Behaviour 2019
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Bold and bright – shy and supple? Elusive links between lizard personality and cognition.
Gilles De Meester1,2, Panayiotis Pafilis2, Raoul Van Damme1. 1University of Antwerp, Wilrijk (Antwerp), Antwerp, Belgium; 2National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Attica, Greece

Biologists have become increasingly interested in understanding individual variation in cognition. A popular topic in this context is the association between personality and cognition. Generally, it is predicted that animals with “faster” personalities (bolder, explorative, neophilic) should exhibit faster but less flexible learning. Empirical studies so far have yielded inconsistent results regarding the link between personality and cognition. One possible reason for this may be that personality-cognition covariance depends on the ecological context, a hypothesis that has rarely been tested. In this study, we tested the effect of habitat complexity on the link between personality and cognition in the Aegean wall lizard (Podarcis erhardii). Lizards were collected from five populations that differed in structural habitat complexity and tested on several aspects of personality and cognition. Our results revealed a complex interplay between cognition and personality, as correlations were often habitat- but also year-dependent. Our results thus highlight that ecological context is essential when studying the link between personality and cognition.