Does environmental enrichment affect the behaviour of fish commonly used in laboratory work?

Housing conditions can have significant effects on the behaviour and physiology of captive animals. Enriching barren environments, for example by providing structural complexity or companionship, are generally considered beneficial as they can decrease the occurrence of abnormal behaviours and physiology and as such, it is argued that enrichment helps to improve welfare for captive animals […]

The implications of cognitive processes for animal welfare

In general, codes that have been designed to safeguard the welfare of animals emphasize the importance of providing an environment that will ensure good health and a normal physiological and physical state, that is, they emphasize the animals’ physical needs. If mental needs are mentioned, they are always relegated to secondary importance. The argument is […]

Pain experience in hermit crabs?

Pain may be inferred when the responses to a noxious stimulus are not reflexive but are traded off against other motivational requirements, the experience is remembered and the situation is avoided in the future. To investigate whether decapods feel pain we gave hermit crabs, Pagurus bernhardus, small electric shocks within their shells. Only crabs given […]

Gender differences, responsiveness and memory of a potentially painful event in hermit crabs

Nonreflexive responses to a noxious event and prolonged memory are key criteria of a pain experience. In a previous study, hermit crabs, Pagurus bernhardus, that received a small electric shock within their shell often temporarily evacuated the shell and some groomed their abdomen and/or moved away from their vital resource. Most, however, returned to the […]

Positive interactions lead to lasting positive memories in horses, Equus caballus

Social relationships are important in social species. These relationships, based on repeated interactions, define each partner’s expectations during the following encounters. The creation of a relationship implies high social cognitive abilities which require that each partner is able to associate the positive or negative content of an interaction with a specific partner and to recall […]

Cognitive testing of pigs (Sus scrofa) in translational biobehavioral research

Within neuroscience and biobehavioral research, the pig (Sus scrofus) is increasingly being acknowledged as a valuable large animal species. Compared to the rodent brain, the pig brain more closely resembles the human brain in terms of both anatomy and biochemistry, which associates the pig with a higher translational value. Several brain disorders have been fully […]

Effects of environmental enrichment on behavioral responses to novelty, learning, and memory, and the circadian rhythm in cortisol in growing pigs

Previously we showed that pigs reared in an enriched environment had higher baseline salivary cortisol concentrations during the light period than pigs reared under barren conditions. In the present experiment, it was investigated whether these higher baseline salivary cortisol concentrations were a real difference in cortisol concentration or merely represented a phase difference in circadian […]

Spatial learning in a T-maze by the crayfish Orconectes rusticus

The T-maze has commonly been used to investigate the mechanisms underlying spatial learning in vertebrates and has yielded much information about how animals use response and place cues to orient toward a goal. We designed a T-maze to study the spatial learning abilities of crayfish (Orconectes rusticus), using tactile stimuli as a place cue and […]

Memory of visual and topographical features suggests spatial learning in nautilus (Nautilus pompilius L.)

Previous studies demonstrate that soft-bodied (coleoid) cephalopods are adept at learning and remembering features of their environment, but little is known about their primitive relative, nautilus. Nautilus makes nightly migrations from deep to shallow water along coral reef slopes, covering large areas of varied substrate. Memory of its surroundings may be advantageous, but the nautilus […]

Sex differences and reproductive hormone influences on human odor perception

The question of whether men and women differ in their ability to smell has been the topic of scientific investigation for over a hundred years. Although conflicting findings abound, most studies suggest that, for at least some odorants, women outperform men on tests of odor detection, identification, discrimination, and memory. Most functional imaging and electrophysiological […]