Dr Alexander Weiss, Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, has written below about his collaborative research into chimpanzees. A report in Japanese has been uploaded, as well as some of his academic articles.Japanese version of report by Dr A Weiss
In 2007 the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation awarded me £1,000 for a collaborative research project with my colleague Professor Miho Inoue-Murayama who, at the time, was in the Faculty of Applied Biological Sciences of Gifu University. We collected personality and happiness data on 146 chimpanzees housed in multiple Japanese zoos, two research institutes and a sanctuary. I also presented my existing work at the time and some preliminary findings from these data at the Japanese Primatological Society meeting in Hikone, what is now the Kumamoto Sanctuary, and at Gifu University.
This collaborative study led to several scientific publications. The first showed that cultural differences do not impact perceptions of chimpanzee personality or happiness; ratings made in Japan revealed personality dimensions very similar to those found in humans that are related to happiness. The second was the first study to find an association between a personality dimension in chimpanzees and a genetic polymorphism. In the third, we pooled these data with data collected elsewhere and found that perceptions of chimpanzee personality were not anthropomorphic projections. Finally, again with other data, we showed that something akin to a midlife crisis is also present in chimpanzees and orangutans. The latter two papers received considerable coverage in the press, both in the United Kingdom and worldwide. In addition to these scientific outputs and several conference presentations that have come from these data, the funding has enabled us to provide personality profiles to Japanese zoos and other facilities that hold chimpanzees. These profiles are often used to inform the public or to make management decisions.
I do not think that the level of collaboration we achieved thus far could have been possible without the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation’s generous support. Both Professor Inoue-Murayama and I truly appreciate it and are ever thankful. We hope to seek out your support for future projects.
Published outputs (in order of appearance):
Weiss, A., Inoue-Murayama, M, Hong, K-W., Inoue, E., Udono, T., Ochiai, T., Matsuzawa, T., Hirata, S., & King, J. E. (2009). Assessing chimpanzee personality and subjective well-being in Japan. American Journal of Primatology, 71, 283-292.
Assessing chimpanzee personality and subjective well-being in Japan
Hong, K-W., Weiss, A., Udono, S., Hayasaka, I., Murayama, Y., Ito, S., & Inoue-Murayama, M. (2011). Polymorphism of the tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2) gene is associated with chimpanzee neuroticism. PLoS ONE, 6, e22144.
Polymorphism of the tryptophan hydroxylase 2 gene is associated with chimpanzee neuroticism
Weiss, A., Inoue-Murayama, M., King, J. E., Adams, M. J., & Matsuzawa, T. (2012). All too human? Chimpanzee and orang-utan personalities are not anthropomorphic projections. Animal Behaviour, 83, 1355-1365.
All too human? Chimpanzee and orang-utan personalities are not anthropomorphic projections
Weiss, A., King, J. E., Inoue-Murayama, M., Matsuzawa, T., & Oswald, A. J. (2012). Evidence for a ‘midlife crisis’ in great apes consistent with the U-shape in human well-being. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Early edition. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1212592109.
Evidence for a ‘midlife crisis’ in great apes consistent with the U-shape in human well-being
Presentations at scientific conferences:
Weiss, A., & Inoue-Murayama, M. (2010, September). Using M- and G-type factor analyses to better understand personality. Paper presented at 23rd Congress of the International Primatological Society, Kyoto, Japan.
Inoue-Murayama, M., Weiss, A., Kato, K., Morimura, N., Tanaka, M., Yamagiwa, J., & Idani, G. (2010, September). Molecular behavioral research in great apes. Paper presented at 23rd Congress of the International Primatological Society, Kyoto, Japan.
Weiss, A., Inoue-Murayama, M., King, J. E., Adams, M. J., Matsuzawa, T. (2009 December). Ratings of zoo chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus and Pongo abelii) are not anthropomorphic projections. Paper presented at the Winter Meetings of the Primate Society of Great Britain and the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour, London, UK.
Weiss, A., Honjyo, M., Kyung-Won, H., Udono, S., Ochiai, T., Matsuzawa, T., Hirata, S., & Inoue-Murayama, M. (2007, July). Comparing two methods of assessing the personality of Japanese chimpanzees. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Primate Society of Japan, Hikone, Japan.