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Hi Sophie, We published a paper on that exact question (which I guess you are probably referring to!), see http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00265-011-1263-6. The take-home-message was that yes, observer assessments (using ratings on a five-point scale) and field experiments (such as used in this study) both measured baboons' boldness/shyness similarly. However, there was a bit of catch: whilst observers were good at rating very shy and very bold individuals the agreement between the observer assessments and experimental tests wasn't so good for intermediate individuals. Ideally, researchers should try to use both approaches, however where that isn't possible then our results suggested they should try to use a methods which measure personality on a continuous scale. (Having watched Alecia do the experimental tests for this paper I can tell you they involve a lot of time and effort - though produce great data!)

by PeerJ Staff ·

Hi Sophie, We published a paper on that exact question (which I guess you are probably referring to!), see http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00265-011-1263-6. The take-home-message was that yes, observer assessments (using ratings on a five-point scale) and field experiments (such as used in this study) both measured baboons' boldness/shyness similarly. However, there was a bit of catch: whilst observers were good at rating very shy and very bold individuals the agreement between the observer assessments and experimental tests wasn't so good for intermediate individuals. Ideally, researchers should try to use both approaches, however where that isn't possible then our results suggested they should try to use a methods which measure personality on a continuous scale. (Having watched Alecia do the experimental tests for this paper I can tell you they involve a lot of time and effort - though produce great data!)

by Harry Marshall ·