Aspects of personality in nonhuman primates have been linked to health, social relationships, and life history outcomes. In humans as well as nonhuman primates, facial morphology is associated with assertiveness, aggression, and measures of dominance status. In this study we aimed to examine the relationship among facial morphology, age, sex, dominance status, and ratings on the personality dimensions Confidence, Openness, Assertiveness, Friendliness, Activity, and Anxiety in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). We measured facial width-to-height ratio (fWHR) and lower-height/full-height ratio (fLHFH) using photographs from 109 captive rhesus macaques, which observers also assessed for dominance status and personality, and explored the associations among facial morphology, age, sex, dominance status, and personality. fWHR and fLHFH personality associations depended on age category: Assertiveness was associated with higher fWHR and fLHFH, and Confidence was associated with lower fWHR and fLHFH, but all these associations were consistent only in individuals <8 yr. of age. We found fWHR and fLHFH to not be consistently associated with sex or dominance status; compared to younger individuals, we found few associations with fWHR and fLHFH for individuals older than 8 yr., which may be due to limited sample size. Our results indicate that in macaques <8 yr. old, facial morphology is associated with the Assertiveness and Confidence personality dimensions, which is consistent with results suggesting a relationship between fWHR and trait aggression in humans and assertiveness in brown capuchins, all of which implies that fWHR might be a cue to assertive and aggressive traits.
- Facial morphology
- Rhesus macaques
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology