Early experience affects adult personality in the red junglefowl: a role for cognitive stimulation?
2016 (English)In: Behavioural Processes, ISSN 0376-6357Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Despite intense research efforts, biologists are still puzzled by the existence of animal personality. While recent studies support a link between cognition and personality, the directionality of this relationship still needs to be clarified. Early-life experiences can affect adult behaviour, and among these, cognitive stimulation has been suggested theoretically to influence personality. Yet, the influence of early cognitive stimulation has rarely been explored in empirical investigations of animal behaviour and personality. We investigated the effect of early cognitive stimulation on adult personality in the red junglefowl (Gallus gallus). To this end, we assessed adult behaviour across a number of personality assays and compared behaviour of individuals previously exposed to a series of learning tasks as chicks, with that of control individuals lacking this experience. We found that individuals exposed to early stimulation as adults were more vigilant and performed fewer escape attempts in personality assays. Other behaviours describing personality traits in the fowl were not affected. We conclude that our results support the hypothesis that early stimulation can affect aspects of adult behaviour and personality, suggesting a hitherto underappreciated causality link between cognition and personality. Future research should aim to confirm these findings and resolve their underlying dynamics and proximate mechanisms.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Developmental plasticity, Boldness, Exploration, Gallus gallus, Juvenile learning, Neophobia, Vigilance
Behavioral Sciences Biology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-131304DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2016.06.003PubMedID: 27329431OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-131304DiVA: diva2:970473