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Gorilla extroverts said to live longer

Dec. 5, 2012 at 3:01 PM   |   Comments

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EDINBURGH, Scotland, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Having an extroverted personality could lead to a longer life, Scottish researchers say -- if you're a gorilla.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh along with international colleagues looked at the role of personality in life span by studying 298 gorillas in North American zoos and sanctuaries for over 18 years.

Keepers, volunteers, researchers and caretakers who knew the gorillas well assessed the gorillas' personalities, a university release reported Wednesday.

Of four main personality traits -- dominance, extroversion, neuroticism and agreeableness -- extroversion, associated with behaviors such as sociability, activity, play and curiosity, was linked with longer survival, the study found.

The link between extroversion and survival was not affected by age or gender, researchers said.

The study results are consistent with studies in people which also found extroverts tend to live longer, they said.

"These findings highlight how understanding the natural history of personality is vital to insuring the continued health and well-being of humans, gorillas and other great apes," Alex Weiss of the university's School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, said.

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