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Full-Text Articles in Life Sciences

Looking On The Bright Side Of Livestock Emotions—The Potential Of Their Transmission To Promote Positive Welfare, Luigi Baciadonna, Sandra Duepjan, Elodie Briefer, Monica Padilla De La Torre, Christian Nawroth Sep 2018

Looking On The Bright Side Of Livestock Emotions—The Potential Of Their Transmission To Promote Positive Welfare, Luigi Baciadonna, Sandra Duepjan, Elodie Briefer, Monica Padilla De La Torre, Christian Nawroth

Emotion

Emotions can be defined as an individual’s affective reaction to an external and/or internal event that, in turn, generates a simultaneous cascade of behavioral, physiological, and cognitive changes. Those changes that can be perceived by conspecifics have the potential to also affect other’s emotional states, a process labeled as “emotional contagion.” Especially in the case of gregarious species, such as livestock, emotional contagion can have an impact on the whole group by, for instance, improving group coordination and strengthening social bonds. We noticed that the current trend of research on emotions in livestock, i.e., investigating affective ...


Human-Directed Behaviour In Goats Is Not Affected By Short-Term Positive Handling, Jan Langbein, Annika Krause, Christian Nawroth Sep 2018

Human-Directed Behaviour In Goats Is Not Affected By Short-Term Positive Handling, Jan Langbein, Annika Krause, Christian Nawroth

Social Cognition

In addition to domestication, interactions with humans or task-specific training during ontogeny have been proposed to play a key role in explaining differences in human–animal communication across species. In livestock, even short-term positive interactions with caretakers or other reference persons can influence human–animal interaction at different levels and over different periods of time. In this study, we investigated human-directed behaviour in the ‘unsolvable task’ paradigm in two groups of domestic goats (Capra aegagrus hircus). One group was positively handled and habituated to a plastic box by the experimenter to retrieve a food reward, while the other group only ...


Goats Prefer Positive Human Emotional Facial Expressions, Christian Nawroth, Natalia Albuquerque, Carine Savalli, Marie-Sophie Single, Alan G. Mcelligott Jul 2018

Goats Prefer Positive Human Emotional Facial Expressions, Christian Nawroth, Natalia Albuquerque, Carine Savalli, Marie-Sophie Single, Alan G. Mcelligott

Social Cognition

Domestication has shaped the physiology and the behaviour of animals to better adapt to human environments. Therefore, human facial expressions may be highly informative for animals domesticated for working closely with people, such as dogs and horses. However, it is not known whether other animals, and particularly those domesticated primarily for production, such as goats, are capable of perceiving human emotional cues. In this study, we investigated whether goats can distinguish human facial expressions when simultaneously shown two images of an unfamiliar human with different emotional valences (positive/ happy or negative/angry). Both images were vertically attached to a wall ...


Human Demonstration Does Not Facilitate The Performance Of Horses (Equus Caballus) In A Spatial Problem-Solving Task, Joan-Bryce Burla, Janina Siegwart, Christian Nawroth Jun 2018

Human Demonstration Does Not Facilitate The Performance Of Horses (Equus Caballus) In A Spatial Problem-Solving Task, Joan-Bryce Burla, Janina Siegwart, Christian Nawroth

Spatial Cognition

Horses’ ability to adapt to new environments and to acquire new information plays an important role in handling and training. Social learning in particular would be very adaptive for horses as it enables them to flexibly adjust to new environments. In the context of horse handling, social learning from humans has been rarely investigated but could help to facilitate management practices. We assessed the impact of human demonstration on the spatial problem-solving abilities of horses during a detour task. In this task, a bucket with a food reward was placed behind a double-detour barrier and 16 horses were allocated to ...


The Private And Free Roaming Street Dog Population In Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India, Tamara Kartal, Amit Chaudhari Jun 2018

The Private And Free Roaming Street Dog Population In Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India, Tamara Kartal, Amit Chaudhari

Stray and Feral Animal Populations

Humane Society International - India (HSI- India) together with Humane Animal Society (HAS) and a team of volunteers conducted two dog population surveys in 100 wards of Coimbatore, India (The 2011 census provides a human population of 10507211; An estimate from 2017 estimates a human population of 18900002). The first was a street dog survey and the other was a household survey of the private (pet) dog population and their owners.


Ethical Foundations For The Lethal Management Of Double-Crested Cormorants (Phalocrocorax Auritus) In The Eastern United States: An Argument Analysis, Chelsea Batavia, Michael Paul Nelson Jun 2018

Ethical Foundations For The Lethal Management Of Double-Crested Cormorants (Phalocrocorax Auritus) In The Eastern United States: An Argument Analysis, Chelsea Batavia, Michael Paul Nelson

Ethics and Conservation Biology

Lethal management of Double-crested Cormorants (Phalocrocorax auritus) has been implemented in many areas of the United States. In this paper, the philosophical method of argument analysis is used to assess ethical premises underlying the proposition that Double-crested Cormorant populations should be culled to reduce pressures on wild fisheries in the Great Lakes region of the eastern USA. This influential argument has been used to justify the destruction of more than half a million Double-crested Cormorants and hundreds of thousands of their nests and eggs. Three versions of the argument are formulated and assessed. It is shown that each of the ...


Animal Suicide: An Account Worth Giving?, Irina Mikhalevich Jan 2018

Animal Suicide: An Account Worth Giving?, Irina Mikhalevich

Animal Sentience

Peña-Guzmán (2017) argues that empirical evidence and evolutionary theory compel us to treat the phenomenon of suicide as continuous in the animal kingdom. He defends a “continuist” account in which suicide is a multiply-realizable phenomenon characterized by self-injurious and self-annihilative behaviors. This view is problematic for several reasons. First, it appears to mischaracterize the Darwinian view that mind is continuous in nature. Second, by focusing only on surface-level features of behavior, it groups causally and etiologically disparate phenomena under a single conceptual umbrella, thereby reducing the account’s explanatory power. Third, it obscures existing analyses of suicide in biomedical ethics ...


Continuum And Temporality, Gerard Kuperus Jan 2018

Continuum And Temporality, Gerard Kuperus

Animal Sentience

I fully support the continuum proposed in the target article and argue along the same lines that we should be suspicious of drawing any strict borders between human and non-human animals. Since we can say very little with absolute certainty about human intentions regarding suicide, we have no certainty about the intentions of non-human animals. Although I am very sympathetic to Peña-Guzmán’s overall argument, I suggest that time could be taken into consideration as well.


Animal Suicide And "Anthropodenial", Ryan Hediger Jan 2018

Animal Suicide And "Anthropodenial", Ryan Hediger

Animal Sentience

Increasing understanding of the impressive cognitive and social capacities of nonhuman animals suggests the possibility that they may sometimes commit suicide. Such notions tend to be dismissed as “anthropomorphism.” That interpretive hazard, I argue, must be weighed against the opposite hazard of “anthropodenial” — “the a priori rejection of shared characteristics between humans and animals” (de Waal 2006). If animals do commit suicide, how often is it motivated precisely by the impact of humans on animal life?


An Adaptationist Perspective On Animal Suicide, Timothy P. Racine Jan 2018

An Adaptationist Perspective On Animal Suicide, Timothy P. Racine

Animal Sentience

Peña-Guzmán’s discussion of suicide in nonhuman animals has broad implications. In this commentary, I focus on the logical relation between suicide and intention. Proximate cause must be distinguished from ultimate function in explanations of suicide. I briefly discuss two adaptationist accounts of suicidal behavior.


Can Nondolphins Commit Suicide?, David M. Peña-Guzmán Jan 2018

Can Nondolphins Commit Suicide?, David M. Peña-Guzmán

Animal Sentience

This Response addresses the scientific and philosophical criticisms of my 2017 target article “Can nonhuman animals commit suicide?” It defends my key claims and explores topics (such as animal judgment, animal theory of mind, and the evolution of suicide) that did not appear in the original article. It also points out areas in which further research is needed and concludes that we should be wary of accusations of “anthropomorphism” in debates about animal suicide.


If Nonhuman Animals Can Suicide, Why Don’T They?, C. A. Soper, Todd K. Shackelford Jan 2018

If Nonhuman Animals Can Suicide, Why Don’T They?, C. A. Soper, Todd K. Shackelford

Animal Sentience

An evolutionary analysis suggests that selection is unlikely to have tolerated the capacity for intentional self-killing in nonhuman animals. The potential to escape pain by suicide would have presented a recurrent and severe adaptive problem for an animal with a reproductive future to protect. If the potential for suicide arose in the evolutionary past, anti-suicide mechanisms may have co-evolved, as we believe they have in adult humans. Peña-Guzmán’s (2017) argument that some nonhuman animals can suicide is incomplete without an account of the defences that result in the vast majority opting not to.


Animal Suicide: Evolutionary Continuity Or Anthropomorphism?, Antonio Preti Jan 2018

Animal Suicide: Evolutionary Continuity Or Anthropomorphism?, Antonio Preti

Animal Sentience

Evolutionary processes are characterized by both continuity and discontinuity. Evidence on suicide in nonhuman animals is faint and often rests on the metaphorical or anthropomorphic use of the term. Suicidal behavior might be an evolutionary jump relatively recent in our species: a byproduct of living in groups of people who are not as closely related genetically as in social groups of nonhuman mammals.


Post-Darwin Skepticism And Run-Of-The-Mill Suicide, John Hadley Jan 2018

Post-Darwin Skepticism And Run-Of-The-Mill Suicide, John Hadley

Animal Sentience

Peña-Guzmán’s depiction of the opponent of animal suicide as a conservative is a straw man. It is possible to accept that animals are self-conscious and reflexive yet still reject the view that they have the mental wherewithal to commit run-of-the-mill suicide. That animal behaviour can be positioned on a continuum of self-destructive behaviour does not establish that animals can intentionally kill themselves.


Lessons From Chimpanzee Sign Language Studies, Mary Lee Jensvold Jan 2018

Lessons From Chimpanzee Sign Language Studies, Mary Lee Jensvold

Animal Sentience

Claims are often made about behaviors being unique to humans; the evidence usually shows they are not. Sign language studies on chimpanzees may provide a useful model for comparative studies of suicide. A productive approach to comparative studies is to focus on observable behaviors rather than getting lost in the pitfalls of vague definitions and changing measures.


Fish Consciousness, David Gamez Jan 2018

Fish Consciousness, David Gamez

Animal Sentience

Woodruff makes two arguments to support his claim that ray-finned fish are conscious: (1) Fish neuroanatomy has similarities with the structures in the human brain that support consciousness. (2) The complexity and flexibility of fish behaviour suggest that they are conscious. This commentary will argue that neither the neuroanatomical nor the behavioural argument can provide conclusive evidence for consciousness in fish. We should suspend judgement until we have discovered mathematical theories of consciousness that can reliably map between states of consciousness and states of the physical world.


Canine Emotions: Guidelines For Research, Miiamaaria V. Kujala Jan 2018

Canine Emotions: Guidelines For Research, Miiamaaria V. Kujala

Animal Sentience

In the target article, I called for a discussion on the nature and extent of dogs’ emotions. The commentators generally agreed on the existence of dog emotions, but the diversity and quality of dog emotions, as well as the influence of human social cognition on perceiving dog emotions, raised more debate. To respond to the stimulating commentaries, I touch briefly on the philosophy of (canine) mind and discuss further the benefits of comparing cognition across species, secondary emotions, and the shaping of canine emotions by evolution, breeding and experience. I conclude with suggestions for future research guidelines on studies of ...


The Many Faces Of Fear And Vigilance, Guy Beauchamp Jan 2018

The Many Faces Of Fear And Vigilance, Guy Beauchamp

Animal Sentience

In the target article, I examined the relationship between vigilance and fear in prey animals. The joint occurrence of vigilance and other physiological responses to fear, such as increased heart rate and stress hormone release, would bolster the idea that vigilance can be a useful marker of fear. Nevertheless, a common theme in much of the empirical research is an uncoupling of vigilance and physiological correlates of fear. The commentators suggest several ways to refine the concepts of vigilance, fear, and risk. I discuss these refinements, which in the end will prove useful to assess further the relationship between vigilance ...


Defining Pain And Painful Sentience In Animals, Edgar T. Walters Jan 2018

Defining Pain And Painful Sentience In Animals, Edgar T. Walters

Animal Sentience

Sentience is essential to most definitions of pain, including a detailed definition invoked by Sneddon et al. to argue that adult and perhaps larval fish feel pain. Because proving painful sentience in non-human animals is not feasible, multiple lines of indirect evidence are needed to implicate pain. This commentary examines the list of 17 criteria used by Sneddon et al. to conclude that fish have conscious pain. The criteria include tests of nociceptive, motivational, and cognitive properties useful for revealing pain-like states that can be understood biologically and be related evolutionarily to human pain. However, additional research is needed to ...


Fish Are Smart And Feel Pain: What About Joy?, Becca Franks, Jeff Sebo, Alexandra Horowitz Jan 2018

Fish Are Smart And Feel Pain: What About Joy?, Becca Franks, Jeff Sebo, Alexandra Horowitz

Animal Sentience

Sneddon et al. rightly point out that the evidence of fish pain is now so strong and comprehensive that arguments against it have become increasingly difficult to defend in balanced academic discourse. But sentience involves more than just pain. Recent research indicates that fish have an impressive range of cognitive capacities, including the capacity for pleasure, in the form of play and other behaviors likely to involve positively valenced experience. Having made the case for pain, research can now focus on other aspects of fish sentience. Doing so will not only provide a more complete picture of the mental lives ...


Jealousy In Dogs? Evidence From Brain Imaging, Peter Cook, Ashley Prichard, Mark Spivak, Gregory S. Berns Jan 2018

Jealousy In Dogs? Evidence From Brain Imaging, Peter Cook, Ashley Prichard, Mark Spivak, Gregory S. Berns

Animal Sentience

Domestic dogs are highly social and have been shown to be sensitive not only to the actions of humans and other dogs but to the interactions between them. We used the C-BARQ scale to estimate dogs’ aggressiveness, and we used noninvasive brain imaging (fMRI) to measure activity in their amygdala (an area involved in aggression). More aggressive dogs had more amygdala activation data while watching their caregiver give food to a realistic fake dog than when they put the food in a bucket. This may have some similarity to human jealousy, adding to a growing body of evidence that differences ...


Researchers, Not Dogs, Lack Control In An Experiment On Jealousy, Jennifer Vonk Jan 2018

Researchers, Not Dogs, Lack Control In An Experiment On Jealousy, Jennifer Vonk

Animal Sentience

Cook and colleagues (2018) have developed a clever method to measure fMRI in awake dogs in response to a number of interesting stimuli. As a result, they are able to determine neural correlates of observable behavior. They report that dogs may experience something akin to jealousy because they show greater amygdala activation in response to food being given to a fake dog versus food being placed in a bucket. However, several critical controls are missing which prevent the authors from being able to speak of jealousy.


Finding The Green-Eyed Monster In The Brain Of A Dog, Peter Singer Jan 2018

Finding The Green-Eyed Monster In The Brain Of A Dog, Peter Singer

Animal Sentience

That dogs show behavior suggestive of jealousy has long been known and has been demonstrated under controlled conditions. Cook et al. have now shown arousal in the amygdala when dogs see a caregiver feeding another dog. This finding has ethical significance in two respects. First, the consideration shown by the investigators for the welfare of their experimental subjects sets an example for other researchers using animals. Second, the greater understanding of the emotional lives of animals should lead to more concern for their needs.


Jealousy, Competition, Or A Contextual Cue For Reward?, Thomas R. Zentall Jan 2018

Jealousy, Competition, Or A Contextual Cue For Reward?, Thomas R. Zentall

Animal Sentience

Emotions are difficult to assess, even in humans. The attribution of jealousy in an animal like a dog is especially difficult because performance of a particular behavior in the context of another animal receiving a reward may not be easily distinguishable from intra-species competition or simply a response to a contextual cue for the availability of reward. The authors provide distinguishing evidence in the form of fMRI data to show that in the presence of a “fake” dog being fed, there is bilateral activation in the amygdala, an area associated with anxiety, anger, fear, and even jealousy in humans.


Can A Dog Be Jealous?, Yaoguang Jiang, Annamarie W. Huttunen, Michael L. Platt Jan 2018

Can A Dog Be Jealous?, Yaoguang Jiang, Annamarie W. Huttunen, Michael L. Platt

Animal Sentience

Whether humans alone experience complex emotions like jealousy or envy remains hotly debated, partly because of the difficulty of measuring them without a verbal report. Cook, Berns and colleagues use functional brain imaging to identify in dogs neural responses very similar to those evoked by jealousy in humans. When dogs see their caregiver reward a facsimile dog, their amygdala is activated and the strength of this response predicts aggressive behavior — just as jealousy leads to aggression in humans. The authors conclude that dogs feel something very similar to human jealousy. This novel and creative study tackles one of the most ...


What Is It Like To Be A Jealous Dog?, Emanuela Prato Previde, Paola Valsecchi Jan 2018

What Is It Like To Be A Jealous Dog?, Emanuela Prato Previde, Paola Valsecchi

Animal Sentience

Jealousy is a good candidate for comparative studies due to its clear adaptive value in protecting social bonds and affective relationships. Dogs are suitable subjects for investigating the evolution of jealousy, thanks to their rather sophisticated socio-cognitive abilities — which in some cases parallel those reported for human infants — and thanks to their long-lasting relationship with humans. The work of Cook and colleagues (2018) addresses the issue of jealousy in dogs through the lens of neuroscience, examining the relationship between the amygdala and jealousy. Their experiment has a number of methodological flaws that prevent distinguishing jealousy from other internal states; it ...


Dogs Aren’T Jealous – They Are Just Asking For Accurate Information, Karen L. Overall Jan 2018

Dogs Aren’T Jealous – They Are Just Asking For Accurate Information, Karen L. Overall

Animal Sentience

Awake fMRI offers us a unique opportunity to view and understand how dogs see the world and use the information in it. Given the limitations of behavioral assays and the small sample sizes inherent in these studies, labeling of patterns of canine behaviors using pop psychology terms may actually interfere with our understanding of canine brains and obscure for us a more parsimonious but exciting interpretation of canine behavior. We should use this window into how dogs think wisely.



Fake Or Not: Two Prerequisites For Jealousy, Juliane Bräuer, Federica Amici Jan 2018

Fake Or Not: Two Prerequisites For Jealousy, Juliane Bräuer, Federica Amici

Animal Sentience

Cook and colleagues (2018) use a novel approach to test jealousy in dogs. Although such a non-invasive approach is more than welcome in comparative research, several methodological shortcomings limit the impact of this study. We briefly outline two main problems. (1) There is no evidence that the fake dogs in the study were perceived as real, and thus as social rivals, which would be a prerequisite for jealousy. (2) It is questionable whether dogs generally show the cognitive prerequisites for jealousy, such as attentiveness toward a social rival, the ability to understand intentions, and a sense of fairness. We suggest ...


Only The Human Brain Has The Cognitive Capacity For Jealousy, Donatella Marazziti Jan 2018

Only The Human Brain Has The Cognitive Capacity For Jealousy, Donatella Marazziti

Animal Sentience

Jealousy is exclusively a human phenomenon because nonhuman animals lack the brain structures regulating the higher processes underlying jealousy.


Fish Sentience Denial: Muddying The Waters, Lynne U. Sneddon, Javier Lopez-Luna, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Amanda D. Currie, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown Jan 2018

Fish Sentience Denial: Muddying The Waters, Lynne U. Sneddon, Javier Lopez-Luna, David C.C. Wolfenden, Matthew C. Leach, Ana M. Valentim, Peter J. Steenbergen, Nabila Bardine, Amanda D. Currie, Donald M. Broom, Culum Brown

Animal Sentience

Recent empirical studies have reported evidence that many aquatic species, including fish, cephalopods and crustaceans, have the capacity for nociception and pain, and that their welfare should be taken into consideration. Some sceptics, rejecting the precautionary principle, have denied that any study demonstrates pain or other aspects of sentience in fish. This target article discusses some of the scientific shortcomings of these critiques through a detailed analysis of a study exploring nociception and analgesia in larval zebrafish.