Poster Session I - Friday Evening
P1The effect of dimensional reinforcement expectancy on discrimination of visual compound stimuli by pigeons
Olga V. Vyazovska (V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University)
A prior study has shown selective attention to learn efficiently a stagewise multidimensional visual discrimination task [Vyazovska O.V, Navarro V.M., Wasserman E.A., 2018]. We created 16 stimuli from all possible combinations of four binary dimensions. Starting with 1 S+ and 1 S- that differed in all 4 dimensional values, we progressively added S-s sharing 1, 2, and 3 dimensional values with the S+. Pigeons showed robust response to only one of the newly introduced S- stimuli at the beginning of each stage; the order of the chosen dimensions was the same for all pigeons. In the current experiment we presented S+ and 4 S- stimuli that had robust response in the previous experiment: the first differed in all 4 dimensional values from S+, the second with brightness dimension sharing with S+; the third sharing brightness and orientation; the fourth sharing brightness, orientation and size. Then all 16 stimuli were added. Pigeons rejected correctly 6-8 of 11 new added S- stimuli at the beginning of the second stage. A significant inverse correlation between the number of S- stimuli sharing dimension values with S+ in the first stage and the learning dimensional rate at the beginning of the second stage was found.
P2Spontaneous numerical cognition in chickens, Gallus Gallus Domesticus.
Jasmine Roman, & Alex Wilson and Dr. Sarah Jones (Berea College)
The purpose of this study was to determine if a foraging task could be used to assess numerical cognition in adult Gallus gallus domesticus (Domesticated Chickens). Initially, quantities were chosen to determine how the Object File System and the Approximate Number System play a role in their choices. Researchers ran three experiments where they presented six-week broiler G. domesticus and one-year-old layer hens with various semi-randomized pairs of mealworms in a 3 by 3 ft. enclosure and allowed to consume one of the two sets of mealworms. Binomial analyses were ran on the three experiments and no significant data was found. Although the data shows no significant results we are not interpreting this as evidence that G. domesticus do not have quantitative abilities. Instead, we believe that this foraging task was ill-suited to capture the quantitative abilities of farm G. domesticus. The following factors we found impacted the performance of the G. domesticus: having their social needs fulfilled, familiar surfaces, constant supply to water, avoiding heat stress, testing before or shortly after feeding, and a barrier to prevent early approach. Future experiments should attend to these factors to increase likelihood of success when working with G. domesticus.
P3Effects of Picture Valence on Serial Pattern Learning Performance in Humans
Shannon M. A. Kundey (Hood College)
Comparative work to date has explored humans’ and nonhuman animals’ sensitivity to sequence structure, usually under conditions attempting to maximize learning. However, conditions in organism’s everyday lives may not match these ideal circumstances. Thus, organisms must detect and learn about events’ sequencing even when distractions or threats are present. Irrelevant information can decrease sequence learning in both humans and rats (e.g., Hersh, 1974; Kundey & Fountain, 2011; Kundey, De Los Reyes, & Taglang, 2011). Additionally, perception of threat or heightened anxiety can interfere with learning and performance (e.g., Hodges & Spielberger, 1969; Straughan & Dufort, 1969; Mueller, 1976; Mathews & MacLeod, 1986; Johns, Inzlicht, & Schmader, 2008). Tasks involving explicit learning seem to be more susceptible to such disruption (e.g., Rathus, Reber, Manza, & Kushner, 1994; McDowell & Allison, 1995). In two experiments, we investigated college students’ pattern learning while they were exposed to emotionally-valenced pictures. Brief exposure to negatively-valenced pictures decreased patterned sequence learning relative to brief presentation of positively-valenced pictures or a control condition in which no pictures were presented. This suggests the process needed for pattern learning was disrupted by the negatively-valenced information and that this process is explicit.
Kaitlyn Willgohs, Jenna Williams, Isabella Crisostomo, Katherine Keck, Crystal Young-Erdos, & Lauren Highfill (Eckerd College)
Pets are becoming a more familiar sight on college campuses, and it is clear that companion animals are viewed as an essential element of wellness both by student owners and institutions of higher education. However, as more dogs find their way onto college campuses, it is of vital importance that researchers investigate the well-being of the pets themselves. The current study investigated the difference in anxiety-related behaviors and cortisol levels of dogs living on a college campus (n = 13) versus off-campus dwelling dogs (n = 12). Specifically, the dogs were placed into an unfamiliar room for three minutes and their behaviors were coded within the categories of outward look of fear/anxiety/stress behaviors, information gathering signals, time-increasing signals, action or movement-related behaviors, stereotypic behaviors, and bark spells. Overall, anxious-type behaviors were observed more often for on-campus dogs than off-campus dogs, and a significant difference was found between the two groups for the category of outward look of fear/anxiety/stress behaviors (p = .036). Salivary cortisol levels are currently being analyzed to see if these trends are also observed physiologically. The implications of our findings related to dog welfare and the need for mental stimulation for campus dogs will be discussed.
P5The Effect of Color Cues on Visual Discrimination of 3D Objects in Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
Janessa Morelli, Jessica Wegman, Kaitlin Gunther, Hunter Barnett, & Caroline M. DeLong (Rochester Institute of Technology)
Fish can visually recognize objects despite differences in orientation under certain conditions. In a series of studies, we examined the ability of goldfish to discriminate between stimuli shown from multiple aspect angles in different rotation planes using a two-alternative forced choice task. After they were trained with stimuli at 0 degrees, they were tested with stimuli at novel aspect angles (90, 180, and 270 degrees). Performance accuracy was very high when they viewed 3D full-color stimuli (green turtle vs. red and yellow frog) or 2D color photos of the same plastic turtles and frogs. In the current study, six goldfish were presented with two black 3D LEGO figures that varied in shape but not color. Five fish failed to discriminate between the stimuli during training sessions. Only one fish advanced to the test phase and successfully discriminated between the stimuli at novel aspect angles when the stimuli were rotated in the picture plane (M = 67%) or depth plane (M = 80%). It appears that many of the fish were relying on color cues in past studies. More experiments with different stimuli are planned to examine whether fish can achieve object constancy without using color cues.
P6Vocal development in nestling kea parrots (Nestor notabilis)
Amelia Wein, Raoul Schwing (Messerli Research Institute), Takuya Yanagida (University of Vienna), & Ludwig Huber (Messerli Research Institute)
This study investigates vocal development of nestling kea parrots (Nestor notabilis). First, we examine how many structurally distinct call types were present during the nestling period, and the age in which call types occurred. Based on studies with other avian species, we predicted that kea nestlings would have multiple call types, with some present at hatching and others emerging later in the nestling period. Results showed that nestlings have four distinct call types, two present at hatching, and two emerging when the nestlings undergo large physical changes in the second week of life. While two of the call types developed gradually towards more adult-like structures, the other two did not and were apparently only used for communication in the nest. Second, we tested whether nestlings could be discriminated individually based on their calls. All four call types were individually discriminable from hatching until the end of the study, thus providing evidence for vocal signatures. While the function of vocal signatures cannot be ascertained from this study, kea breeding biology rules out explanations based on preventing misdirected parental care. We suggest that vocal signatures may be relevant to the division of parental resources in the nest.
P7Procrastination: The role of conditioned reinforcement in delaying the initiation of an aversive task
Dalton House, & Thomas Zentall (University of Kentucky)
Procrastination often occurs to avoid immediate initiation of a relatively aversive task. In the present experiment, we tested the hypothesis that pigeons would tend to delay completion of a response requirement because task completion in close proximity to reinforcement would cause it to become a strong conditioned reinforcer. In this task, pigeons chose between two chains (1) walking to a near panel to peck a key, followed by a long walk to peck a terminal key for reinforcement and (2) walking to a far panel to peck a key, followed by a short walk to peck a terminal key for reinforcement. When 10 pecks were required to either the near key or the far key, in keeping with Fantino’s Delay Reduction Theory, the pigeons preferred to make the 10 pecks to the far key. This effect may result from the development of a strong conditioner reinforcer that occurs when the event (pecking) comes close to reinforcement. Conditioned reinforcement may also be involved when humans delay initiating tasks until the time is close to the deadline.
P8Visual Object Categorization in Goldfish (Carassius auratus)
Caroline M. DeLong, Evan Morrison, Jessica Wegman, Janessa Morelli, Trisha Rachfal (Rochester Institute of Technology), & Kenneth Tyler Wilcox (University of Notre Dame)
Many non-human animals including monkeys, goats, pigeons, and cichlids have shown the ability to categorize objects. In this study, we examined the ability of goldfish to categorize 3D stimuli. Goldfish may use these categorization skills to aid them in identifying food sources, locating potential mates, and avoiding predators. Seven goldfish were trained to discriminate between two stimuli: a green and grey turtle and a red and yellow frog. Then they were tested with novel turtles and frogs of various colors, shapes, and sizes (e.g., green frog, yellow turtle). Five fish successfully categorized the novel stimuli (M = 68%) and two fish were unsuccessful. A second training phase with two additional stimulus pairs did not result in improved performance. It appears that the successful fish categorized the novel stimuli using shape cues, whereas the unsuccessful fish may have attended to color cues. Many of these subjects had extensive experience discriminating between the green and grey turtle and red and yellow frog presented at various aspect angles in a series of prior studies, which many have influenced which object features they used in the present study.
P9Primate-Canine Comparisons on the Object Choice Task
Hannah Clark (University of Sussex), Mahmoud Elsherif (University of Birmingham), Zoe Flack (Brighton University), & David A. Leavens (University of Sussex)
Comparative assays of social cognition almost never match sampling, testing protocols, or task preparation across species. We conducted a meta-analysis of 71 studies with nonhuman primates and dogs which employed the Object Choice Task, a frequently used assay of the ability to comprehend deictic gestures, the results of which are widely used as the basis for theories positing human-unique socio-cognitive adaptations. Fully 91% of dogs had pre-experimental histories rich in human interaction, compared with 6% of nonhuman primates (N = 2534, p <.001) and greater levels of human exposure were linked to increased performance. Of nonhuman primates, 99% were tested with a barrier, in the form of a cage, compared with 1% of dogs (N = 2534, p<.001). There were also significant differences in the spatial configurations and cue types presented. Such systematic differences in sampling and methodology could account for the so-called species differences in performance between apes and dogs. In two empirical studies, we found barriers in the testing environment resulted in differences in the behavioural responses of 18-month- and 36-month-old children and dogs, and at-chance performance in dogs (N = 37, p = .09). These findings highlight the necessity of matching testing conditions when comparing across groups.
P10A unique cyclical hierarchy observed in a herd of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) under human care and its implications in a cooperation task
Joy Vincent (Oakland University), Kristina Przystawik (ZooTampa), Kaitlyn Willgohs (Eckerd College), Michael Burns (ZooTampa), & Lauren Highfill (Eckerd College)
This study is the culmination of a two-year exploration of the social dynamics within a herd of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) under human care. This study was conducted in conjunction with a cooperation study, in an effort to discover any potential effects participation in the study had on herd dynamics. Behavioral observations of the elephants’ interspecific interactions were conducted, with specific regard to their agonistic behaviors. The six main behaviors recorded were displacement, bluff, trunk swing, charge, hit and head slam. These are common behaviors observed in wild populations of elephants, used to maintain set hierarchies and defend resources. This study found low incidence of all observed behaviors, apart from displacement, which is a behavior more in line with de-escalation and hierarchy maintenance, rather than aggression. Elephants are a matriarchal species, forming linear hierarchies within close family groups, consisting of adult females and their juvenile offspring. The patterns of displacement in this study, however, demonstrate a unique cyclical hierarchy structure; the results show a distinct cyclical hierarchy within the herd. The implications of this unique social structure for their management, as well as for the ongoing cooperation study in which the herd is participating will be discussed.
P11Breed as a Predictive Factor in Feline Personality Traits
Muller, & Melissa (University of Mount Union)
The purpose of this study was to survey cat owners about the potential differences in personality between pure-bred and nonpure-bred cats. Approximately 85.5 million cats live in homes across the United States (ASPCA, 2017). Researchers in Australia recently developed a Six Component Model of feline personality (Bennet, Rutter, Woodhead, & Howell, 2017) and identified six personality traits in cats which they labeled playfulness, nervousness, amiability, dominance, demandingness, and gullibility. The Cat Fanciers Association (2017) states that Persians and Siamese cats are preferred by their owners because they are friendlier and more playful. This study aimed to determine whether the data support that hypothesis. Five hundred fifty-five participants were recruited through social media to complete a survey on cat personality via SurveyMonkey. Owners of purebred Persian and Siamese cats, as well as owners of non-pedigreed cats completed a 35-item inventory based on Bennet, Rutter, Woodhead, & Howell’s 2017 paper that identified 6 personality dimensions. Results showed significant differences among the three breeds studied on dimensions of playfulness and amiability (friendliness). Specifically, Persian and Siamese cats scored higher on amiability than non-pedigreed cats, but that Persian cats were less playful than Siamese and non-pedigreed cats.
P12Pigeons Learn 1-Back Matching: Evidence for Explicit Learning or Long-Delay Implicit Learning
Alexandra Nosarzewska, & Thomas Zentall (University of Kentucky)
A distinction has been made between implicit (unconscious) learning and explicit (declarative rule) learning by humans. Recent theory suggests that delayed reinforcement can eliminate implicit learning but preserve explicit, rule-based learning (Smith & Church, 2018). In the present research, pigeons learned a color matching-to-sample task, however, reinforcement was delayed by 1 trial. That is, the pigeons received feedback for matching on trial N only after responding on trial N+1. When a non-correction procedure was used, three of eight pigeons showed some indication of learning. When a correction procedure was introduced (with up to 5 repeats of the incorrect trial), all pigeons learned the task. Thus, contrary to theory, either pigeons can learn implicitly over significant delays with interference from the current trial or pigeons are capable of explicit learning involving the 1-back rule.
P13Processes of gestural development in young chimpanzees
K.A. Bard (University of Portsmouth UK), S. Dunbar (University College London UK), V. Maguire-Herring (University of Portsmouth UK), Y. Veira (University at Buffalo - State University of New York), K.G. Hayes (Emory University), & K. McDonald (Oakland Zoo)
Great apes are useful as a model species for investigating gestural development. The prevailing theory is that gestures develop from actions with motoric effects, but through repeated interactions with caregivers, actions are abbreviated and ritualized to become communicative signals. We conducted a responsive care intervention for 16 chimpanzees, such that species-typical gestures developed, with milestones recorded for the first year. Young chimpanzees used gestures for displaying submission, and for initiating and requesting tickle play, comfort/contact, chase play, grooming, and food sharing. We found a consistent and significant developmental pattern in tickle play, grooming, and chase play: engagement when others initiated, followed developmentally by infant-initiations, then requests (sometimes with gestures). Gestures emerged at significantly different ages across different contexts. Most gestures were not previously effective motor acts but emerged from already communicative actions. Not all gestures were requests. Chimpanzee gestures were co-constructed (e.g., play and grooming) or strengthened (submission) in scaffolded interactions with competent partners. Our new view is that chimpanzee gestures develop from communicative behaviors through interaction and communicate socio-emotional desires, but different processes were evident in some contexts. The assumption that a single process underlies all chimpanzee gestural development is unwarranted.
P14Can owners predict dog impulsivity?
Jeffrey R. Stevens, Madeline Matthias, & Kylie Hughes (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
Impulsivity is a critical component of dog behavior with important implications for training and obedience. Brady et al. (2018, A spatial discounting test to assess impulsivity in dogs. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 202: 77-84) developed a test to measure spatial impulsivity in dogs by offering them choices between smaller, closer and larger, more distant food rewards. They found that owner reports of their dog's impulsivity correlated with the distance the dog traveled in the spatial impulsivity task. The aim of our study was to replicate the Brady et al. study to assess how well owners can predict their dogs' impulsivity and which characteristics of dogs and owners are related to a dog's impulsivity. Therefore, we tested dogs in the spatial impulsivity task and had owners complete the Dog Impulsivity Assessment Scale and a survey with questions about the dog's behavior and the owner's behavior and personality. Preliminary results suggest that owners can predict their dogs' impulsivity, but other dog and owner characteristics cannot.
P15The development of working memory performance in a delayed-search task in detection dogs
Emma Cox, Lucia Lazarowski, Sarah Krichbaum, Jordan Gillespie, Paul Waggoner, & Jeffrey Katz (Auburn University)
Increasing evidence suggests that cognitive processes are involved in working dog performance. In particular, short-term memory is considered critical to tasks performed by detection dogs such as memory for locations and targets searched. We tested candidate detection dog puppies on a delayed-search task in which dogs were required to locate a visually displaced reward after varying delays. The task was modified so that dogs did not have visual access to the hiding locations during the delay, removing the ability to use body orientation or gaze as a cue therefore requiring dogs to rely solely on working memory to solve the task. We tested puppies at three time points between the ages of 3 and 12 months in order to assess the development of canine visuo-spatial working memory, and to determine whether working memory is predictive of detection dog performance. The data indicates that the task is more difficult when dogs are not able to use attention or orientation, with little changes in performance across delay or age. Implications for detector dog success will be discussed. These findings are also part of a larger study examining the relationship between the development of the gut microbiome and early brain and cognitive development.
P16The perception of the Müller–Lyer illusion in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata)
Maria Santacà, & Christian Agrillo (University of Padova)
The Müller–Lyer illusion is a distortion illusion that occurs when the spatial arrangement of inducers influences a line’s perceived relative length. To date, this illusion has been reported in several animal species but only in 1 teleost fish (i.e., redtail splitfins, Xenotoca eiseni), although they represent 50% of vertebrate diversity. We investigated the perception of this illusion in another teleost fish that diverged from the redtail splitfin 65 million years ago: the guppy, Poecilia reticulata. The guppies were trained to select the longer between 2 lines; after meeting the learning criterion, illusory trials were presented. Control trials were also arranged to exclude the possibility that guppies’ choices relied on potential spatial biases related to the illusory pattern. The guppies’ performance indicated that they were susceptible to the Müller–Lyer illusion, perceiving the line with the inwards-pointing arrowheads as longer. The performance in the control trials excluded the possibility that the subjects used the physical differences between the 2 figures as the discriminative cue in the illusory trials. Our study suggests that sensibility to the Müller–Lyer illusion could be widespread across teleost fish and reinforces the idea that the perceptual mechanisms underlying size estimation might be similar across vertebrates.
P17Effect of rearing environment on the development of spatial cognition in egg-laying hens
Claire Jones, Allison Pullin, Richard Blatchford, Maja Makagon, & Kristina Horback (Center for Animal Welfare Department of Animal Science University of California Davis CA USA)
The American egg industry is transitioning towards cage-free environments for laying hens. Unfortunately, it is unknown whether the visual complexity of the rearing environment may impact adult use of three-dimensional space in aviaries. This study will investigate the ontogeny of distance and depth perception in 480 Dekalb White hens reared in three environments of increasing vertical complexity (perches, ramps, and platforms). Distance perception will be evaluated via a Y-maze task with a 1:3 ratio or a 1:1 ratio difference in escape arm length. Behaviors to be recorded include head orientation, time spent in each arm, and exit choice. Depth perception will be evaluated via performance in a visual cliff test at two depths (15 and 90 cm). Behaviors to be recorded include latency to jump from the perch on the visual cliff to the platform on the deep side, head angle at time of jump, and proportion of time spent on shallow versus deep side. It is predicted that performance in the Y-maze (percent of correct choices) will relate to performance in visual cliff test (latency and quality of jump), and, that general performance will be impacted by the visual complexity of rearing environment.
P18Discrimination Learning in Archerfish
Bridget Austin, & Michael Brown (Villanova University)
Discrimination learning, an ability common to nonhuman animals, involves learning to respond deferentially to different stimuli. However, discrimination learning in nonmammalian, aquatic species has received relatively less attention. Archerfish (Toxotes spp) pose a unique opportunity to advance discrimination research due to their unique ballistic hunting technique, which involves shooting targets above the water’s surface with a stream of water that comes from their mouth (Schuster et al., 2006). Due to their unique hunting behavior and perceptual abilities, archerfish have recently been used in a range of behavioral studies. A new procedure for the study of visual discrimination performance in archerfish is tested here in two experiments. The first tested a discrimination task, asking the archerfish to discriminate between the image of a cricket (S+) or a blank screen (S-) on a LCD screen above their tank. The second experiment manipulated motion by presenting moving stimuli in a similar format. Performance in both experiments was measured by fish location in a dichotomous choice task. Results revealed that our archerfish were able to discriminate a non-moving stimulus, but the results for moving stimuli are more complicated.
P19Bottlenose Dolphin Calf Social Development Over the First Two Years of Life
Madison Bradley, Deirdre Yeater (Sacred Heart University), Heather Hill (St. Mary's University), Erika Putman, & Mark Xitco (Navy Marine Mammal Program)
As dolphin calves develop, they are observed spending less time with their mothers and more time engaged in independent activities. In this study, the social development of nine dolphin calves (Tursiops truncatus) housed in naturalistic sea pens at the Navy Marine Mammal Program in San Diego, CA were studied over the first two years of life. Focal animal behavioral ethogram data were collected using a 30 second scan sampling technique over multiple 10-minute trials. The predominant swim positions and individual behaviors were observed. The results showed developmental patterns across every three months and between the individual dolphins, in which there was an increase in independent behaviors over time. For every three months, a significant increase was seen in solo swim position and a decrease was seen in infant and echelon positions. These findings are consistent with past research, which has found that there are significant differences in calf behavioral development in swim positions based on calf age. Variation was observed between individuals and may be due to the experience or type of mother, the unique personalities in the calves, or a combination of both.
P20Socially-applied marks as a potential measure of welfare in bottlenose dolphins
Wendi Fellner (Disney's The Seas/Epcot), Randall S. Wells (Sarasota Dolphin Research Program/Chicago Zoological Society), & M. Andrew Stamper (Disney's The Seas/Epcot)
Appropriate social groupings are central to animal welfare, but determining ideal groupings of gregarious, physically energetic species in managed care settings is not always straightforward. Bottlenose dolphins engage in interactions that leave visible “rake marks” (i.e., epidermal scratches delivered by conspecifics’ teeth). While rakes can be a sign of aggression, too few could be a sign of social isolation as dolphins in the wild are routinely observed with rakes, suggesting that raking is normal for cetaceans. Here we observed the number, location, and depth category of rakes on 39 temporarily-restrained dolphins residing in Sarasota Bay, FL and 3 resident dolphins of The Seas. For Sarasota dolphins, the number of rakes varied across age and sex classes with adult males having the most (M=35.7, SD=16.8) and female calves having the least (M=3.5, SD=3.3). Overall, males had significantly more rakes than females (p=0.0004), and adult males had more rakes than younger males (p=0.047). Longitudinal assessment of Seas dolphins had values that were consistent with free-ranging counterparts. Having a well-grounded reference for normal social activity is important for providing optimal welfare for animals in managed care settings.
P21Serial Pattern Learning and a Test of Generalization to New Phrasing Cues in a Touchscreen Task for Rats
Katherine H. Dyer, Claire C. Jackman, Jessica L. Sharp, & Stephen B. Fountain (Kent State University)
Pigeons and humans learn to anticipate elements of highly-organized sequences of events presented in circular arrays of spots on a vertical screen (Fountain & Rowan, 1995; Garlick, Fountain, & Blaisdell, 2017). This study assessed whether rats can do the same. Rats learned a 24-element pattern, 123-234-345-456-567-678-781-818, where digits indicate the correct of 8 spots in a circular touchscreen array and reinforcement was electrical brain-stimulation reward. Dashes indicate “phrasing cues” of either 3-sec pauses or responses to a center spot that cued chunk-boundary (CB) elements. The two phrasing cue groups showed the same rate of acquisition. In a transfer test, each group’s phrasing cue was changed to the other group’s cue. After phrasing cue transfer, both groups showed poor performance on CB elements following the new phrasing cue but performance on other items in the pattern was not affected. Therefore, spatial and temporal cues were not functionally equivalent cues for CB elements. Thus, rats can learn serial patterns in a touchscreen array as they can in the spatial array of an octagonal chamber. Given the differences in the touchscreen and octagonal chamber paradigms, future research should explore whether rats develop functionally equivalent cognitive representations of the pattern between paradigms.
P22Team work makes the string work: Cooperation in the African crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata)
Jordyn Truax, Joy Vincent, & Jennifer Vonk (Oakland University)
Cooperation is, as defined in this study, the process by which two or more participants perform two independent actions on an object in order to obtain a reward for all parties. Cooperation would seem, initially, to reduce an individual’s individual fitness so many theories have been proposed to explain its prevalence, such as reciprocal altruism and kin investment. Humans are thought to outperform all other species in the frequency and magnitude of these behaviors. Yet, only through studying a variety of species tested can researchers fully understand the likely selection pressures for cooperation. Few monogamous species have been tested. African crested porcupines are large rodents that pair for life and are good candidates for cooperative behavior although little is known about their social cognition. Here, we tested two crested porcupines, one male and one female, in the loose-sting task. The porcupines were presented with an inaccessible platform baited with food where they were required to simultaneously pull separate ropes to bring the platform within reach.
P23Puppies and Adult Dogs use Win-Stay-Lose-Shift Strategy
Molly Byrne (Boston College), Emily Bray, Evan MacLean (University of Arizona), & Angie Johnston (Boston College)
When choosing between two potential food hiding locations, dogs often seem to “guess” when they do not receive any cues and are unable to watch the treat hiding process. When “guessing” do dogs use consistent strategies to make choices? In particular, do dogs use a win-stay-lose-shift strategy? Utilizing data from 323 puppies and 326 adult dogs on an 8-trial odor control object-choice task, we first ruled out the possibility that dogs were using odor information, and then investigated whether they used a win-stay-lose-shift strategy. Using a GLMM with age and previous-trial success as predictor variables, and subject as a random intercept, we found a significant effect of previous-trial success on dogs’ shifting behavior (B = -0.58, SE = 0.07, p < .001, OR = 0.56, 95% CI: 0.49, 0.64), suggesting that dogs were using a win-stay-lose-shift strategy. Further analysis revealed that this win-stay-lose-shift strategy was primarily driven by dogs’ tendency to shift after a previous loss, as they had a general bias to stay, rather than shift (t(648) = -8.01, p < .001). Together, these findings suggest that dogs use win-stay-lose-shift, and they are likely to try a different location when they just failed to find a treat.
P24The Effects of Education at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge: Assessing Change in Visitors' Knowledge and Attitudes Regarding Conservation, Legislation and Wildlife in Captivity
Kate M. Chapman (University of Arkansas), Beckie Moore (Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge), & Laura McGehee (University of Arkansas)
Assessment of educational practices is critical for evaluating the impact of zoos and other facilities on visitors. Few studies have focused on education outcomes at refuges and sanctuaries. This study utilized a pretest–posttest design to examine the efficacy of the current educational practices at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge (TCWR). Participants included 95 visitors to TCWR between 18-82. Researchers administered a pre-visit survey, then participants chose to take a guided tour of the refuge or explore a self discovery area. At the end of their visit, participants completed a post-visit survey to assess whether they had a) learned factual information and b) exhibited a shift in attitudes regarding exotic animals in the United States and the wild as a result of their visit. Results suggest participants in both the guided tour condition and the self-discovery condition showed an increase in knowledge and a positive shift in attitudes. While the effect was not significant, the difference between guided tour participants and self-discovery participants did trend in the expected direction for both learning and attitude shifts. Unexpected gender differences also emerged. Overall, these results suggest that TCWR’s education practices are effective in increasing fact-based knowledge and encouraging attitude change in their visitors.
P25Differential Magnitude of Reinforcement for S1 and S2 Responses Improves Accuracy in Midsession Reversal Task in Pigeons
Peyton Mueller, Megan Halloran, & Thomas Zentall (University of Kentucky)
In the midsession reversal task pigeons are trained on a simultaneous color discrimination where S1 is correct for the first half and S2 is correct for the second half of the session. Optimally, pigeons should choose S1 until trial 41, when it stops being correct, and choose S2 afterward. Instead, pigeons anticipate S2 too early and continue choosing S1 after the reversal. Evidence suggests that they attempt to time the reversal rather than using the feedback from the preceding response. Recently, we have found performance is optimized by generating an asymmetry between S1 and S2. For example, pigeons’ accuracy improves if correct S1 responses are reinforced 100% of the time but correct S2 responses are reinforced 20% of the time. Similarly, accuracy improves if S1 requires 1 peck but S2 requires 10 pecks. In the current experiment, we manipulated the magnitude of reinforcement. For the experimental group, correct responses to S1 were reinforced with five pellets and correct responses to S2 were reinforced with one pellet. For the control group, all correct responses were reinforced with three pellets. There was a significant reduction in anticipatory errors in the experimental group compared to the control, but no increase in perseverative errors.
P26Towards the development of a Five-Factor behavioral assay for measuring personality in rats (Rattus norvegicus)
Olivia Scott (Macalester College)
Personality can be detected in non-human animals by measuring stable patterns of behavior and cognition. The Five-Factor Model of personality has been adapted for animals such as dogs, chimpanzees, and horses. Although specific personality traits have been examined in rats, a comprehensive personality model has not yet been developed. The present research adapts the Five-Factor Model for measuring rat personality, informed by previous research on specific traits, and the natural history of rodents. The five factors proposed here are: Active, Bold, Curious, Easygoing, and Gregarious. Behavioral tests were developed for each of the five factors and administered twice, approximately a week apart, to 10 subjects. Tests were intentionally designed to be non-invasive and minimally stressful, both for ethical concerns and practical concerns of discriminant validity. Each test detected the rat’s choices in various situations to reveal cognitive and behavioral patterns attributable to each factor. Temporal consistency was detected in the Active and Curious tests, and slightly indicated in the Gregarious test. This investigation constituted an initial effort towards introducing a valid and reliable measure of personality in rats, which could be adapted for various purposes within laboratory settings and elsewhere, including addressing welfare concerns raised by more invasive measures.
 Poster Session II - Friday Evening
P27Categorization of 2D Objects in North American River Otters (Lontra canadensis)
Jessica Wegman (Rochester Institute of Technology), Catina Wright (Seneca Park Zoo), Trisha Rachfal, Janessa Morelli, Matthew Altobelli, Tiffani Bragg, Evan Morrison, Kaitlin Gunther, & Caroline DeLong (Rochester Institute of Technology)
Categorization is the ability to group different objects together based on defining features. Otters may use categorization to identify predators, prey, and conspecifics. This study was the first to examine whether North American river otters (Lontra canadensis) are capable of categorization. Previously, two otters at the Seneca Park Zoo were trained to discriminate between a circle and an equilateral triangle in a two-alternative forced-choice task. In the present study, otters were presented with novel geometric shapes (e.g., an oval and a hexagon) in Experiment 1 and novel drawings of real-world objects (e.g., a tomato and a tent) in Experiment 2. Each otters’ performance was not significantly different for the training vs. test stimuli in Experiment 1 (Heather: M = 84.1% vs. M = 83.3%, Sailor: M = 67.4% vs. M = 66.7%). Both otters performed significantly better than chance. Two otters were able to categorize the novel shapes. Only one otter participated in Experiment 2. The otter’s performance was significantly different for the training vs. test stimuli (M = 85.4% vs. M = 50.0%). This otter was not able to categorize the novel drawings into two categories. More tests are planned to further investigate categorization abilities in river otters.
P28Using Hunt and Toy Drive to Determine Career Success in Working Dogs
Jordan A. Gillespie, Jennifer L. Essler, Alisa Rubinstein, Kaylee Krapp, Ceara Byrne, & Cynthia M. Otto (University of Pennsylvania)
Many studies have evaluated differences and consistencies in the behaviors of various dog breeds throughout early development. These behavioral examinations carry significant importance in working dog training and research as they can be utilized to determine the future potential of young dogs in different careers. This study focuses on a retrospective analysis of a behavioral test adapted by the Penn Vet Working Dog Center that evaluates the environmental soundness and hunt and toy drive of future working dogs as puppies (n=45) throughout training to determine behavioral patterns indicative of dogs that successfully complete training in three different careers: single-purpose scent detection, dual-purpose police K9s, and search and rescue. The test consisted of multiple evaluations performed at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months of age. Stress, toy engagement, and hunting (for toy) behaviors were analyzed. A decision tree model was used to determine various behavioral trends indicative of success in each career.
P29Preferences for conspecifics in discoid cockroaches (Blaberus discoidialis)
Riley Doyle-Odenbach, Sarah Schmale, Stephanie Perrier, Amanda Rose Newton, & Darby Proctor (Florida Institute of Technology)
Cockroaches are one of the most widespread animal lineages on the planet. Despite this, relatively little is known about their behavior or cognitive abilities, particularly when compared to well-studied animals such as rats, pigeons, and primates. Recently, we began using discoid cockroaches (Blaberus discoidialis) in place of other animals in our psychology undergraduate curriculum. One advantage of cockroaches over traditional animal models is that undergraduates can conduct meaningful research due to the dearth of information we have about roaches generally and discoid roaches specifically. Here we present the results of a series of experiments primarily carried out by undergraduate students. We were interested in whether roaches would show evidence of individual recognition of other roaches. We conducted a series of choice assessments to determine if the discoid roaches preferred to be alone, with a familiar roach from the same colony, or an unfamiliar roach from a different colony. Roaches preferred to be with other roaches, but did not discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar individuals. This suggests that discoid roaches are social, but indiscriminately so. Furthermore, this work demonstrates that undergraduates can meaningfully contribute to the scientific understanding of these animals.
P30Cognitive Comparison of Same-Strain Rats from Two Commercial Vendors
Claire C. Jackman, Katherine H. Dyer, Emily A. Miles, Rachael E. Lowe, Jessica L. Sharp, & Stephen B. Fountain (Kent State University)
Previous work in our lab used rat offspring from breeders supplied by Envigo (ENV) in years past and Charles Rivers Laboratories (CRL) more recently. Some studies using ENV rats showed different acquisition rates and performance of serial patterns compared to studies using CRL rats after switching vendors. The current study used both ENV and CRL rats raised by suppliers to directly examine sex and vendor differences in rats’ response to the serial multiple choice (SMC) task. Rats trained daily in an octagonal operant chamber to nose-poke a serial pattern, 123-234-345-456-567-678-781-818, where digits represent successive locations of correct responses. The nose-poke receptacles, one per wall, produced an 8-location circular spatial array. After acquisition, a scopolamine (SCOP) challenge was administered to assess this muscarinic antagonist’s effect on retention (Chenoweth & Fountain, 2015). The acquisition and SCOP challenge results were compared with previous research which used offspring from CRL breeders. Results showed rats from suppliers learned the serial pattern to a better performance level compared to CRL rats bred in-house. We conclude that future work should use rats from suppliers rather than breeding in-house to reduce individual differences within groups for more consistent data and thus reduce animal use.
P31Face Processing Regions in Dogs’ Brains Using Live Stimuli During Awake-FMRI
Kirsten Gillette, Erin Phillips, Phyllis Guo, Ashley Prichard, Kate Athanassiades (Emory University), Mark Spivak (Comprehensive Pet Therapy), & Gregory Berns (Emory University)
Previous research to localize face areas in dogs’ brains has relied on static images or videos. However, most dogs do not naturally engage with two-dimensional images, raising the question of whether dogs perceive such images as representations of real faces and objects. To measure the equivalency of live and two-dimensional representations in the dog’s brain, during fMRI we presented dogs two live action stimuli (actors and objects) as well as videos of the same actors and objects. The dogs (N=12) were presented with 20 second long blocks of faces and objects in random order four times per scan run. Three runs consisted of live stimuli and three consisted of video stimuli. For live faces vs. live objects, we found that dogs showed a mean signal change of 1.51% +/- 0.30% in the primary dog face area vs. 0.49% +/- 0.20% for video stimuli (interaction p=0.008). Similarly, the superior temporal sulcus showed a 1.42% +/- 0.42% change in mean signal difference for live stimuli vs. 0.28% +/- .21% for video (interaction p=0.009). These results suggest that using live stimuli to define face processing regions in the dog brain is more effective than using videos.
P32The role of the rat dorsal posterior parietal cortex in attentional processing
Emma Halter, Carina Alessandro (Providence College), Taylor Wise (Brown University), Victoria Heimer-McGinn (Rodger Williams University), & Victoria Templer (Providence College)
The aim of this study was to determine and perhaps dissociate the contribution of the dorsal Posterior Parietal Cortex (dPPC) to top-down and bottom-up attention. The five choice serial reaction time task (5CSRTT) was used to tap both the goal-driven ability to modulate attention (top-down) and stimulus guided attention (bottom-up). Rats were preoperatively trained to nose-poke in one of five briefly-illuminated ports. Rats then received either sham or neurotoxic lesions to the dPPC. In addition to post-operative testing on the standard 5CSRTT task, probe challenges were presented that were designed to tax relative contributions of top-down vs. bottom-up attention. Lesioned animals showed a deficit in accuracy of choice and a longer latency for correct choice in the first three days of post-operative testing. The loss of this effect in later days might suggest compensatory cognitive strategy and/or alternate neural circuits. However, an increase in omissions during the later days of testing indicates a possible attentional deficit overall in lesioned rats. The challenges were shown to be equally as difficult for both lesioned and sham animals. The extent to which top-down vs. bottom-up processing relies on the dPPC will be discussed.
P33Evidence for involvement of the rat dorsal posterior parietal cortex in spatial recognition memory
Robert Vera, Colin Call, Emma Halter (Providence College), Taylor Wise (Brown University), Victoria Heimer-McGinn (Roger Williams University), & Victoria Templer (Providence College)
Attention to the environment and corresponding spatial memory is essential for creation of spatial maps of an animal’s environment. The aim of this study was to assess the role of the rat dorsal Posterior Parietal Cortex (dPPC) in spatial object recognition in simple and complex environments, as well as spatial acquisition and long-term retention in the Barnes maze. Rats received either sham or neurotoxic lesions to the dPPC, followed by a period of recovery before behavioral tasks began. Although no group differences in preference for novel objects were seen in simple tasks, sham animals consistently explored novel objects for longer durations and for greater numbers of bouts than lesioned animals. In the complex environment, results indicated possible attentional or memory deficits in the lesioned animals, as seen by a loss of preference for novel objects in the most basic object recognition portion of the experiment. Barnes maze results do not indicate robust differences in memory between groups. However, lesioned animals used significantly fewer direct search strategies for this task than shams, adding to the possibility of spatial memory deficits in PPC lesioned animals.
P34A comparison of human and rodent performance on the 5:1 Olfactory Discrimination Task using identical odorants.
Chris Evonko, Ashley Kiser, Kayla Vigilante, Nicholas Swain, & David MacQueen (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
With expanded availability of apparatus for controlled presentation of odors, scents are increasingly serving as stimuli for cognitive testing in rodents. Yet, there is limited data regarding the consistency of olfactory abilities between humans and rodents. The present study compared performance of mice and humans on an automated 5:1 odor discrimination task (ODT). Mice were trained in a chamber with a “smell port” through which odors could be presented. Subjects initiated trials by entering the port, and could respond to odors by licking a sensor. Reward was delivered when subjects maintained licking during target odor presentation (5 odors), or stopped licking during non-target (1 odor) presentations. In human testing, participants held a smell port below their nose and responded with a hand-held button. Mice trained to stability produced near perfect performance. Humans underperformed relative to mice regardless of which odor served as the non-target. Accuracy in humans was dependent on non-target assignment, suggesting that these odorants were not equally discriminable. Human participants additionally completed a standardized battery of olfactory function (odor threshold, discrimination, and identification). Relationships between human ODT performance and olfactory function will be discussed.
P35An underestimated welfare concern in captive wildlife: Influences, risks, and solutions around captivity-induced boredom
Olivia Scott (Macalester College)
The present literature review establishes that the conditions of captivity give rise to an underestimated welfare concern: boredom. Captivity for wild animals introduces unnatural stressors while removing opportunity for animals to engage in species-specific behaviors. Even when sensory stimuli, environmental conditions, and social stressors are addressed, captivity remains inherently monotonous and restrictive. Monotony is clearly linked to boredom in humans, and increasingly in non-human animals, with evidence of highly detrimental consequences when sustained. Monotony is also clearly linked to Abnormal Repetitive Behaviors (ARBs), which can often be a sign of suboptimal welfare. ARBs can be resistant to treatment in some individuals. Theoretically, detecting boredom should enable caretakers to identify in which cases ARBs should be treatable with intervention, as opposed to arising from central nervous system changes. The most highly indicated intervention for preventing and treating ARBs is environmental enrichment. To be effective, enrichment must reduce predictability without inducing stress, encourage naturalistic behaviors and skills, and be tailored to the individual receiving treatment. Drawing the connection between ARBs and boredom opens up new possibilities for increasing welfare for wildlife in captivity.
P36Fishing for Sound and Movement: Red-Bellied Piranhas Catch a Cue
Amity Jordan, & Jennifer Vonk (Oakland University)
Cues are signals utilized by organisms to engage in behaviors or processes that affect learning and behavior response in individuals in groups. Although there is a growing body of work examining cognition and cue response in various fish species, piranhas have yet to be tested in psychological research. Understanding more how piranhas feed, forage, hunt, and avoid predator threats will allow us to understand how various disruptions may affect their behaviors in response to their changing habitats. It is important to determine whether piranhas prioritize sound or movement during hunting activities because there is a potential that increased environmental stress caused by humans may impact how aquatic predators find their prey. We set out to examine whether carnivorous piranhas, when hunting, prioritize auditory cues over visual cues to find their prey using a competitive cue paradigm in which moving lights were paired with acoustic cues. After the shoal learned to associate a pair of cues with food, the cues were re-paired to determine which cue the shoal would respond to.
P37Geometry and landmark representation by Clark’s nutcrackers is not mediated by hemispheric lateralization
Breanna Cheri, & Debbie M. Kelly (University of Manitoba)
During navigation, animals will often use visuospatial cues provided by the environment, such as geometry and features, to locate a goal. Clark’s nutcrackers in particular show flexibility in cue use during spatial tasks. Previous work with pigeons and chicks has suggested differential processing of spatial cues by the two brain hemispheres. Our task investigated hemisphere specific processing of spatial cues by Clark’s nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana). Two groups of birds learned to locate a central goal in either a featureless square arena, or an arena containing a central landmark. Tests were conducted under binocular and monocular viewing conditions to assess the degree of lateralized processing of geometric and featural cues. When tested in an arena that was double the size of the trained environment, birds searched near the center indicating that they were using relative metrics for encoding geometry. When the landmark was present but relocated, nutcrackers showed a stronger reliance on this featural cue over the geometric information from the arena. However, in contrast to previous research with pigeons and chicks, we found no significant differences between viewing conditions suggesting less hemispheric lateralization for processing visuospatial information by nutcrackers. Our results support species-differences among birds for processing of spatial information.
P38Labeling of Emotional Events in Pigeons and Humans: The Acquisition and Transfer of Visual Labels
Cheyenne Elliott, Madie Westbrook, Kylie Brown, Margarette Alvarado, Kenneth Leising (Texas Christian University), & David Stahlman (University of Mary Washington)
Traditional theories of emotion labeling posit that humans use verbal labels to identify, discriminate, and act upon interoceptive sensations caused by external events. For example, one may learn to say the word “fear” (not “happy” or “sad”) to label one’s responses (e.g., increased heartrate) to dangerous stimuli. While nonhuman animals are nonverbal, drug discrimination studies have demonstrated that they can differentially respond based on differing drug states. The current study examined whether humans and pigeons learn to select different visual labels following the delivery or omission of a reinforcer, and whether they transferred the use of labels to other discriminative stimuli. The results indicated that, for both pigeons and humans, acquisition and transfer of the visual labels occurred, but only after trials that required labeling were trained in separate sessions from other trials. Additionally, across several experiments, humans showed transfer of the labels only when trials required a single response rather than multiple responses. Tests were conducted with pigeons to determine which cues controlled labeling (e.g., interoceptive state, their behavior, or audiovisual stimuli associated with the events). Pigeons maintained labeling behavior when they could not eat, but showed reduced accuracy when the stimuli accompanying the reinforcing event were removed.
P39The Effects of Overtraining on Short-Cut Taking in Rats
Isabelle Banke, & Joshua Wolf (Carroll University)
Animals use a variety of search strategies to find food or an opportunity to escape. Under experimental conditions (e.g., during testing the originally trained path is blocked) animals may attempt to navigate to a previously rewarded location by taking a novel path or a short-cut. The purpose of the current experiment was two-fold. First, we investigated whether rats would take the shorter path during testing if the originally trained path was still available. Second, we wanted to see if extensive training past criterion would cause rats in the overtraining group to take the shorter path less often. Previous research has demonstrated that as the number of training trials increases, search strategies shift from place or directional responding to favor a more stimulus-response based strategy. Rats were trained to navigate a modified two-arm maze to find a Froot Loop(c) and were tested with an available shorter path immediately after reaching criterion or after completing an additional 30 trials after criterion was met. Some rats took the novel path but the amount of training did not influence how often the shorter path was chosen.
P40Effects of Temporal Delay Type on Human Choice in a Concurrent Chains Procedure
Southern, R. A., Bond, S. R., Edwards, V. M., Jasmer, J. A., Marsh, M. S., Smith, A. L., Stagner, J. P., Bodily, & K. D. (Georgia Southern University)
Stagner & Zentall (2010) found that pigeons chose a lower probability of reinforcement (20%) alternative that was followed by predictive stimuli rather than a higher probability of reinforcement (50%) alternative that was followed by non-predictive stimuli. To investigate the generality of this finding, we adapted this concurrent-chains procedure for use by human participants. Building on our previous research, the current study manipulated the length of delays between the initial and terminal links (e.g., Spetch et al., 1990, McDevitt et al., 1997, Cunningham et al., 2019). The stimuli presented during the delay were manipulated between groups. Choice allocation was analyzed and compared to the generalized matching model. Although there was no change in mean choice preference across blocks, there was an improvement in model fit from block one to block two. This supports the conclusion that obtained reinforcers more accurately account for choice allocation compared to reinforcement predictors.
P41Effects of Reinforcement Probability on Human Preference in a Concurrent-Chains Procedure
Bond, S. R., Edwards, V. M., Jasmer, J. A., Marsh, M. S., Smith, A. L., Southern, R.A., Stagner, J. P., Bodily, & K. D. (Georgia Southern University)
When given two alternatives that payoff equally, pigeons prefer an alternative that is followed by stimuli that predict reinforcement (Roper & Zentall, 1999). We adapted this procedure for human participants to assess if the preference for predictive stimuli generalized across species. The current study investigated the effects of overall reinforcement probability and forced exposure trials on preference for stimuli that predict reinforcement. Analyses showed no effect of block or condition, and no interaction. Choice allocation was submitted to the generalized matching model, revealing that choice allocation was accounted for by obtained reinforcers.
P42Category Difference Facilitates Oddity Learning in Honeybees (Apis mellifera)
Nicole Muszynski (Wabash College University of Hawaii at Manoa), & Patricia Couvillon (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
Performance of honeybees resembles that of vertebrates in a variety of associative learning experiments. Recent work has focused on same/different problems to assess relational learning which is not easily explained by associative principles. Honeybees have successfully solved trial-unique three-stimulus oddity problems with two-color pattern stimuli, although there is room for improvement. The aim of the present experiment was to incorporate a category difference into an oddity problem to facilitate oddity learning. In a preliminary experiment, honeybees easily discriminated solid colors from two-color patterns with new pairs on every trial, a result suggesting category learning. Two groups of honeybees then were trained in four-stimulus trial-unique oddity problems. Group 1 was trained with a category difference among the stimuli on every trial; a solid color was odd on half the trials and a two-color pattern was odd on the others. Group 2 was trained with no category difference; all stimuli were two-color patterns. Both groups showed better-than-chance performance, an indication of the robustness of honeybee oddity learning. However, the proportion of correct choice for Group 1 (category) was significantly greater than that for Group 2 (no category). The results suggest that the presence of a category difference facilitated an oddity discrimination.
P43Recovery after Extinction in Rats using Olfactory Stimuli
Genevieve Guidone, Sophie Pinneke, Calista Holt, Mark Galizio, & Kate Bruce (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Psychologists studying animal learning reliably observe recovery of behavior after extinction. Current theoretical models describe this both as “renewal” and as “resurgence.” Renewal emphasizes contextual changes; resurgence studies recovery after a second response is extinguished. We used a modified operant chamber with olfactometers to train 9 rats to center-nosepoke in the context of Odor A under a VI-30s schedule for food reinforcement. Center-nosepoking was then extinguished. In the ABA Renewal condition, extinction occurred in the presence of Odor B; in the AAB Renewal condition, extinction occurred in the presence of Odor A; in the Resurgence condition, extinction occurred while reinforcing the alternative behavior of nose-poking in the right port in the presence of Odor A. Rats were then tested for recovery of center nose-poking in the context of Odor A (ABA Renewal and Resurgence) or Odor B (AAB Renewal). Each rat experienced all three conditions, using different odors, and rats had different testing orders. Surprisingly, rats showed little evidence of renewal and no evidence of resurgence. Thus, we are expanding the current study to explore other variables that are critical to observe resurgence and renewal.
P44The relationship between behavioral and autonomic measures of fear conditioning in humans
Brittany Fust, Zebulon K. Bell, & Martha Escobar (Oakland University)
Signals of a potentially threatening event can elicit a myriad of autonomic and controlled responses. The present study uses a novel categorization task that allows for assessment of acquisition of a fear conditioned response using concurrent measurement of behavioral (reaction time) and autonomic (gaze and pupil dilation) responses, using human participants and an eyetracker. In order to achieve conditioning, a signal (a picture) was paired with an outcome (a burst of white noise) in one of several probabilistic relationships. Following acquisition of the fear response, the signal was presented in the absence of the potential threat, and extinction of the fear response was assessed. Differences in the time course of acquisition and extinction of the behavioral and autonomic components of fear conditioning will be discussed.
P45Acute Administration of 7,8 dihydroxyflavone To Attenuate Memory Deficits in a Rat Model of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
Jacob Dowell, Bradley Vandecar, Claire Bova, & Martha Escobar (Oakland University)
Alcohol exposure during the gestational period can result in a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), primarily characterized by an array of cognitive, physical, and developmental disabilities. Some of the deficits observed in children with FASD resemble those observed in neurodegenerative disorders in aging individuals, which have been attenuated by infusion of the protein Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). 7,8 dihydroxyflavone (DHF) is a potent agonist for the BDNF receptor Tyrosine kinase B, supplementing the protein. Our laboratory has observed that chronic administration of small doses (5 mg/kg) of 7,8-DHF to pups exposed to moderate levels of alcohol during gestation can attenuate the otherwise observed spatial memory deficits. The present study used a Y maze to determine whether acute administration of a large dose (30 mg/kg) 7,8-DHF could have the same beneficial effect. Preliminary results suggest that acute administration of 7,8-DHF is not as effective as chronic administration in ameliorating the effects of prenatal exposure of alcohol.
P46Differential outcomes facilitate acquisition of a visual discrimination with rats
Cokie Nerz, Callie Benavides, Esraa Almualimi, Daniel Alvarez-Torres, Cheyenne Elliott, & Ken Leising (Texas Christian University)
In the laboratory, learning to make different responses (e.g., lever pressing vs. chain pulling) is facilitated by different outcomes (e.g., food vs. water) for each response. The current research aimed to extend this differential outcomes effect (DOE) to rats performing a visual discrimination. Rats were required to nose-poke to initiate the presentation of either a flashing or steady light. Pressing a lever to the left of the feeding niche was reinforced during one visual stimulus (e.g., flashing light), whereas presses to the right lever were reinforced during the other visual stimulus (e.g., solid light). In the experimental group, the rats received a different outcome for each correct response (e.g., flashing light- left lever-sucrose; solid light-right lever-chocolate pellets). In the control group, rats received one outcome (e.g., sucrose) for both responses. During initial training, a response bias was detected in all groups. All groups were retrained and a correction procedure added, which required rats to repeat the trial after an incorrect response. Consistent with previous research using auditory stimuli, rats that received differential outcomes acquired the discrimination faster than rats in the control groups.
P47Relational Reasoning in Dogs
Erica Kennedy, Spencer Schading, Krista Sawyer, & Sabrina Morton (Frostburg State University)
Relational reasoning is often thought to be a higher cognitive ability seen in limited species. This kind of reasoning was once thought to be linked to language training in non-human primates, but more recent evidence suggests this reasoning ability can been seen in a wider range of species. Little research has been done, however, on the relational reasoning abilities of dogs. The purpose of this study was to present dogs with a relational reasoning problem similar to those presented to non-human primates. In this study, pet dogs from a variety of breeds were presented with two large plastic containers which were used to hide a food reward. Each container was marked with pairs of visual stimuli that either represented “sameness” (two triangles) or “difference” (one square and one circle). The location of the hidden food was determined by a relational rule, with each dog randomly assigned to have “sameness” or “difference” represent the correct choice. Dogs were presented with 20 trials, with different randomized visual stimuli marking the containers hiding the food. Data collection is ongoing, but preliminary analysis suggests that dogs are not sensitive to these visual relational cues in solving this task.
P48Personality Impacts on Pet Preference
Riley Macgregor, Lindsey Johnson, & Lucas Keefer (University of Southern Mississippi)
Past research has shown personality similarity in pet-owner relationships (Turcsan et al., 2012). We tested whether personality similarity might also impact pet selection, particularly for cats and dogs. Participants (N=957) rated their interest in adopting each of the five cats and dogs based on profiles representing high scores on each positively valanced Big Five trait. Similarity effects were tested by correlating rater traits with evaluations of each profile. Results indicated similarity preferences for all traits (except neuroticism) when considering dog personality preference, but only with openness and agreeableness when considering cat preference. High ratings in neuroticism predicted liking of the emotionally stable (i.e., low neuroticism) pet profiles, a complementarity effect. Results demonstrate notable cross-species and cross-trait differences that speak to the importance of personality traits in pet selection. This information furthers our understanding of the human-pet dynamic and may be helpful in identifying ideal matches for pet adoptions.
P49Select This or Reject That? Using the Blank Comparison Task to Assess Select and Reject Control in Learning Simple Discriminations
Bobbie Faith Wolff, Ceili Anne Casadei, Mark Galizio, & Kate Bruce (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
To perform a simple discrimination task, animals learn either to “select” the correct stimulus (S+) or “reject” the incorrect stimulus (S-). The Blank Comparison (BLC) Task is a procedure allowing for the assessment of select and reject controlling relations in humans and non-humans. This uses a simple discrimination paradigm that includes an ambiguous stimulus (BLC+/-), response to which is differentially reinforced based on its relation to baseline stimuli (S+ and S-). This task has been used to assess stimulus-controlling relations in humans as well as macaques, but not rodents, which are used in models of comparative cognition. Typically, the task utilizes visual stimuli in a simultaneous presentation procedure, but for rodents, odor stimuli were presented. Rats were trained to remove scented lids from sand filled cups in a two-choice, simultaneous presentation procedure. Then they were trained on the BLC Task, using a blocked training procedure that included select (S+ and BLC-) and reject (BLC+ and S-) trial types. All rats have attained at least 75% accuracy in sessions with both select and reject type trials. The BLC Task provides insight into exclusion learning, and is currently being used in the Odor Span Task, to assess how rats perform this task.
P50Colour classical conditioning in zebrafish: A novel automated home-tank paradigm
Alexis Buatois, Zahra Siddiqi, Sadia Naim, Tolib Marawi, & Robert Gerlai (University of Toronto Mississauga)
Classical conditioning is defined as the learning of association between a previously neutral stimulus (the conditioned stimulus) and a reinforcer that has inherent value due to natural predisposition (the unconditioned stimulus). This form of learning has been explored in numerous species from insects to mammals and using different stimulus modalities like auditory and visual cues. Visual cues are particularly appropriate for the diurnal zebrafish, which uses vision as its primary modality. Zebrafish possess four colour photoreceptors, as well as a simple and evolutionarily-conserved brain, making them a good model to study visual learning and memory. Colour-based classical conditioning has already been conducted in zebrafish using methodology that involved human handling. Human handling, however, represents a confound as it induces stress and anxiety, a major problem in zebrafish learning studies. Here, we propose a new method based upon the use of an automated home-tank in which fish are required to associate a particular colour-light emitted by an LED with food reward. The time of coloured light displaying, as well as the quantity of food released are controlled electronically, allowing removal of human interactions during the experiment. Here we report the learning performance of fish in this new system.