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Sundman, A.-S., Persson, M., Grozelier, A., Halldén, L.-L., Jensen, P. & Roth, L. (2018). Understanding of human referential gestures is not correlated to human-directed social behaviour in Labrador retrievers and German shepherd dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 201, 46-53
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding of human referential gestures is not correlated to human-directed social behaviour in Labrador retrievers and German shepherd dogs
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2018 (English)In: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, ISSN 0168-1591, E-ISSN 1872-9045, Vol. 201, p. 46-53Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Dogs are known to excel in interspecific communication with humans and both communicate with humans and follow human communicative cues. Two tests commonly used to test these skills are, firstly, the problem-solving paradigm, and, secondly, following human referential signals, for example pointing. The aim of the present study was to investigate whether dogs that seek more human contact in an unsolvable problem-solving paradigm also better understand human communicative cues in a pointing test. We also assessed between- and within-breed variation in both tests. 167 dogs were tested and were of the breeds German shepherd dog and Labrador retriever. The Labradors were separated into the two selection lines: common type (bred for show and pet) and field type (bred for hunting). A principal component analysis of behaviours during the problem solving revealed four components: Passivity, Experimenter Contact, Owner Contact and Eye Contact. We analysed the effect of these components on success rate in the pointing test and we found no effect for three of them, while a negative correlation was found for Owner Contact (F(1,147) = 6.892; P = 0.010). This was only present in common-typed Labradors. We conclude that the ability to follow a pointing cue does not predict the propensity for human-directed social behaviour in a problem-solving situation and suggest that the two tests measure different aspects of human-directed social behaviour in dogs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018
Keywords
Human-dog communication, Human-directed social behaviour, Pointing test, Problem-solving test, German shepherd dogs. Labrador retrievers
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-145542 (URN)10.1016/j.applanim.2017.12.017 (DOI)000430774800007 ()2-s2.0-85039704233 (Scopus ID)
Note

Funding agencies: European Research Council (ERC) [322206]

Available from: 2018-03-05 Created: 2018-03-05 Last updated: 2019-04-17Bibliographically approved
Elfwing, M., Nätt, D., Goerlich-Jansson, V. C., Persson, M., Hjelm, J. & Jensen, P. (2015). Early stress causes sex-specific, life-long changes in behaviour, levels of gonadal hormones, and gene expression in chickens. PLoS ONE, 10(5), Article ID e0125808.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Early stress causes sex-specific, life-long changes in behaviour, levels of gonadal hormones, and gene expression in chickens
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2015 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 10, no 5, article id e0125808Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Early stress can have long-lasting phenotypic effects. Previous research shows that male and female chickens differ in many behavioural aspects, and respond differently to chronic stress. The present experiment aimed to broadly characterize long-term sex differences in responses to brief events of stress experienced during the first weeks of life. Chicks from a commercial egg-laying hybrid were exposed to stress by inducing periods of social isolation during their first three weeks of life, followed by a broad behavioural, physiological and genomic characterization throughout life. Early stressed males, but not females, where more anxious in an open field-test, stayed shorter in tonic immobility and tended to have delayed sexual maturity, as shown by a tendency for lower levels of testosterone compared to controls. While early stressed females did not differ from non-stressed in fear and sexual maturation, they were more socially dominant than controls. The differential gene expression profile in hypothalamus was significantly correlated from 28 to 213 days of age in males, but not in females. In conclusion, early stress had a more pronounced long-term effect on male than on female chickens, as evidenced by behavioral, endocrine and genomic responses. This may either be attributed to inherent sex differences due to evolutionary causes, or possibly to different stress related selection pressures on the two sexes during commercial chicken breeding.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public Library of Science, 2015
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117423 (URN)10.1371/journal.pone.0125808 (DOI)000354916100036 ()
Available from: 2015-04-27 Created: 2015-04-27 Last updated: 2019-03-05Bibliographically approved
Persson, M., Roth, L., Johnsson, M., Wright, D. & Jensen, P. (2015). Human-directed social behaviour in dogs shows significant heritability. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 14(4), 337-344
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Human-directed social behaviour in dogs shows significant heritability
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2015 (English)In: Genes, Brain and Behavior, ISSN 1601-1848, E-ISSN 1601-183X, Vol. 14, no 4, p. 337-344Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Through domestication and co-evolution with humans, dogs have developed abilities to attract human attention, e.g. in a manner of seeking assistance when faced with a problem solving task. The aims of this study were to investigate within breed variation in human-directed contact seeking in dogs and to estimate its genetic basis. To do this, 498 research beagles, bred and kept under standardized conditions, were tested in an unsolvable problem task. Contact seeking behaviours recorded included both eye contact and physical interactions. Behavioural data was summarized through a principal component analysis, resulting in four components: test interactions, social interactions, eye contact and physical contact. Females scored significantly higher on social interactions and physical contact and age had an effect on eye contact scores. Narrow sense heritabilities (h2) of the two largest components were estimated at 0.32 and 0.23 but were not significant for the last two components. These results show that within the studied dog population, behavioural variation in human-directed social behaviours was sex dependent and that the utilization of eye contact seeking increased with age and experience. Hence, heritability estimates indicate a significant genetic contribution to the variation found in human-directed social interactions, suggesting that social skills in dogs have a genetic basis, but can also be shaped and enhanced through individual experiences. This research gives the opportunity to further investigate the genetics behind dogs’ social skills, which could also play a significant part into research on human social disorders such as autism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2015
Keywords
Beagles, canine behaviour, dogs, domestic dog, eye contact, genetics, heritability, human-directed communication, problem-solving, social behaviour
National Category
Human Computer Interaction
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-117523 (URN)10.1111/gbb.12194 (DOI)000353405000003 ()25703740 (PubMedID)
Funder
EU, European Research Council, 1242001390
Available from: 2015-04-30 Created: 2015-04-30 Last updated: 2018-01-11
Davies, A. C., Nicol, C. J., Persson, M. & Radford, A. N. (2014). Behavioural and Physiological Effects of Finely Balanced Decision-Making in Chickens. PLoS ONE, 9(10), e108809
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Behavioural and Physiological Effects of Finely Balanced Decision-Making in Chickens
2014 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 10, p. e108809-Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In humans, more difficult decisions result in behavioural and physiological changes suggestive of increased arousal, butlittle is known about the effect of decision difficulty in other species. A difficult decision can have a number ofcharacteristics; we aimed to monitor how finely balanced decisions, compared to unbalanced ones, affected the behaviourand physiology of chickens. An unbalanced decision was one in which the two options were of unequal net value (1 (Q1) vs.6 (Q6) pieces of sweetcorn with no cost associated with either option); a finely balanced decision was one in which theoptions were of equal net value (i.e. hens were "indifferent" to both options). To identify hens’ indifference, a titrationprocedure was used in which a cost (electromagnetic weight on an access door) was applied to the Q6 option, to find theindividual point at which hens chose this option approximately equally to Q1 via a non-weighted door. We then comparedbehavioural and physiological indicators of arousal (head movements, latency to choose, heart-rate variability and surfacebody temperature) when chickens made decisions that were unbalanced or finely balanced. Significant physiological (heartratevariability) and behavioural (latency to pen) differences were found between the finely balanced and balancedconditions, but these were likely to be artefacts of the greater time and effort required to push through the weighted doors.No other behavioural and physiological measures were significantly different between the decision categories. We suggestthat more information is needed on when best to monitor likely changes in arousal during decision-making and that futurestudies should consider decisions defined as difficult in other ways.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Public Library of Science, 2014
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-111660 (URN)10.1371/journal.pone.0108809 (DOI)000342591500033 ()25275440 (PubMedID)
Available from: 2014-10-28 Created: 2014-10-28 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0002-6115-7517

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