Autonomic reactions indicating positive affect during acoustic reward learning in domestic pigs

Cognitive processes, such as stimulus appraisal, are important in generating emotional states and successful coping with cognitive challenges is thought to induce positive emotions. We investigated learning behaviour and autonomic reactions, including heart rate (HR) and its variability (standard deviation (SDNN) and root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD) of a time series of interbeat […]

Pigs learn what a mirror image represents and use it to obtain information

Mirror usage has been taken to indicate some degree of awareness in animals. Can pigs, Sus scrofa, obtain information from a mirror? When put in a pen with a mirror in it, young pigs made movements while apparently looking at their image. After 5 h spent with a mirror, the pigs were shown a familiar food […]

The effect of perceived environmental background on qualitative assessments of pig behaviour

Qualitative behaviour assessment is an integrative methodology that characterizes behaviour as a dynamic, expressive body language (e.g. as anxious or content). Such assessments are sensitive to environmental context, which makes them informative but also vulnerable to observers’ biased views of that context. This study investigated whether and how perceived environmental background affects observers’ qualitative assessments […]

Learning how to eat like a pig: effectiveness of mechanisms for vertical social learning in piglets

We investigated which mechanisms of learning about foraging from the mother are important in piglets, Sus scrofa. The first experiment compared observation of the sow versus participation during eating. Piglet pairs could observe (observation piglets) or participate (participation piglets) with the sow while she was eating a flavoured feed in a test room for 10 min/day […]

Olfactorysensitivity to the pheromone, androstenone, is sexuallydimorphic in the pig

Sexuallydimorphicpheromone pathways have been used successfully to study insect olfactory coding. As one of the few mammalian species with an identified sex pheromone, the domestic pig (Sus scrofa) may be an ideal vertebrate species in which to examine sex differences in olfactory processing of a specific stimulus. In this experiment, androstenone and control odor detection […]

Effects of cognitive enrichment on behavioural and physiological reactions of pigs

Abstract Cognitive enrichment, a special form of environmental enrichment, addresses the cognitive abilities of animals in captivity. Through cognitive interaction with the environment, the animals regain a certain control over their environment, and essential resources, such as food or water, act as a reward for successful coping. It is assumed that this process has important […]

Age over experience: Consistency of aggression and mounting behaviour in male and female pigs

Excessive aggression between pigs at mixing is a welfare and production issue resulting in stress, injuries and economic losses. If it can be demonstrated that aggression is a consistent behaviour trait, it might provide a means to reduce these losses. To test for consistency of aggressiveness, 163 male and female damline pigs, mixed at weaning […]