Please join Bilkent University’s Psychology Department on Friday to hear about the research of our own Dr Kaan Kerman.
Speaker: Kaan Kerman, Bilkent University
“Can non-human animals have personalities? A case study from comparative psychology”
Date: Friday, 12 November 2021
***This is an online seminar. To obtain the event link and password, please send a mail to the department.
Abstract: Comparative psychology is the study of mental processes across different biotic (i.e., animals) and abiotic (i.e., artificial intelligence) systems. The main advantage of this approach is to help us elucidate the conceptual formulization of various psychological processes we observe in humans. In human psychology, personality is usually described as a unique set of cognitive and behavioral patterns constructed by life events that changes from individual to individual in congruent and somewhat enduring ways. Defined this way, personality appears to be more than a fleshed out version of a biologically-determined temperamental framework, thus potentially unique to humans. In the last two decades, however, comparative psychologists have accumulated tantalizing evidence for the presence of consistent inter-individual variations in a diverse array of taxa from insects to primates. These findings raised some interesting questions: Do these consistent patterns of behavior observed in non-human animals represent a simple form of a temperament that is biologically determined? Can we move a step further and consider them as species-specific categories of personality traits? Does the distinction between temperament and personality make any sense in a comparative perspective? Should we revise the operational definition of personality to make more sense of the new data? I will use my own published work on avian personality as a case study to highlight these issues.
About the speaker: Kaan Kerman is a comparative psychologist and animal behaviorist working as an instructor in the Department of Psychology at Bilkent University. He received his B.Sc. in Biology, and studied bird behavior within a comparative framework at universities in Turkey (Hacettepe University) and USA (University of Florida, Virginia Polytechnic University). He received his PhD from the University of Turin, investigating dung beetle behavior. His research focused on the categorization of personality traits in non-human animals, and the role of socioecological factors in the expression of these traits. More details on his research are available via this website: