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Author Leliveld, L.M.C.; Düpjan, S.; Tuchscherer, A.; Puppe, B. url  doi
  Title Behavioural and physiological measures indicate subtle variations in the emotional valence of young pigs Type Journal Article
  Year 2016 Publication Physiology & Behavior Abbreviated Journal Physiol. Behav.  
  Volume 157 Issue Pages 116-124  
  Keywords Emotion; Heart rate; Vocalisation; Emotional valence; Animal welfare; Domestic pig  
  Abstract Abstract In the study of animal emotions, emotional valence has been found to be difficult to measure. Many studies of farm animals' emotions have therefore focussed on the identification of indicators of strong, mainly negative, emotions. However, subtle variations in emotional valence, such as those caused by rather moderate differences in husbandry conditions, may also affect animals' mood and welfare when such variations occur consistently. In this study, we investigated whether repeated moderate aversive or rewarding events could lead to measurable differences in emotional valence in young, weaned pigs. We conditioned 105 female pigs in a test arena to either a repeated startling procedure (sudden noises or appearances of objects) or a repeated rewarding procedure (applesauce, toy and straw) over 11 sessions. Control pigs were also regularly exposed to the same test arena but without conditioning. Before and after conditioning, we measured heart rate and its variability as well as the behavioural reactions of the subjects in the test arena, with a special focus on detailed acoustic analyses of their vocalisations. The behavioural and heart rate measures were analysed as changes compared to the baseline values before conditioning. A limited number of the putative indicators of emotional valence were affected by the conditioning. We found that the negatively conditioned pigs showed changes that were significantly different from those in control pigs, namely a decrease in locomotion and an increase in standing. The positively conditioned pigs, however, showed a stronger increase in heart rate and a smaller decrease in SDNN (a heart rate variability parameter indicating changes in autonomic regulation) compared to the controls. Compared to the negatively conditioned pigs, the positively conditioned pigs produced fewer vocalisations overall as well as fewer low-frequency grunts but more high-frequency grunts. The low-frequency grunts of the negatively conditioned pigs also showed lower frequency parameters (bandwidth, maximum frequency, 25% and 50% quartiles) compared to those of the positively conditioned pigs. In any of the statistically significant results, the conditioning accounted for 1.511.9% of variability in the outcome variable. Hence, we conclude that repeated moderate aversive and rewarding events have weak but measurable effects on some aspects of behaviour and physiology in young pigs, possibly indicating changes in emotional valence, which could ultimately affect their welfare. The combination of ethophysiological indicators, i.e., the concurrent examination of heart rate measures, behavioural responses and especially vocalisation patterns, as used in the current study, might be a useful way of examining subtle effects on emotional valence in further studies.  
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  Language Summary Language Original Title  
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  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN 0031-9384 ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6017  
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