Researchers have been analyzing human personalities for centuries now. Up until recently, the popular belief was that humans were the only beings capable of developing different personality types. However, a team of scientists discovered that there is such a thing as optimist and pessimist pigs, the animals reacting differently under various circumstances.
A team of scientists from Lincoln University analyzed 36 pigs originating from two contrasting environments. Half of the sample was raised in open spaces with abundant supplies of hay, a thriving surrounding for the animals. The other half was raised in smaller pens with scarce supplies of straws and rarer opportunities to run in open spaces.
Then, after the pigs matured, they were faced with various unpredictable situations in order for the scientists to determine the pigs’ personality types. Researchers found that pessimist pigs preferred to be prudent when confronted with a new situation, while optimist pigs had a tendency to take more risks and explore the novelty element.
The next stage of the experiment involved testing each of the pigs separately. For several days, the animals were placed in an enclosure where two bowls awaited in opposite corners. Every time, the bowl containing sweets was placed in the same place, as was the bowl containing coffee beans. The researchers waited until all the pigs got accustomed to the setting before proceeding to the final stage of the experiment.
After both optimist and pessimist pigs had learned where to look for the treats, the scientists started to change the location of the bowl of sweets. When they did that, they observed that the pessimist pigs were wary of approaching the dish, while the optimist ones had no fear and starting exploring it immediately.
Moreover, the more the researchers pushed the sweets bowl closer to the bitter dish, the more reluctant the pessimist pigs began to be. On the other hand, optimist pigs continuously searched for the treats, ignoring their proximity to the coffee beans.
The conclusion was that the majority of pigs raised in open spaces with unlimited supplies of straws were more opened to exploration and new settings than those who lived in closed spaces. Furthermore, the researchers demonstrated that animals also make decisions based on their mood and personality traits.
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