General Intelligence as a Domain-Specific Adaptation

General intelligence (g) poses a problem for evolutionary psychology’s modular view of the human brain. The author advances a new evolutionary psychological theory of the evolution of general intelligence and argues that general intelligence evolved as a domain-specific adaptation for the originally limited sphere of evolutionary novelty in the ancestral environment. It has accidentally become […]

Applied primatology in the modern zoo

Abstract 10.1002/zoo.1430080511.abs The modern zoo environment is quite different from its counterpart 50 years ago. Hard zoo environments are rapidly being replaced by soft, naturalistic exhibitry. Scientists have become interested in the behavioral effects of captivity, and the welfare of captive animals has become an important issue for zoo biologists. Recent studies have indentified many […]

Studies of the psychology and behaviour of captive animals in zoos and circuses

Correlates between ear postures and emotional reactivity in a wild type mouse species

Facial expressions have been extensively used to assess emotions in humans and thus could be extended to other species that also display facial movements. In mice both painful and fearful situations have been associated with particular shifts in facial expressions. Like other species, mice frequently show a great inter-individual variability when exposed to emotional situations, […]

The physiological consequences of crib-biting in horses in response to an ACTH challenge test

Stereotypies are repetitive and relatively invariant patterns of behavior, which are observed in a wide range of species in captivity. Stereotypic behavior occurs when environmental demands produce a physiological response that, if sustained for an extended period, exceeds the natural physiological regulatory capacity of the organism, particularly in situations that include unpredictability and uncontrollability. One […]


In a sequence of studies, we evaluated 2 behavioral interventions designed to decrease undesirable in-kennel behaviors of shelter dogs. In Experiment 1, we compared the efficacy of a simple pairing of person with food (response-independent treat delivery) to an increasing interval differential-reinforcement-of-other-behavior (DRO) procedure and a control condition. Both procedures decreased the median percentage of […]

Investigating attentional processes in depressive-like domestic horses (Equus caballus)

Some captive/domestic animals respond to confinement by becoming inactive and unresponsive to external stimuli. Human inactivity is one of the behavioural markers of clinical depression, a mental disorder diagnosed by the co-occurrence of symptoms including deficit in selective attention. Some riding horses display ‘withdrawn’ states of inactivity and low responsiveness to stimuli that resemble the […]

Emotion Evaluation and Response Slowing in a Non-Human Primate: New Directions for Cognitive Bias Measures of Animal Emotion?

The cognitive bias model of animal welfare assessment is informed by studies with humans demonstrating that the interaction between emotion and cognition can be detected using laboratory tasks. A limitation of cognitive bias tasks is the amount of training required by animals prior to testing. A potential solution is to use biologically relevant stimuli that […]

You know what? I’m happy. Cognitive bias is not related to personality but is induced by pair-housing in canaries (Serinus canaria)

Recent studies suggest that cognitive bias could constitute a novel and valid measure of animal welfare. Although interest for a link between personality and cognition is growing, no study to date investigated whether a cognitive bias might be related to the personality of the individuals. We trained 43 domestic canaries (Serinus canaria) to discriminate between […]

CATOS (Computer Aided Training/Observing System): Automating animal observation and training

In animal behavioral biology, an automated observing/training system may be useful for several reasons: (a) continuous observation of animals for documentation of specific, irregular events, (b) long-term intensive training of animals in preparation for behavioral experiments, (c) elimination of potential cues and biases induced by humans during training and testing. Here, we describe an open-source-based […]