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Social environment influences impulsivity in red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) chicks
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology. (Lovlie group)
2019 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10,5 credits / 16 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Cognition (i.e. how individuals perceive, process and react to environmental cues) is fundamental to all animals’ life. Despite this, what explains variation in cognitive abilities is still mainly unclear. Environment is assumed to influences cognitive variation, but the mechanisms for this are still unknown. According to the social intelligence hypothesis, living in a group with a rich social environment, generate challenges that can enhance cognitive abilities. Impulsivity (to not be able to inhibit impulses), one aspect of cognition, may be influenced by the social environment, however this has not yet been experimentally tested. Impulsivity can complicate life, both for humans and animals. In humans, high levels of impulsivity and lack of self-control are associated with addictions and psychiatric disorders, thus is considered to be maladaptive. In animals, impulsivity correlates with stereotypies. To improve our understanding of impulsivity, I experimentally investigated how early social environment affects individual variation in impulsivity. To test this, red junglefowl chicks were used because their group living nature, and our accumulated knowledge on their cognition and behaviour. To manipulate the social environment, chicks either grew up in larger groups (with 17 individuals) or smaller groups (with 7 individuals). During the chicks’ first five weeks of life, three aspects of impulsivity were tested; impulsive action, persistence (in a detour reaching test) and routine formation (in a reversal learning test). Chicks that grew up in larger groups tended to perform less impulsive actions, while social environment did not explain variation in persistence. Chicks from larger groups had less strong routine formation compared to chicks raised in smaller groups. This partially supports the social intelligence hypothesis, and suggest that early social life can affect cognitive traits and explain individual variation in such.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 21
Keywords [en]
Chicken, cognitive abilities, Gallus gallus, impulsive action, impulsivity, intelligence, persistence, routine formation
National Category
Behavioral Sciences Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-160093ISRN: LITH-IFM-G-EX--19/3691—SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-160093DiVA, id: diva2:1348590
Subject / course
Biology
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-09-06 Created: 2019-09-04 Last updated: 2019-09-06Bibliographically approved

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Behavioral Sciences Biology

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • oxford
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf