Why do animals behave differently in the same situation? In other words, why do animals have different personalities? Are some animals more optimistic than others? The project, Finding Optimistic Fish: Does Personality Affect Optimism uses cognitive bias tests to quantify animal optimism and investigate the interaction between animal personality and optimism. At UNSW, we also use fish with some key genes knocked-out to investigate functions of these genes in personality and optimism.


Throughout this honours project, you’ll explore and answer the question: ‘does personality affect optimism?’

Student benefits

You’ll learn a suite of skills essential to conducting a successful PhD. These skills include:

  • statistical modelling
  • computer coding
  • experimental design
  • database management
  • molecular and laboratory techniques
  • bioinformatics.

We’re happy to discuss other potential projects with an interested student.

Get involved

To learn more about this project, contact Professor Shinichi Nakagawa.   

T: +61 2 9385 9138