Frustration and perseveration in stereotypic captive animals: Is a taste of enrichment worse than none at all?

Stereotypic behaviours are common in animals in impoverished housing, arising from two complementary processes: (1) thwarted attempts to perform motivated behaviours; (2) forebrain dysfunction impeding normal behavioural inhibition. When enriched animals are moved to impoverished housing, they are sometimes protected against developing stereotypic behaviour, but in other cases become even more stereotypic than animals housed […]

Training methods and owner-dog interactions: Links with dog behaviour and learning ability

The methods by which owners train their pet dogs range widely, with some exclusively using rewards, and others using a combination, or only punishment-based methods. This paper examines links between the way in which owners reported to have trained their dogs and observations of the dogs’ subsequent behaviour. It also explores associations between behaviour of […]

Effects of attention and rewarded activity on immune parameters and wound healing in pigs

Challenging animals with a demanding situation they are able to cope with and where they are rewarded may be a source of positive emotions and possibly of increased welfare. In order to test if this results in changes of immunological parameters and wound healing, 56 pigs (7-20 weeks of age), housed in groups of 8 animals each, […]

Socially learned preferences for differentially rewarded tokens in the brown capuchin monkey (Cebus apella)

Social learning is assumed to underlie traditions, yet evidence indicating social learning in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella), which exhibit traditions, is sparse. The authors tested capuchins for their ability to learn the value of novel tokens using a previously familiar token-exchange economy. Capuchins change their preferences in favor of a token worth a high-value food […]

Self-control and tool use in tufted capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella)

Self-control is defined as forgoing immediate gratification to obtain a greater reward. Tool use may relate to self-control because both behaviors may require foresight and deliberate control over one’s actions. The authors assessed 20 capuchin monkeys ( Cebus apella) for the ability to delay gratification in a tool task. Subjects were given rod-shaped food items […]

From operant learning to cognitive enrichment in farm animal housing: bases and applicability

This study has its basis in recent findings by our own and other laboratories and proposes a type of rewarded operant learning that seeks the detection of discriminatory cues as a cognitive enrichment in intensive husbandry systems. This type of cognitive enrichment has the ability to activate the intrinsically-rewarding mesolimbic brain axis when an animal […]

Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) and Orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) Encode Relevant Problem Features in a Tool-Using Task

Two important elements in problem solving are the abilities to encode relevant task features and to combine multiple actions to achieve the goal. The authors investigated these 2 elements in a task in which gorillas (Gorilla gorilla) and orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus) had to use a tool to retrieve an out-of-reach reward. Subjects were able to […]

Tools to measure and improve animal welfare: reward-related behaviour

There is an increasing requirement for tools to assess and improve animal welfare in an objective and scientifically based manner. In our research a concept of welfare is applied which states that welfare is determined by the balance between positive and negative experiences. This concept implies that an interaction exists between stress systems and reward […]

The Use of a Running Wheel to Measure Activity in Rodents: Relationship to Energy Balance, General Activity, and Reward

Running wheels are commonly employed to measure rodent physical activity in a variety of contexts, including studies of energy balance and obesity. There is no consensus on the nature of wheel-running activity or its underlying causes, however. Here, we will begin by systematically reviewing how running wheel availability affects physical activity and other aspects of […]

Differences in Titi Monkey (Callicebus cupreus) Social Bonds Affect Arousal, Affiliation, and Response to Reward

Titi monkeys (Callicebus cupreus) are a monogamous, New World primate. Adult pair-mates form a bidirectional social bond and offspring form a selective unidirectional bond to their father. Some of the neurobiology involved in social bonds and maternal behavior is similar to the neural circuitry involved in nonsocial reward. Due to these overlapping mechanisms, social states […]