Personality and the emergence of the pace-of-life syndrome concept at the population level

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2010 Dec 27;365(1560):4051-63. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2010.0208.


The pace-of-life syndrome (POLS) hypothesis specifies that closely related species or populations experiencing different ecological conditions should differ in a suite of metabolic, hormonal and immunity traits that have coevolved with the life-history particularities related to these conditions. Surprisingly, two important dimensions of the POLS concept have been neglected: (i) despite increasing evidence for numerous connections between behavioural, physiological and life-history traits, behaviours have rarely been considered in the POLS yet; (ii) the POLS could easily be applied to the study of covariation among traits between individuals within a population. In this paper, we propose that consistent behavioural differences among individuals, or personality, covary with life history and physiological differences at the within-population, interpopulation and interspecific levels. We discuss how the POLS provides a heuristic framework in which personality studies can be integrated to address how variation in personality traits is maintained within populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal* / physiology
  • Behavioral Research
  • Biological Evolution
  • Ecological and Environmental Phenomena
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Psychological
  • Personality* / genetics
  • Personality* / physiology
  • Population Dynamics
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Selection, Genetic


  • Reactive Oxygen Species