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Author (up) Pokorná, M.; Bartošová, J. pdf  openurl
  Title Social learning in horses Type Conference Article
  Year 2012 Publication Proceedings of the 2. International Equine Science Meeting Abbreviated Journal Proc. 2. Int. Equine. Sci. Mtg  
  Volume in press Issue Pages  
  Keywords horse, human demonstrator, interspecific observational learning  
  Abstract Social observational learning is one of learning abilities expected in domestic horses (Equus caballus) because of their ecological and evolutional history. However, a few studies on this type of learning in horses failed to provide clear evidence of observational learning and/or could not distinguished it from other types of learning. We tested interspecific observational learning abilities using the spatial task and a human demonstrator. We hypothesised that 1) horses with possibility of observing a human demonstrator will complete the task in shorter time than control horses without any demonstrator, and 2) horses observing a familiar demonstrator will carry out the task in shorter time than horses with an unfamiliar demonstrator due to established positive human-horse relationship. We randomly allocated 24 riding horses of mixed age and breed to three groups per 8 and started the task either with observing a familiar demonstrator, unfamiliar demonstrator or without demonstrator (control group). Each horse was released individually at the starting point in the experimental paddock and the latency to pass the task was recorded. A horse completed the task once it walked 25 m from the starting point to the squared area (4x4 m) fenced by a tape, went into it through the entrance on the opposite side and touched the bucket with food. Eight people served as demonstrators, each for one familiar and one unfamiliar horse. Horses from groups with a demonstrator, either familiar or unfamiliar, reached the food bucket significantly faster than control horses during the first trial (mean±SE: 29.1±3.13 s with familiar, 28.9±3.13 s unfamiliar and 41.5 ± 3.13 s without demonstrator, P<0.02, GLMM, PROC MIXED, SAS). Horses did not differ in time needed to reach the fence of the squared area, but in “solving time”, i.e. time from reaching the fence of the squared area and touching the bucket (14.6±2.34, 14.3±2.34 and 27.6±2.34 s in horses with familiar, unfamiliar or without demonstrator, P<0.001). Despite our presumption, the horses observing a familiar demonstrator finished the task in comparable time as horses with an unfamiliar demonstrator (P=0.85) which indicated little effect of long lasting positive relationship between a horse and a particular human. We found, however, large individual variability in performance of individual demonstrators. Further, horses did not differ in time needed to pass the same task without a demonstrator repeated either shortly or 7 days after the first test which supported that interspecific observational learning rather than social facilitation occurred. In conclusion, horses with a human demonstrator, regardless familiar or unfamiliar, were able to solve the task in shorter time compared to control horses but they did not differ in performing repeated task if they learned it by individual or social learning process. This indicates that interspecific observational learning does occur in horses. Supported by AWIN, EU FP7 project No. 266213.  
  Corporate Author Pokorná, M. Thesis  
  Publisher Xenophon Publishing Place of Publication Wald Editor Krueger, K.  
  Language Summary Language Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN 978-3-9808134-26 ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 5529  
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