Committee Chair

Foerder, Preston G.

Committee Member

Warren, Amye; Roges, Katherine; Winship, Kelley


Dept. of Psychology


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Cooperation may be related to personality in bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) dyads. Five bottlenose dolphin pairs at the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences (RIMS), Honduras, were presented with an apparatus released a food reward if opened cooperatively. I created personality profiles of each dolphin with traits grouped in two different contexts: dolphin-dolphin and dolphin-world. I hypothesized that success of the cooperative task would be related to similarities in socialization and dissimilar in interacting with objects. None of the dolphin pairs cooperated to open the apparatus. I then analyzed individual personalities in relation to the dolphins’ individual and mutual interactions with the apparatus as well as the pairs’ social behaviors. Playfulness, curiosity, and affiliativeness as well as the factors openness, agreeableness, and extraversion were positively related to affiliation with the apparatus and each other. My findings could guide future animal research on the relationship between personality, social interactions, and problem-solving.


I would like to thank my advisor, Preston Foerder, and my committee members, Amye Warren, Kelley Winship, and Katherine Rogers whose mentorship and guidance have pushed me to become a better researcher and person. Their support from beginning to end was invaluable to the execution and completion of this research. Special thanks to the Roatan Institute for Marine Sciences staff and trainers for working with me and allowing me to collect data. Particularly Teri and Eldon Bolton for their patience as well as all the time and effort they put into me and this project. Also, to Denry Jenizotty, Waleska Henriquez, Yessan Seren, Kenly McCoy, and Dante Webster for their time in filling out personality profiles for the dolphins. Further, I would like to thank Dr. Lauren Highfill for allowing me to use the personality surveys.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Bottlenose dolphin -- Behavior; Bottlenose dolphin -- Psychology; Learning in animals; Social behavior in animals


Cooperation; Personality; Dolphin; Comparative; Psychology



Document Type

Masters theses


x, 79 leaves