The Four Cs of Modern (Neuro) ethology and Neuroethics: Cognition, Complexity, Conation, and Culture

Most of the modern arguments for or against the use of animals in research have a tendency to focus on animals’ cognitive and metacognitive abilities or seem to make consciousness and self-awareness prerequisites for an argument for the ethical treatment of animals. In the age of animal well-being (as opposed to their mere welfare), a […]

Food-web structure and ecosystem services: insights from the Serengeti

The central organizing theme of this paper is to discuss the dynamics of the Serengeti grassland ecosystem from the perspective of recent developments in food-web theory. The seasonal rainfall patterns that characterize the East African climate create an annually oscillating, large-scale, spatial mosaic of feeding opportunities for the larger ungulates in the Serengeti; this in […]

Serial reversal learning and the evolution of behavioral flexibility in three species of North American corvids (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus, Nucifraga columbiana, Aphelocoma californica)

In serial reversal learning, subjects learn to respond differentially to 2 stimuli. When the task is fully acquired, reward contingencies are reversed, requiring the subject to relearn the altered associations. This alternation of acquisition and reversal can be repeated many times, and the ability of a species to adapt to this regimen has been considered […]

Control and complexity in novel object enrichment

We discuss the properties of controllability and complexity in novel object enrichment, their definition and present a critique of previous work related to them. We address the relationship between control and complexity, the evolutionary basis of their attractiveness and suggest that the acquisition of control may be a more enriching process than its execution. We […]

The effects of enrichment novelty versus complexity in cages of group-housed rats (Rattus norvegicus)

Although experimental work on environmental enrichment has answered many important questions, it is not yet known whether beneficial effects of enrichment are more strongly influenced by regular provision of novel objects, or by the diversity of objects present at any one time. In a five-replicate study, 80 newly weaned male Wistar rats were housed in […]