I am always looking for possibilities to combine my research interests with music, art or design. Luckily a couple months ago my two friends Jens Bouttery and Daan Milius, professional musician/composer and film makers, asked me to collaborate on a musical performance to explore the boundaries of music, science and art called “Triggers and Tresholds“.
We have had a couple very fruitful weekends in Cambridge during which we some great discussions about science and music and they filmed a couple shorts for the performance later this year. After their last visit here and seeing the sticklebacks and my research in my basement lab in Cambridge, Jens got very creative and within a day wrote a fantastic song about my research on animal personality! Listen to it below:
It is great to work together with good friends and see how my research is translated in such a creative way!
Everyone knows that our personality plays a large role in daily life, from our need for adventure and our desire to hang out with friends, to our discipline in work and our compassion with others. But when we talk about personalities in animals, or non-human animals as I like to say, many may feel it is different. Although most people use personality related terms when talking about our pets, the majority of people may still believe personality is a uniquely human characteristic. The interesting thing is, personalities exist throughout the animal kingdom!
Until about ten years ago researchers talked about the behaviour of animals in general terms, ignoring the behavioural variation between individuals because it was considered ‘noise around the mean’. However, during the last ten years, more and more researches have shown that personalities exist in a wide range of species. From birds to bees, all species so far investigated show that individuals often behave very different from one another and do so consistently throughout their lives in a similar way like we do ourselves. For example, some individuals might be bolder or more aggressive while others are more sociable and tend to follow others.