheatre
In human psychology, personality is usually described as a unique set of cognitive and behavioral patterns that varies from individual to individual in a congruent and relatively enduring way. Since personality is ultimately constructed by life experiences, the traditional account considers it as a psychological phenomenon that is more than a fleshed-out version of biologically determined temperamental framework, hence potentially unique to humans. In the last two decades, however, animal behaviorists and comparative psychologists have accumulated tantalizing evidence for the presence of consistent inter-individual differences across a diverse array of taxa from insects to primates. These findings raise some interesting questions for comparative psychology, such as whether human and non-human personality traits differ from each other qualitatively or represent a gradual change along the natural continuum of species-specific reaction norms. Addressing this point necessitates a broadening of the list of model organisms, with a systematic look at the behavioural and cognitive correlates of consistent inter-individual variation and an emphasis on the umwelt of the species. In this seminar, I will present an overview of my recent work that concerns (a) how to accurately characterize the consistent inter-individual differences in other species, and (b) the role of socioecological context in the expression of personality traits such as boldness, exploratory behavior and activity levels in a wide array of species. I will conclude my presentation with an outline of my research plans in the next few years.
About the speaker:
Kaan Kerman is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Psychology at Bilkent University working in the fields of animal cognition, ethology, and comparative psychology. His research focuses on the categorization of animal personality, validation of behavioral protocols in non-human animals, socioecological factors on the expression of animal cognitive/behavioral performance, and philosophy of mind with an emphasis on the issue of animal mind. Dr. Kerman received his PhD from the University of Torino at the Insect Ethology Group, where he investigated stable behavioral differences in several dung beetle species. Before that, he obtained two MSc. degrees in Turkey (Hacettepe University) and USA (University of Florida, Virginia Polytechnic University) with an emphasis on colony-breeding, boldness, and exploratory behavior in avian systems. His current research interests extend into other topics such as the cognition and behavior of companion animals, and the psychology of human-animal interactions (anthrozoology). His academic work is accessible via the link below: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=J4Pa9TgAAAAJ&hl=e