Congrats to Lindsey!

10 11 2019

Lindsey’s Behavioural Processes paper (and first first-authored paper!) is now up online:

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Spoiler alert: the answer is no it doesn’t.

And from this we learned to not use this form of social learning again to assess demonstrator quality: it hinted at being useful once, but I now think it’s really too blunt an instrument.

Our cat faces paper is out today!

30 10 2019

Out cat facial expressions study is out at last (and faced with videos of Sylvie playing, and Luke having his rump scratched, 87% of 3,200 participants identified positive affect!).

Click here for the paper, and here to find out more and test your own cat-reading abilities.

Below, Mouse, most readable of cats in our first pilot:

Mouse's faces for Twitter


Our cat faces paper is nearly out!

22 10 2019

… so we’re busy drafting a press release for the paper, and creating  “test yourself” mini-questionnaires, maybe for launch on Monday if all works out. I’m just so happy that 87% of 3,100 people could recognise a happy Sylvie face: that means it’s not just all in my head!

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In press at last!

16 10 2019

Lindsey’s social learning paper got accepted at last, after not one, not two, but THREE rounds of revision. One referee was like a dog with a bone, though I have to admit the paper’s better as a result.

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New theses in the Atrium!

16 09 2019

Congratulations to Sam, and also to Aimee who defended last week too (write-up still to come but teaching’s obliterating everything right now): the final theses of both of them are now online!

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Affect-modulated startle in hens!

20 08 2019

Misha’s first hen paper came out this week! In this work we assessed whether improved welfare would reduce chickens’ startle magnitudes (check: the first evidence for affective modulation of this reflex in birds!), and also make their judgment biases more optimistic (kind of … but only if you squint and look at a subset of birds). We then looked to see whether these two forms of stimulus appraisal covary (nope).

It’s lovely, lovely work, produced after a painfully long parturition (tough – if not unreasonable – stats requests from our referees, who also showed alarming convictions that any test you label ‘judgment bias’ is automatically a window into an animal’s very soul).

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Mink brain paper in press at last!

6 08 2019

So exciting to see this paper now in the ‘in press’ section of Behavioural Brain Research!

We successfully found individual correlates of stereotypic behaviour (in the nucleus accumbens), but they differed for different sub-types, and also were not affected by housing even though this was massively impactful on behaviour (and despite some independent evidence that housing altered direct:indirect pathway activity). Morals: stereotypic behaviours really are heterogeneous; and the neurological correlates of individual variation may tell you nothing at all about how barren housing causes this behaviour (something that remains a mystery in these animals).

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