An international team of researchers looked at the role of personality by studying 298 gorillas in North American zoos and sanctuaries for over 18 years.
The gorillas' personalities were assessed by keepers, volunteers, researchers and caretakers who knew the gorillas well. Their personality was scored with measures adapted from techniques for studying people and other primates.
Researchers found that out of four personality traits – dominance, extraversion, neuroticism and agreeableness – extraversion, which was associated with behaviours such as sociability, activity, play and curiosity, was linked with longer survival.
The study found that the link between extraversion and survival was not affected by age or gender, rearing condition or how many times the gorilla had moved location.
Researchers say these findings are consistent with studies in people which found that extraverts tend to live longer.
The study, carried out on western lowland gorillas is important in understanding how the relationship between personality and longevity of life evolved.
Dr Alex Weiss, of the University of Edinburgh's School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, said: "These findings highlight how understanding the natural history of personality is vital to insuring the continued health and well-being of humans, gorillas and other great apes."
The study is published today in the Royal Society journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. The collection of personality data in 1994 was funded by Zoo Atlanta, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Lincoln Park Zoological Society's Dr Scholl's Graduate Research Fellowship.
University of Edinburgh: http://www.ed.ac.uk
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Scientists circumnavigating the globe on a spartan racing catamaran will spend the coming year deploying drones to collect better data on plastic pollution
A patch of gold electrodes you can wear behind your ear for up to two weeks will track your brainwaves 24/7 and let you control devices with your mind
Scientists have peeked inside the brain of a man with tinnitus to identify the brainwaves that underlie the debilitating sensation of ringing in the ear
For extinct creatures like dinosaurs known only from fossils, it is notoriously difficult to differentiate the males from the females of a species because sex distinctions are rarely obvious from the skeletons.
The most complete genetic information assembled on woolly mammoths is providing insight into their demise, revealing they suffered two population crashes before a final, severely inbred group succumbed on an Arctic Ocean island.
More than 30 million crows fly around the country, but among all creatures, the birds may be among the least understood. Ben Tracy reports on new research into crows' brains.
Mouse study demonstrates method to target mutations in DNA inherited from mother
After consulting a "stud book," the Zoo brought a male panda's sperm back to D.C., setting an exciting precedent
Stegosaurs may have sported quite different shaped bony plates on their backs, depending on whether they were male or female, new research claims.
Targeting a protein that causes rampant growth of cells in retinal blood vessels could lead to new treatments for vision loss in older people