[MARMAM] New papers on cognitive bias, anticipatory behaviour and Human-Animal Interactions in captive dolphins

Isabella izziclegg at hotmail.co.uk
Mon Feb 12 14:03:19 PST 2018


Dear Colleagues,


My co-authors and I are very pleased to be able to share with you two new publications: one showing that dolphins positively anticipated non-food interactions with their caretakers, and the other reporting a link found between dolphins' cognitive bias and anticipatory behaviour, in a first for any species. Both have implications for the way that dolphin species are managed in captivity.



Clegg, I. L., Rödel, H. G., Boivin, X., & Delfour, F. (2018). Looking forward to interacting with their caretakers: dolphins’ anticipatory behaviour indicates motivation to participate in specific events. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2018.01.015


Clegg, I. L., & Delfour, F. (2018). Cognitive judgement bias is associated with frequency of anticipatory behavior in bottlenose dolphins. Zoo Biology.
DOI: 10.1002/zoo.21400


The details and abstracts of the papers can be found below. Please feel free to request copies directly by emailing: izziclegg at hotmail.co.uk

Best wishes,

Isabella Clegg



Dr. Isabella Clegg
Animal Welfare Consulting
www.animalwelfareconsulting.com
Twitter: @izziclegg
+44 7971 101 244




Clegg, I. L., Rödel, H. G., Boivin, X., & Delfour, F. (2018). Looking forward to interacting with their caretakers: dolphins’ anticipatory behaviour indicates motivation to participate in specific events. Applied Animal Behaviour Science.
http://www.appliedanimalbehaviour.com/article/S0168-1591(18)30035-2/fulltext

Abstract
Anticipatory behaviour describes the actions taken to prepare for an upcoming event. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in captivity are known to display anticipatory behaviours before feeding sessions, but it is unknown whether they would anticipate non-alimentary events. Furthermore, there is no published information available for any species on whether the level of anticipatory behaviour is predictive of an animal’s actual participation in the following event or reward: answering this question would bring us closer to understanding this behaviour and its related affective states. In this study, we used sound cues to condition dolphins to the arrival of toys in their pool or a positive Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) with a familiar trainer, and measured their anticipatory behaviour before each event. The protocol was validated since the dolphins performed significantly more anticipatory behaviour before the toys and HAI contexts than a control situation, by means of increased frequencies of surface looking and spy hopping. Furthermore, we found that dolphins showed more anticipatory behaviour before the HAI than the toys context (Linear Mixed Model with 1000 permutations, all P < 0.001). In the second part of the investigation, higher anticipatory behaviour before toy provision, HAIs, and feeding sessions was significantly correlated to higher levels of participation in the event itself (measured by time spent with humans/toys, and number of times dolphins left during feeding sessions; LMM with 1000 permutations, respectively: β = 0.216 ± 0.100 SE, P = 0.039; β = 0.274 ± 0.097 SE, P = 0.008; β = −0.169 ± 0.080 SE, P = 0.045). Our results suggest that toys and HAIs were perceived as rewarding events, and we propose that non-food human interactions play an important role in these animals’ lives. We also provide some of the first empirical evidence that anticipatory behaviour is correlated to the level of participation in the following event, supporting anticipatory behaviour as a measure of motivation, and hope that this stimulates further work regarding the use of this behaviour to assess and improve animal welfare.




Clegg, I. L. K., & Delfour, F. (2018). Cognitive judgement bias is associated with frequency of anticipatory behavior in bottlenose dolphins. Zoo biology.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/zoo.21400/full

Abstract
Many animals display a suite of increased vigilance and/or activity responses in relation to upcoming events, termed “anticipatory behavior.” Anticipatory behavior toward positive events has been suggested as a cross-species measure of affective state as it likely reflects the balance of the reward-sensitivity system: various studies suggest that animals in poorer welfare situations show higher or excessive levels of anticipation for positive events. Another tool for evaluating animals' affective state is cognitive bias testing, and although it has been attempted, a link has not yet been made between cognitive bias and anticipatory behavior levels. Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in captivity increase the performance of behaviors such as surface-looking and spy-hopping in anticipation of training sessions during which food is provided. In this study we measured anticipatory behavior frequency in bottlenose dolphins prior to positive reinforcement training sessions, and assessed whether frequency of anticipatory behavior correlated with their performance on cognitive bias tasks. We found that higher frequencies of anticipatory behavior for training sessions was significantly associated with more pessimistic judgements in cognitive bias tests, supporting previous findings linking higher reward sensitivity with negative affective states. Anticipatory behavior is an easily measured activity and could represent a welfare indicator in dolphins as well as other animals in captive environments.

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