We examined whether variation in group exploratory behavior was linked with variation in personality traits (boldness, activity, and sociability) in a population of feral guppies (Poecilia reticulata). A huge amount of variation was observed in dispersal tendency between shoals. Surprisingly, no significant correlations were found between group exploratory behavior and average group personality scores, which suggests that the movement of the shoal was not generated by group conformity. However, our analysis revealed correlations between group exploration and the activity score of the least active member of a group and the sociality index of the most social member of a group. These results indicate that a minority of key individuals with certain personality types can have substantial effects on group behavior. These results are discussed in the broader context of group decision making in social animals.
Brown, C., & Irving, E. (2013). Individual personality traits influence group exploration in a feral guppy population. Behavioral Ecology, art090.