Threat detection: Behavioral practices in animals and humans

In contrast to a perceptible threat that releases freezing, fleeing and fighting, abstract potential threat elicits anxiety and vigilance. The prevalent view is that the larger the animal groups the lower the individual vigilance. Vigilance is a reflection of anxiety, and here we show that anxiety is contagious in grouped social animals. In humans, anxiety […]

Spatial learning and memory differs between single and cohabitated guinea pigs

In socially-living animals, social enrichment enhances spatial learning and memory while separation from conspecifics can severely impair these abilities. In the present work, guinea pigs were kept in isolation or cohabitated in heterosexual pairs and then subjected to a labyrinth task. Latency-time to bait, error-rate, amount of movement and pre- and post-experimental cortisol (CORT) were […]

Selective disturbance of pain sensitivity after social isolation

The effects of social isolation or NMDA-receptor antagonists on pain sensitivity have repeatedly been described. However, the mechanisms underlying the alterations of pain perception in these models still remain a matter of debate. Thus, we aimed to determine the long-lasting effects of subchronic ketamine treatment and social isolation on the C- and Aδ-fiber-mediated nociception. Wistar […]

Gender-specific effects of prenatal stress on emotional reactivity and stress physiology of goat kids

The aims of this study were to investigate the effects of maternal stress during pregnancy on the emotional reactivity, the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, and the sympatho-adrenomedullary (SAM) system of goat offspring according to their gender, and to investigate the role of maternal cortisol in prenatal stress effects. Goats were exposed to ten transports in isolation […]

Housing and Welfare in Laboratory Rats: Welfare Implications of Isolation and Social Contact Among Caged Males

Male laboratory rats (Rattus norvegicus; Wistar, Alderley Park) were housed as singletons or groups of three in units of two joined, but divided cages. Units were divided by different types of barrier that allowed different degrees of social contact across the barrier. Singletons were established either with another singleton as a neighbour on the other […]

Housing and Welfare in Laboratory Rats: The Welfare Implications of Social Isolation and Social Contact Among Females

Female laboratory rats (Rattus norvegicus: Wistar, Alderley Park) were housed as singletons or groups of three in units of two cages. Units were divided by different types of barrier which allowed varying degrees of social contact across the barrier. Singletons were established either with another singleton on the other side of the barrier or with […]

The effects of mirrors on the welfare of caged rabbits

Mirrors can enrich the environment of some social animals kept in isolation. In this study, the effect of mirrors on the behaviour of isolated, or partially isolated, caged rabbits was tested. In a changeover experiment, four treatments were investigated: isolated without mirrors; partially isolated (with a conspecific housed behind a partition) without mirrors; isolated with […]

The effects of individual housing on mice and rats: a review

Isolating an animal refers to the situation where the animal is physically fully demarcated from conspecifics without physical, visual, olfactory and auditory contact. Animals housed in separate cages in the same room are, although deprived of physical and visual contact, still in olfactory and auditory contact, and thus not totally isolated. During the fifties and […]

Cortisol response of restricted suckling or artificially milk-feeding to a short-term emotional stressor in dairy calves and their dams

The present study examines the plasma cortisol reaction of suckling and non-suckling calves and their dams to short-term emotional stressors. Twenty six cow-calf pairs were randomly allocated into one of two treatments: restricted suckling (R) or artificially milk-fed (A). On the day of weaning, blood samples were taken to determine the basal cortisol level in […]

Effects of isolation in adulthood on frustration and anxiety

In consummatory successive negative contrast (cSNC), when rats receive 32% of sweetened water and are unexpectedly exposed to 4% of the same solution, they consume less than those who received 4% regularly. In consummatory extinction (cE), rats receiving a 32% or 4% sugar solution stop lapping when presented with an empty tube. In both cases, […]