Which personality dimensions do puppy tests measure? A systematic procedure for categorizing behavioral assays
McGarrity, ME and Sinn, DL and Gosling, SD, Which personality dimensions do puppy tests measure? A systematic procedure for categorizing behavioral assays, Behavioural Processes, 110 pp. 117-124. ISSN 0376-6357 (2015) [Refereed Article]
With the recent increase in interest in personality in dogs, behavioral assays of their behavior have proliferated. There has been particularly strong interest in predicting adult behavior from puppy tests.As a result, researchers and practitioners seeking to measure personality in puppies are faced with a bewildering array of options and no clear guide as to what behavioral assays have been developed or which personality dimensions those assays measure effectively. To address this issue, we used an‘expert-categorization’ procedure—a standardized method often used in the course of meta-analyses—to identify the subset of those assays consensually judged to measure major personality dimensions effectively. We used this procedure to identify all relevant puppy tests and to categorize them in terms of their ability to measure nine personality dimensions identified in previous research (activity, aggressiveness,boldness/self-assuredness, exploration, fearfulness/nervousness, reactivity, sociability, submissiveness, trainability/responsiveness). Specifically, we identified 264 assay subtests, derived from 47 studies, which were subjected to a standardized categorization procedure undertaken independently by six expert judges. These procedures yielded a set of behavioral tests judged to measure the nine dimensions effectively and also demonstrated a widely applicable method for developing and evaluating behavioral test batteries. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Canine Behavior.