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The relationship between learning speed and personality is age- and task-dependent in red junglefowl
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. Stockholm Univ, Sweden.
Stockholm Univ, Sweden.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
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2018 (English)In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, ISSN 0340-5443, E-ISSN 1432-0762, Vol. 72, no 10, article id UNSP 168Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Cognition is fundamental to animals lives and an important source of phenotypic variation. Nevertheless, research on individual variation in animal cognition is still limited. Further, although individual cognitive abilities have been suggested to be linked to personality (i.e., consistent behavioral differences among individuals), few studies have linked performance across multiple cognitive tasks to personality traits. Thus, the interplays between cognition and personality are still unclear. We therefore investigated the relationships between an important aspect of cognition, learning, and personality, by exposing young and adult red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) to multiple learning tasks (discriminative, reversal, and spatial learning) and personality assays (novel arena, novel object, and tonic immobility). Learning speed was not correlated across learning tasks, and learning speed in discrimination and spatial learning tasks did not co-vary with personality. However, learning speed in reversal tasks was associated with individual variation in exploration, and in an age-dependent manner. More explorative chicks learned the reversal task faster than less explorative ones, while the opposite association was found for adult females (learning speed could not be assayed in adult males). In the same reversal tasks, we also observed a sex difference in learning speed of chicks, with females learning faster than males. Our results suggest that the relationship between cognition and personality is complex, as shown by its task- and age-dependence, and encourage further investigation of the causality and dynamics of this relationship.Significance statementIn the ancestor of todays chickens, the red junglefowl, we explored how personality and cognition relate by exposing both chicks and adults to several learning tasks and personality assays. Our birds differed in personality and learning speed, while fast learners in one task did not necessarily learn fast in another (i.e., there were no overall smarter birds). Exploration correlated with learning speed in the more complex task of reversal learning: faster exploring chicks, but slower exploring adult females, learned faster, compared to less explorative birds. Other aspects of cognition and personality did not correlate. Our results suggest that cognition and personality are related, and that the relationship can differ depending on task and age of the animal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SPRINGER , 2018. Vol. 72, no 10, article id UNSP 168
Keywords [en]
Exploration; Cognition; Gallus gallus; Personality
National Category
Behavioral Sciences Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-152080DOI: 10.1007/s00265-018-2579-2ISI: 000445736500001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-152080DiVA, id: diva2:1258171
Note

Funding Agencies|Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences; Swedish Research Council; Advanced Research Grant Genewell; LiU programme "Future research leaders," Gyllenstiernska Kapperupstiftelsen; Swedish Research Council Formas

Available from: 2018-10-24 Created: 2018-10-24 Last updated: 2018-10-24

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Zidar, JosefinaBalogh, AlexandraJensen, PerSorato, EnricoLovlie, Hanne
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