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Behavioural Processes

William J McIlvane, Joanne B Kledaras, Christophe J Gerard, Lorin Wilde, David Smelson
A few noteworthy exceptions notwithstanding, quantitative analyses of relational learning are most often simple descriptive measures of study outcomes. For example, studies of stimulus equivalence have made much progress using measures such as percentage consistent with equivalence relations, discrimination ratio, and response latency. Although procedures may have ad hoc variations, they remain fairly similar across studies. Comparison studies of training variables that lead to different outcomes are few. Yet to be developed are tools designed specifically for dynamic and/or parametric analyses of relational learning processes...
March 12, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Carrie Bailey, Jennifer R Peterson, Aaron Schnegelsiepen, Sarah L Stuebing, Kimberly Kirkpatrick
Impulsive choice involves choosing a smaller-sooner (SS) reward over a larger-later (LL) reward. Due to the importance of timing processes in impulsive choice, time-based interventions have been developed to decrease impulsive choice. The present set of experiments assessed the durability and generalizability of time-based interventions. Experiment 1 assessed fixed interval (FI) or variable interval (VI) intervention efficacy over 9 months. The FI intervention decreased impulsive choice, and this effect persisted over time, but the VI intervention effects were only apparent when tested immediately after the intervention...
March 12, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Lisa C Hiura, Lavinia Tan, Timothy D Hackenberg
The present research measured social reinforcement in rats, using a social-release procedure in which lever presses permitted 10-s access to a familiar social partner. The work requirements for reinforcement increased systematically according to progressive-ratio (PR) schedules. Social and food reinforcement value were compared across blocks of sessions (Experiment 1) and concurrently within the same sessions (Experiment 2). To assess motivational effects, response and reinforcer rates for both reinforcer types were studied under food restriction, social restriction, and combined food and social restriction...
March 10, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Patrizia Piotti, Liam Paul Satchell, Tom Steven Lockhart
Trait impulsivity is an increasingly relevant topic for human and non-human animal personality research. There are similarities in dog and human manifestations of trait impulsivity at the behavioural, genetic, and neurobiological level. We investigated a well-validated measure of dog impulsivity and responsivity (the Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale, DIAS) and a neuropsychological theory of human trait approach and avoidance (the Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory of personality, RST). Owners reported their dogs' dispositional behaviour on the DIAS, an RST scale modified to describe dogs' behaviour, and a list of common dog behaviour problems...
March 9, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Nobuya Sato, Chihiro Fujishita, Atsuhito Yamagishi
To examine the flexibility of rats' spatial behaviour, we required rats to navigate to one of four boxes on the corners of a lattice maze. The maze consisted of five vertical and five horizontal corridors on a plane parallel to the ground and allowed us to design diverse routes. One box was set as goal and the other three were set as starting points. Both the time to arrive at the goal and the number of errors at the intersections on the route decreased, suggesting that the rats learned the route. As the goal boxes were successively changed, the decrease in the errors and the time to reach the goal became faster...
March 8, 2018: Behavioural Processes
D A Blank
Tail signals and rump patch exposure in ungulates are well-documented phenomena, but there is no consensus about their functional significance, which has remained disputed. In addition, these patterns have been analyzed for only a limited number of ungulate species; and until now did not include goitered gazelles. This paper, then, will discuss these aspects of goitered gazelle antipredator behavior. I chose human harassments as predator threats and found that tail-flagging, stotting and presentation of the white rump-patch were displayed mostly by adult females, less often by adult males, and least in sub-adults...
March 8, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Rebecca M Rayburn-Reeves, Mary K Moore, Thea E Smith, Daniel A Crafton, Kelly L Marden
The midsession reversal task has been used to investigate behavioral flexibility and cue use in non-human animals, with results indicating differences in the degree of control by environmental cues across species. For example, time-based control has been found in rats only when tested in a T-maze apparatus and under specific conditions in which position and orientation (i.e., egocentric) cues during the intertrial interval could not be used to aid performance. Other research in an operant setting has shown that rats often produce minimal errors around the reversal location, demonstrating response patterns similar to patterns exhibited by humans and primates in this task...
March 7, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Amanda K Doughty, Brian J Horton, Nguyen T D Huyen, C Rowdy Ballagh, Ross Corkrey, Geoff N Hinch
We investigated how individuality and lameness altered social organisation by assessing food-directed movement patterns in sheep. One hundred and ninety-six mature Merino ewes were walked in 16 different runs around a 1.1 km track following a food source. Flock position and lameness, were measured and temperament was assessed using an Isolation Box Test. The mean value for the correlations of position between a run and the run preceding it was r = 0.55 ± SEM 0.03. All correlations between runs were positive (r = 0...
March 7, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Zita Groó, Péter Szenczi, Oxána Bánszegi, Zsófia Nagy, Vilmos Altbäcker
Huddling with other individuals is an effective way, to reduce heat loss. This cooperative behavior requires that the individuals tolerate each other's presence at least for a certain time or under certain circumstances. In our study, we investigated the effects of ambient temperature and familiarity on the huddling behavior of two closely related mouse species, the mound-building mouse (Mus spicilegus) and the house mouse (Mus musculus musculus). While their geographic distribution overlaps, their social systems differ in many aspects...
March 7, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Stefano Ghirlanda
Building on the work of Ralph Miller and coworkers (Miller and Matzel, 1988; Denniston et al., 2001; Stout and Miller, 2007), I propose a new formalization of the comparator hypothesis that seeks to overcome some shortcomings of existing formalizations. The new model, dubbed ecco for "Error-Correcting COmparisons," retains the comparator process and the learning of CS-CS associations based on contingency. ecco assumes, however, that learning of CS-US associations is driven by total error correction, as first introduced by Rescorla and Wagner (1972)...
March 7, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Paul E Rose, Darren P Croft
An appropriate social environment for species held in captivity is key for ensuring both good welfare and reproductive performance. Species with a complex social structure may suffer if their social requirements are not taken into consideration as part of management and husbandry strategies. Here we aim to understand the drivers of social structure, and the link between social structure and reproduction in a flock of 281 greater flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus) at WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre. Proximity-based associations between birds were measured three and four times per day (depending upon season and husbandry) from 2012 to 2016...
March 6, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Edmund R Hunt, Christopher Kendall, Emma Stanbury, Ana B Sendova-Franks, Nigel R Franks
Visual landmarks are important navigational aids to many animals, and when more than one is available their juxtaposition can convey valuable new information to a navigator about progress toward a goal, depending on the landmarks' comparative distinctiveness. We investigated the effect of presenting rock ant colonies (Temnothorax albipennis) with identical horizontal landmarks either side of their route, versus one horizontal landmark paired with a sloping landmark, as they navigated to a new nest site. Our findings suggest that ants can obtain more navigational information from a combination of dissimilar landmarks: the average tortuosity of the route taken between old and new nests was significantly lower when a horizontal landmark was paired with a monotonically downward sloping landmark (the paths were more direct)...
March 6, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Lisabertha L Clark, Rachael C Shaw
Hoarding or caching behaviour is a widely-used paradigm for examining a range of cognitive processes in birds, such as social cognition and spatial memory. However, much is still unknown about how caching develops in young birds, especially in the wild. Studying the ontogeny of caching in the wild will help researchers to identify the mechanisms that shape this advantageous foraging strategy. We examined the ontogeny of food caching behaviour in a wild New Zealand passerine, the North Island robin (Petroica longipes)...
March 6, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Sandra Malewski, E Pascal Malkemper, František Sedláček, Radim Šumbera, Kai R Caspa, Hynek Burda, Sabine Begall
Magnetosensitivity is widespread among animals with rodents being the most intensively studied mammalian group. The available behavioural assays for magnetoreception are time-consuming, which impedes screens for treatment effects that could characterize the enigmatic magnetoreceptors. Here, we present a fast and simple approach to test if an animal respond to magnetic stimuli: the magnetic novel object assay (MNOA). The MNOA focuses on investigating an animal's spontaneous exploration behaviour in the presence of a strong bar magnet compared to a demagnetised control...
March 1, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Kevin T Justus, Tamra C Mendelson
The higher energetic cost related to female gamete investment is classically considered the driving force behind sexual selection. This asymmetric cost of reproduction is thought to cause female preference for elaborate male ornamentation. Subsequent co-evolution of female preferences and male ornaments is thought then to lead to a greater preference for conspecific mates in females as compared to males. Thus, female choice is classically assumed to contribute more than male choice to behavioral isolation between sexually dimorphic species...
March 1, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Alex Morris, Michael Green, Hayley Martin, Katie Crossland, William T Swaney, Sally M Williamson, Robbie Rae
The ability of parasites to manipulate the behaviour of their hosts has evolved multiple times, and has a clear fitness benefit to the parasite in terms of facilitating growth, reproduction and transfer to suitable hosts. The mechanisms by which these behavioural changes are induced are poorly understood, but in many cases parasite manipulation of serotonergic signalling in the host brain is implicated. Here we report that Phasmarhabditis hermaphrodita, a parasite of terrestrial gastropod molluscs, can alter the behaviour of slugs...
February 27, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Rachel A Richardson, Paige N Michener, Todd R Schachtman
When a target conditioned stimulus (CS A) is paired with an unconditioned stimulus in the presence of a second, conditioned stimulus (CS B) during compound conditioning trials, the associative strength of CS B can influence the magnitude of the conditioned response (CR) to CS A. For example, extinction of the competing, nontarget CS B can influence the CR to CS A. An enhancement of the CR to the target CS A due to extinction of the nontarget CS B after compound conditioning is sometimes referred to as "recovery from overshadowing" - a type of retrospective revaluation...
February 27, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Stephanie Gomes-Ng, Jason Landon, Douglas Elliffe, Joshua Bensemann, Sarah Cowie
In concurrent schedules with a changeover delay (COD), choice often strongly favours the just-reinforced alternative immediately after a reinforcer delivery. These 'preference pulses' may be caused by a change in reinforcer availability created by the COD, and/or because the COD decreases the overall probability of switching. We investigated which explanation better accounts for preference pulses by arranging concurrent schedules that allowed us to separate the COD's effects on reinforcer availability from its effects on the probability of switching...
February 27, 2018: Behavioural Processes
L R Rodriguez, K L Hendrickson, E B Rasmussen
Probability discounting (PD) measures risky choice patterns between smaller, more certain vs. larger, less certain outcomes. PD is associated with obesity as well as higher intake of foods high in fat and sugar. We developed and validated a brief PD task specifically for food-related choices-the Probabilistic Food Choice Questionnaire (PFCQ). We also validated a brief, existing PD monetary measure, the Probabilistic Monetary Choice Questionnaire (PMCQ) by comparing it to a titrating PD task. Participants (N = 110) were randomly assigned to either a food or money condition...
February 27, 2018: Behavioural Processes
Tongliang Wang, Lele Jia, Xiaofei Zhai, Jianguo Cui, Jichao Wang
Mating patterns exhibit considerable intra- and interspecific variation. Sexual selection can lead to the occurrence of random and assortative mating in different populations of the same species. Thus, understanding variation in mating decisions is crucial to understanding variation in the direction of sexual selection. We investigated natural mating patterns in Black-spectacled toads (Duttaphrynus melanostictus), an explosive-breeding species that breeds throughout the year. We captured amplectant pairs (137) and non-amplectant males (212) during breeding seasons from November 2016 to April 2017 in tropical-island population of southern China...
February 23, 2018: Behavioural Processes
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