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Behavioural Processes

Christopher R Madan, Elliot A Ludvig, Marcia L Spetch
Both humans and non-human animals regularly encounter decisions involving risk and uncertainty. This paper provides an overview of our research program examining risky decisions in which the odds and outcomes are learned through experience in people and pigeons. We summarize the results of 15 experiments across 8 publications, with a total of over 1300 participants. We highlight 4 key findings from this research: (1) people choose differently when the odds and outcomes are learned through experience compared to when they are described; (2) when making decisions from experience, people overweight values at or near the ends of the distribution of experienced values (i...
January 3, 2019: Behavioural Processes
Neil McMillan, Marcia L Spetch
In a two-stimulus visual discrimination choice task with a reversal in reward contingencies midway through each session, pigeons produce a surprising number of anticipatory errors (i.e., responding to the second-correct stimulus before the reversal) based on failure to inhibit timing-based intrusion errors; limited prior research has suggested humans' performance is qualitatively different. Here we illustrate a partial replication of previous findings in humans, but suggest based on our results that humans process these tasks in a manner similar to pigeons...
January 3, 2019: Behavioural Processes
Alexandra D Twyman
Navigation is an important skill for mobile creatures. One important aspect of navigation is the ability to regain your position (reorient) if you become lost. Over the last 20 years, Marcia Spetch has added substantially to our understanding of reorientation and has advanced the fields of both comparative cognition and spatial cognition. The aim of the paper is to review her contributions, and in particular focus on a) the complexity of geometric cues that can guide reorientation; b) how short- and long-term experiences influence the relative use of geometric and feature cues; c) comparisons of reorientation behavior across species; d) discuss her contributions to theories of reorientation...
January 3, 2019: Behavioural Processes
Eric L G Legge
Dr. Marcia Spetch is a Canadian experimental psychologist who specializes in the study of comparative cognition. Her research over the past four decades has covered many diverse topics, but focused primarily on the comparative study of small-scale spatial cognition, navigation, decision making, and risky choice. Over the course of her career Dr. Spetch has had a profound influence on the study of these topics, and for her work she was named a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science in 2012, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2017...
January 3, 2019: Behavioural Processes
K M Horback, T D Parsons
Societal concerns about animal welfare have triggered the movement of gestating sows from individual stalls to group housing in many countries. Common methods of assessing sow welfare focus on overt physical ailments, and potentially neglect psychological stressors. A judgement bias task may allow researchers to evaluate an animal's subjective mental or affective state to provide a more comprehensive welfare assessment. Thus, group housed sows were trained to a spatial differentiation task to evaluate their ability to be assessed for individual judgement bias...
January 2, 2019: Behavioural Processes
Gretta Ford, Kun Guo, Daniel Mills
There is growing scientific interest in both the ability of dogs to evaluate emotional cues and their response to social cueing, we therefore examined the interaction between these by investigating whether human facial expression impact on dogs' approach preference to conflicting directional gestural signals. During testing, a human demonstrator simultaneously pointed in one direction and faced (looked towards) in another towards one of two food bowls placed on opposite sides of the demonstrator with either a happy, angry or neutral facial expression...
January 2, 2019: Behavioural Processes
Ximena J Nelson, William S Helton, Amber Melrose
The inability to maintain signal detection performance with time on task, or response decrement, has been widely studied. In animals with small brains, the ability to filter out repetitive, irrelevant stimuli may prevent the nervous system from being saturated with information. However, animals must be particular to which stimuli they attend and those to ignore, as mistakes may be costly. We explored the effect of inter-stimulus interval (ISI) between repeated presentations of a visual stimulus on the response decrement of the jumping spider Trite planiceps...
December 31, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Patrick Anselme
Woodlice placed in an unknown experimental enclosure typically run (horizontal exploration) and rear up on the enclosure's walls (vertical exploration). Previous findings with Porcellio scaber indicate that these two behaviors have an opposite temporal distribution and show differential sensitivity to rotation-induced physiological stress. It is argued that the dual-process theory of habituation and sensitization can serve as a basis to account for horizontal and vertical exploratory activities in woodlice...
December 31, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Jay A Stafstrom, Eileen A Hebets
For many animals, finding a mate can be a difficult task. For males, it often involves actively searching for conspecific females, sometimes over great distances. This mate-searching can be aided through chemical or visual signals or cues produced by sexually receptive females. Here, we investigate the roles of olfaction and vision in mate-searching in a strictly nocturnal net-casting spider, Deinopis spinosa. First, we used an olfactometer assay to determine if mature male D. spinosa respond to conspecific airborne cues...
December 15, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Hendrik S van Kampen
At all levels of information processing in the brain, neural and cognitive structures tend towards a state of consistency. When two or more simultaneously active cognitive structures are logically inconsistent, arousal is increased, which activates processes with the expected consequence of increasing consistency and decreasing arousal. Increased arousal is experienced as aversive, while the expected or actual decrease in arousal as a result of increased consistency is experienced as rewarding. Modes of resolution of inconsistency can be divided into purely cognitive solutions, such as changing an attitude or an associated motor plan, and behavioural solutions, such as exploration, aggression, fear, and feeding...
December 15, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Sadahiko Nakajima
Mice show a reluctance to eat unfamiliar food, when they first encounter it. This neophobic reaction is conventionally habituated by repeated trials: the mice gradually increase their consumption of the novel food. The new finding reported here is that the consumption remains low in mice that voluntarily run in activity wheels after the novel food access. This effect implies that running yields Pavlovian conditioned flavor aversion, which suppresses, otherwise increasing, consumption of the novel food. In the present research, the effect was demonstrated with a between-group design by pitting experimental mice receiving cheese-running paired treatment against cheese/running unpaired control mice (Experiment 1)...
December 14, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Yayoi Sekiguchi, Toshimichi Hata
Many studies on humans and animals have shown that the mere presence of another individual or individuals accelerates the motor performance speed of the subject individual. However, it has not been well investigated whether the mere presence of another individual affects the accuracy of motor performance in animals. In this study, we developed a novel task (run-and-pull task) to simultaneously investigate both the speed and accuracy of motor performance in rats and examined the effect of the mere presence of another rat on the task performance of the subject rat...
December 14, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Yvette C Ehlers Smith, David A Ehlers Smith, Tharmalingam Ramesh, Colleen T Downs
Understanding the effects of anthropogenic disturbance on species' behaviour is crucial for conservation planning, considering the extent of habitat loss. We investigated the influence of anthropogenic disturbances including agriculture, urbanisation, protected areas, and the presence of novel predators, on the temporal and spatial behaviour of sympatric forest antelope (Tragelaphus scriptus, Philantomba monticola, Sylvicapra grimmia, and Cephalophus natalensis) in an anthropogenic matrix containing forest fragments in the Indian Ocean Coastal Belt of South Africa...
December 12, 2018: Behavioural Processes
D A Blank
In predator-prey encounters, risk assessment and threat identification are particularly important aspects in the prey's decision in how, when and where to escape. Previous studies devoted to this topic investigated mostly factors influencing risk perception by a prey animal and on its decision when to flee; however, information on the diversity of risk assessment displays is still very limited. Therefore in this paper, I considered various display types of risk assessments and the circumstances under which they were performed...
December 11, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Helen Lambert, Gemma Carder
Applying objective measures to assess the emotional states of animals is an important area of research and essential for improving animal welfare. In this study, we have built upon previous research to test whether ear postures can be used as an indicator of emotional states in dairy cows. By using a positive and negative contrast paradigm, we elicited the emotional states of excitement and frustration in 22 dairy cows. Each cow was first conditioned to expect the delivery of standard feed when a bell was rung...
December 10, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Marine Lehue, Claire Detrain
Nest entrances are key locations where information about environmental opportunities and constraints are shared between foragers and inner-nest workers. However, despite its functional value, we still lack a detailed characterisation of the interface between the nest and the environment. Here, we identified the social interface in the ant Myrmica rubra as being the population of ants that faced the nest entrance and that received significantly more contacts from returning foragers than other nearby ants. We also spatially delineated the entrance area that hosted the social interface, a two-centimetre radius area from the nest openings, which influences the position, orientation, and behaviour of ants...
December 8, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Balieiro Flora, Ferreira Monticelli PatrĂ­cia
The acoustic channel is an efficient long-distance signalling system that may be especially effective for animals moving in the dark in a vast home range. The maned wolf's extended-bark is a long-range vocalization that functions as a mechanism to increase spatial distance among conspecifics as well as to enable pair-mate reunion. Individual variations in this vocalization have been reported, but the possibility that they can be perceived and used by the species has never been tested. In our study, we used ABAB playback experiments to test if captive maned wolves could perceive individual variations...
December 7, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Kathleen D W Church, James W A Grant
Habitat structure may reduce predation risk by providing refuge from predators. However, individual behavioural differences (i.e. aggression, shyness/boldness) may also cause variation in competitive ability or tolerance of predation risk, resulting in differences in habitat preference. We manipulated habitat structure to explore the role of predation risk on foraging success, aggression and habitat use in an ideal free distribution experiment using the convict cichlid (Amatitlania nigrofasciata). Groups of four same-sized fish competed for food in two patches that differed in habitat complexity, with and without exposure to a predator model; all fish were then given a series of individual behavioural tests...
December 6, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Thomas R Zentall, Aaron P Smith, Joshua Beckmann
Timberlake (1993) proposed that much learning research can be better understood in the context of behavior systems theory. Learning theories generally have not considered how procedures may interact with evolutionarily prepared foraging contexts, thereby leading to anomalous conclusions. An example of such a conclusion is the apparent species difference when given a choice between a lower percentage of signaled reinforcement (20%) and higher percentage of unsignaled reinforcement (50%). Pigeons generally show a preference for the suboptimal alternative...
December 6, 2018: Behavioural Processes
David Cox
Behavior that was previously extinguished may reoccur, or resurge, when an alternative response contacts extinction or when reinforcement conditions worsen. Researchers have studied resurgence of human responding in laboratory settings with procedures commonly used with nonhumans. In contrast to nonhuman responding, researchers have failed to observe resurgence of the target response at rates that differ from an inactive control response with verbally competent humans. But this may have been the result of using a single control response...
December 6, 2018: Behavioural Processes
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