Left-right asymmetries in behaviour associated with asymmetries in the brain are widespread in the animal kingdom, and the hypothesis has been put forward that they may be linked to animals’ social behaviour. Dogs show asymmetric tail wagging responses to different emotive stimuli - the outcome of different activation of left and right brain structures controlling tail movements to the right and left side of the body. A crucial question, however, is whether or not dogs detect this asymmetry. Here we report that dogs looking at moving video-images of conspecifics exhibiting prevalent left- or right- asymmetric tail wagging showed higher cardiac activity and higher scores of anxious behaviour when observing left- rather than right-biased tail wagging. The finding that dogs are sensitive to the asymmetric tail expressions of other dogs supports the hypothesis of a link between brain asymmetry and social behavior, and may prove useful to canine animal welfare theory and practice.

Seeing left or right asymmetric tail wagging produces different emotional responses in dogs

SINISCALCHI, Marcello;QUARANTA, Angelo
2013

Abstract

Left-right asymmetries in behaviour associated with asymmetries in the brain are widespread in the animal kingdom, and the hypothesis has been put forward that they may be linked to animals’ social behaviour. Dogs show asymmetric tail wagging responses to different emotive stimuli - the outcome of different activation of left and right brain structures controlling tail movements to the right and left side of the body. A crucial question, however, is whether or not dogs detect this asymmetry. Here we report that dogs looking at moving video-images of conspecifics exhibiting prevalent left- or right- asymmetric tail wagging showed higher cardiac activity and higher scores of anxious behaviour when observing left- rather than right-biased tail wagging. The finding that dogs are sensitive to the asymmetric tail expressions of other dogs supports the hypothesis of a link between brain asymmetry and social behavior, and may prove useful to canine animal welfare theory and practice.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/136067
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