A consideration of the role of biology and test design as confounding factors in judgement bias tests

Published on Nov 1, 2020in Applied Animal Behaviour Science2.187
· DOI :10.1016/J.APPLANIM.2020.105126
Alexandra L. Whittaker11
Estimated H-index: 11
(University of Adelaide),
Timothy Hugh Barker7
Estimated H-index: 7
(University of Adelaide)
Source
Abstract
Abstract The assessment of positive emotional states in animals has been advanced considerably through the use of judgement bias testing. JBT methods have now been reported in a range of species. Generally, these tests show good validity as ascertained through use of corroborating methods of affective state determination. However, published reports of judgement bias task findings can be counter-intuitive and show high inter-individual variability. It is proposed that these outcomes may arise as a result of inherent inter- and intra-individual differences as a result of biology. This review discusses the potential impact of sex and reproductive cycles, social status, genetics, early life experience and personality on judgement bias test outcomes. We also discuss some aspects of test design that may interact with these factors to further confound test interpretation. There is some evidence that a range of biological factors affect judgement bias test outcomes, but in many cases this evidence is limited and needs further characterisation to reproduce the findings and confirm directions of effect. It is our proposition that researchers should consider dedicated study on these factors and their impact on judgement biasing. This is needed to confirm effect, and investigate mechanisms. Alternately, consideration and reporting of these factors in JBT studies through incorporation in statistical analyses will provide much needed additional data on their impact. These actions will enhance the validity and practical applicability of the JBT for welfare assessment.
📖 Papers frequently viewed together
13 Citations
17 Citations
References143
Newest
#1Timothy Hugh Barker (University of Adelaide)H-Index: 7
#2Gordon S. Howarth (University of Adelaide)H-Index: 50
Last. Alexandra L. Whittaker (University of Adelaide)H-Index: 11
view all 3 authors...
Abstract Legislative direction has encouraged the standard laboratory practice of group-housing rats used for scientific purposes. It has been demonstrated that this type of housing causes the induction of anxiety-like behaviours in subordinate animals. Despite previous studies documenting the negative effects of stress on learning, there has been relatively little attention given to the effects of subordination on animal learning. The aim of this study therefore, was to assess the effects of so...
2 CitationsSource
#1Vikki NevilleH-Index: 4
#2Shinichi Nakagawa (UNSW: University of New South Wales)H-Index: 90
Last. Michael T Mendl (UoB: University of Bristol)H-Index: 60
view all 8 authors...
Abstract Validated measures of animal affect are crucial to research spanning numerous disciplines. Judgement bias, which assesses decision-making under ambiguity, is a promising measure of animal affect. One way of validating this measure is to administer drugs with affect-altering properties in humans to non-human animals and determine whether the predicted judgement biases are observed. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis using data from 20 published research articles that use ...
17 CitationsSource
#1Benjamin Lecorps (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 6
#2Sarah Kappel (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 5
Last. Marina A.G. von Keyserlingk (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 26
view all 4 authors...
Negative social interactions have been extensively studied in dairy cattle, but little is known about the establishment of positive (preferential) relationships. Adult dairy cows are known to spend more time at close proximity to specific social partners, indicating that they establish stronger bonds with these animals, but few studies have explored what happens in socially housed calves. In this study, we explored whether calves that spent their entire life in the same social group established ...
5 CitationsSource
#1Jessie E. C. Adriaense (University of Vienna)H-Index: 3
#2Jordan S. Martin (University of Vienna)H-Index: 5
Last. Thomas Bugnyar (University of Vienna)H-Index: 47
view all 5 authors...
Emotional contagion is described as an emotional state matching between subjects, and has been suggested to facilitate communication and coordination in complex social groups. Empirical studies typically focus on the measurement of behavioral contagion and emotional arousal, yet, while highly important, such an approach often disregards an additional evaluation of the underlying emotional valence. Here, we studied emotional contagion in ravens by applying a judgment bias paradigm to assess emoti...
25 CitationsSource
#1Sanne Roelofs (UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)H-Index: 1
#1Sanne Roelofs (UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)H-Index: 5
Last. Rebecca E. Nordquist (UU: Utrecht University)H-Index: 21
view all 6 authors...
Low birth weight (LBW) is a risk factor for cognitive and emotional impairments in humans. In pigs, LBW is a common occurrence, but its effects on cognition and emotion have received only limited scientific attention. To assess whether LBW pigs suffer from impaired cognitive and emotional development, we trained and tested 21 LBW and 21 normal birth weight (NBW) pigs in a judgment bias task. Judgment bias is a measure of emotional state which reflects the influence of emotion on an animal’s inte...
3 CitationsSource
#1Laura Lozano-Montes (EPFL: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)H-Index: 2
#2Simone Astori (EPFL: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)H-Index: 8
Last. Ioannis Zalachoras (EPFL: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne)H-Index: 11
view all 6 authors...
Reward signals encoded in the mesolimbic dopaminergic system guide approach/seeking behaviors to all varieties of life-supporting stimuli (rewards). Differences in dopamine levels have been found between dominant and submissive animals. However, it is still unclear whether these differences arise as a consequence of the rewarding nature of the acquisition of a dominant rank, or whether they preexist and favor dominance by promoting reward-seeking behavior. Given that acquisition of a social rank...
10 CitationsSource
8 CitationsSource
#1Benjamin Lecorps (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 6
#2Brent R. Ludwig (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 1
Last. Daniel M. Weary (UBC: University of British Columbia)H-Index: 94
view all 4 authors...
Judgment bias tests use responses to ambiguous stimuli to infer emotional states in animals. However, with repeated testing, animals can learn to recognize the previously ambiguous stimuli rendering the test less effective. We describe a novel approach to this problem. Calves (n=9) were trained in a spatial discrimination task to associate 5 locations with a specific probability of reward/punishment (Positive: 100%/0%; Near-Positive: 75%/25%; Middle: 50%/50%; Near-Negative: 25%/75%; Negative: 0%...
12 CitationsSource
#1Kristina M. Horback (UC Davis: University of California, Davis)H-Index: 8
#2T. D. Parsons (UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)H-Index: 3
Last. Thomas D. Parsons (UPenn: University of Pennsylvania)H-Index: 14
view all 2 authors...
Abstract Societal concerns about animal welfare have triggered the movement of gestating sows from individual stalls to group housing in many countries. Common methods of assessing sow welfare focus on overt physical ailments, and potentially neglect psychological stressors. A judgement bias task may allow researchers to evaluate an animal’s subjective mental or affective state to provide a more comprehensive welfare assessment. Thus, group housed sows were trained to a spatial differentiation t...
5 CitationsSource
#1Annie Gott (Newcastle University)H-Index: 4
#2Clare Andrews (Newcastle University)H-Index: 13
Last. Melissa Bateson (Newcastle University)H-Index: 47
view all 5 authors...
Judgement bias tasks are designed to provide markers of affective states. A recent study of European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) demonstrated modest familial effects on judgement bias performance, and found that adverse early experience and developmental telomere attrition (an integrative marker of biological age) both affected judgement bias. Other research has shown that corticosterone levels affect judgement bias. Here, we investigated judgement bias using a modified Go/No Go task in a new c...
5 CitationsSource
Cited By3
Newest
#1Laura MarshH-Index: 1
#2Mark R. HutchinsonH-Index: 46
Last. Alexandra L. WhittakerH-Index: 11
view all 9 authors...
The ability to assess the welfare of animals is dependent on our ability to accurately determine their emotional (affective) state, with particular emphasis being placed on the identification of positive emotions. The challenge remains that current physiological and behavioral indices are either unable to distinguish between positive and negative emotional states, or they are simply not suitable for a production environment. Therefore, the development of novel measures of animal emotion is a nec...
Source
There is an increasing focus on evidence-based welfare assessment by animal care staff in zoos, along with a strong interest in animal welfare by the zoo-visiting public, to the extent that this can influence their choice of institutions to visit. Regulatory oversight of animal welfare standards continues to strengthen across many jurisdictions. Zoos are increasingly formalizing their practices with the development and refinement of evidence-based welfare assessment tools. There has been a drive...
Source
#1Irene Camerlink (PAN: Polish Academy of Sciences)H-Index: 16
Last. Jean-Loup RaultH-Index: 16
view all 5 authors...
Abstract The importance of social stability and its influence on the expression of the social behaviour repertoire in domestic animals remains poorly understood, especially for affiliative behaviours and other putative socio-positive behaviours such as social play. This study investigated the occurrence and type of social behaviours, with a focus on socio-positive behaviours, and their relation to growth and welfare indicators within groups of littermates vs. groups composed of pigs from several...
3 CitationsSource