Horses’ learning performances are under the influence of several temperamental dimensions

Learning performances are influenced by many factors, not only breed, age and sex, but also temperament. The purpose of this study was to understand how different temperamental dimensions affect the learning performance of horses, Equus caballus. First, we carried out a series of behavioural tests on 36 Welsh ponies aged 5–7 years to measure five […]

Consistency and stability of behavioural fear responses of heifers to different fear-eliciting situations involving humans

This study investigated the consistency and stability of fear responses in housed beef heifers over time using three behavioural tests. The flight (time to join peers and avoidance distance), docility (isolation and handling) and fear (4 phases; responses of isolated heifers in (i), the absence (ii), the presence, of food and responses to a stationary […]

Gentle vs. aversive handling of pregnant ewes: II. Physiology and behavior of the lambs

We compared the effects of aversive and gentle handling in late pregnant ewes on fearfulness, heart rate variability and spatial learning in lambs. Twenty-four Norwegian-Dala ewes were studied. Ewes were subjected to gentle (i.e. soft talking and calm behavior) or aversive handling (i.e. swift movements and shouting) for 10 min twice a day during the last […]

Validation of the Feeding Test as an Index of Fear in Farmed Blue (Alopex lagopus) and Silver Foxes (Vulpes vulpes)

The reliability and validity of the eating behaviour in the presence of man (Feeding test) as an index of fear were assessed in farmed blue (Alopex lagopus) and silver foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Repeatability of the Feeding test was good in both species. No further habituation occurred after the fourth successive test in either species. In […]

Variations in the postnatal maternal environment in mice: Effects on maternal behaviour and behavioural and endocrine responses in the adult offspring

According to the maternal mediation hypothesis, brain and behavioural development in rodents is affected by environment-dependent variations in maternal care. Thus, it has been shown that early handling results in reduced behavioural and neuroendocrine responses to stressors and that these effects are associated with increased maternal care received during infancy. To investigate this further in […]

Individual Characteristics: Weaving Psychological and Ethological Approaches

The chapter begins by outlining the development of the questionnaire for assessing individual characteristics of rhesus monkeys in the Madingley colony. The steps taken in preparing items, obtaining reliability and validity, and condensing items are presented, along with examples of how scores arising from principal component analyses can be put to use. In our own […]

A few days of social separation affects yearling horses’ response to emotional reactivity tests and enhances learning performance

Learning performance is influenced by emotional reactivity, low reactivity being generally beneficial. Previous experiments show that emotional reactivity can be modified after a period of social isolation. We hypothesized that eleven days of isolation would affect yearlings’ emotional reactivity and improve their learning abilities. Twenty-five yearlings were divided into two groups: 12 were continuously isolated […]

Temperament in preweanling horses: Development of reactions to humans and novelty, and startle responses

The purpose of this study was to investigate the development and the stability across situations and over time of three temperament traits in young foals: propensity to react to humans, propensity to react to novelty, and propensity to react to suddenness. In a comparative study, we examined the reactions of animals in three independent groups […]

Behavioural and physiological responses of heifer calves to acute stressors: Long-term consistency and relationship with adult reactivity to milking

The present study investigated the long-term consistency of individual differences in dairy cattles’ responses in tests of behavioural and hypothalamo–pituitary–adrenocortical (HPA) axis reactivity, as well as the relationship between responsiveness in behavioural tests and the reaction to first milking. Two cohorts of heifer calves, Cohorts 1 (N = 25) and 2 (N = 16), respectively, […]

Fear responses to novelty in testing environments are related to day-to-day activity in the home environment in dairy cattle

Behavioural tests for cattle take time to perform and can be stressful for the animals but are currently the only way of assessing behavioural reactions to fear-causing stimuli in a standardised manner. It may be possible to use behavioural data collected remotely in the home pen environment through the use of activity monitors and robotic […]