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Emotion evaluation and response slowing in a non-human primate: New directions for cognitive bias measures of animal welfare

Bethell, EJ (2016) Emotion evaluation and response slowing in a non-human primate: New directions for cognitive bias measures of animal welfare. Behavioral Sciences, 6 (1). ISSN 2076-328X

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Abstract

The cognitive bias model of animal welfare assessment is informed by studies with humans demonstrating that the interaction between emotion and cognition can be detected using laboratory tasks. A limitation of cognitive bias tasks is the amount of training required by animals prior to testing. A potential solution is to use biologically relevant stimuli that trigger innate emotional responses. Here; we develop a new method to assess emotion in rhesus macaques; informed byparadigms used with humans: emotional Stroop; visual cueing and; in particular; response slowing. In humans; performance on a simple cognitive task can become impaired when emotional distractor content is displayed. Importantly; responses become slower in anxious individuals in the presence of mild threat; a pattern not seen in non-anxious individuals; who are able to effectively process and disengage from the distractor. Here; we present a proof-of-concept study; demonstrating that rhesus macaques show slowing of responses in a simple touch-screen task when emotional content is introduced; but only when they had recently experienced a presumably stressful veterinary inspection. Our results indicate the presence of a subtle “cognitive freeze” response; the measurement of which may provide a means of identifying negative shifts in emotion in animals.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: MDPI AG
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2016 14:57
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2017 09:58
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/2592

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