Males have more pronounced personalities than females across a range of species – from humans to house sparrows – according to new research. Consistent personality traits, such as aggression and daring, are also more important to females when looking for a mate than they are to males. Research from the University of Exeter draws together a range of studies to reveal the role that sexual selection plays in this disparity between males and females.
The study shows that in most species males show more consistent, predictable behaviours, particularly in relation to parental care, aggression and risk-taking. Females, on the other hand, are more likely to vary their behaviour. They are also more likely to respond to these traits and therefore seem to be 'choosier' about the personality of a potential mate.
The research, which is published in the journal Biological Reviews (18 November 2009) draws on several studies, dating back to 1972. It is the latest study in a growing body of research from a University of Exeter team that links gender personality differences to sexual selection.
The authors believe sexual selection may hold the key to this variation. …