Monitoring the social behavior of a bachelor mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) dyad participating in touchscreen-mediated cognitive testing

Cognitive testing of Primates in zoos is becoming increasingly common. Cognition experiments are generally thought to be beneficial as they provide participants with an opportunity to engage in species-specific cognitive functioning, perhaps more so than with traditional forms of environmental enrichment. However, testing may increase competition and aggression between conspecifics if it has monopolizable features […]

Using an Ambiguous Cue Paradigm to Assess Cognitive Bias in Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) during a Forage Manipulation

In nonhumans, ‘optimism’ is often defined as responding to an ambiguous item in the same manner as to items previously associated with reward (or lack of punishment), and “pessimism” is defined as responding to an ambiguous item in the same manner as to items previously associated with a lack of reward (or with punishment). We […]

Increasing farm animal welfare by positively motivated instrumental behaviour

Rewarded instrumental learning leads to the association of an environmental cue with the positive result of the own activity. Instrumental behaviour includes motivation for a specific reward, anticipation of its successful acquisition and positive appraisal. In this paper, we present theoretical and empirical evidence for the potential of an advanced type of cognitive enrichment, which […]

On the use of an automated learning device by group-housed dwarf goats: Do goats seek cognitive challenges?

It has been postulated that implementing appropriate cognitive challenges in the housing of captive animals allows them to use their cognitive skills, and to learn to control certain aspects of their environment. This cognitive activity is thought to be a major source of positive emotions and a prerequisite for psychological well-being of the animal. We […]

Cognitive experience and its effect on age-dependent cognitive decline in beagle dogs

Test-sophisticated beagle dogs show marked age sensitivity in a size discrimination learning task, with old and senior dogs performing significantly more poorly than young dogs. By contrast, age differences in learning were not seen in dogs naïve with respect to neuropsychological test experience. These results indicate that old animals benefit less from prior cognitive experience […]

Cognitive enrichment affects behavioural reactivity in domestic pigs

Cognitive challenges presented in connexion with the foraging behaviour of animals may have the potential to enrich the housing environment of captive animals, and thus can have beneficial effects on their behaviour and welfare. Therefore, we have developed a food-rewarded learning system based on a combination of classical and operant conditioning for groups of domestic […]

Effects of cognitive enrichment on behavioural and physiological reactions of pigs

Abstract Cognitive enrichment, a special form of environmental enrichment, addresses the cognitive abilities of animals in captivity. Through cognitive interaction with the environment, the animals regain a certain control over their environment, and essential resources, such as food or water, act as a reward for successful coping. It is assumed that this process has important […]

Impact of structural and cognitive enrichment on the learning performance, behavior and physiology of dwarf goats (Capra aegagrus hircus)

Intensive husbandry usually offers only limited opportunities for animals to perform their characteristic species–specific behavior and can lead to boredom, stress or frustration. The positive impact of structural forms of environmental enrichment on animal welfare is well investigated because it is relatively low-cost and quickly performed. In contrast, approaches that integrated cognitive enrichment into the […]

Abnormal behaviour with a focus on stereotypies – indicators of suffering and impaired welfare?

Abnormal behaviour is a potential indicator of pain, suffering and injury in captive animals. Especially stereotypies, i.e. repetitive invariant behavioural patterns without obvious function or goal, can be observed as a consequence of inadequate housing conditions. Hence, they are often considered indicators of impaired welfare. In context of the ongoing scientific debate on captive animal […]