Elodie Briefer

Elodie Briefer
University of Copenhagen · Department of Biology

BSc MSc PhD

About

74
Publications
19,928
Reads
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1,915
Citations
Additional affiliations
June 2019 - present
University of Copenhagen
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
June 2017 - May 2019
ETH Zurich
Position
  • Senior Researcher
January 2013 - May 2017
ETH Zurich
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
September 2005 - December 2008
Université Paris 13 Nord
Field of study
  • Behavioural Biology
September 2000 - August 2005
Université Paris-Sud 11
Field of study
  • Biology and Behavioural Biology

Publications

Publications (74)
Article
Full-text available
Background Discrimination and perception of emotion expression regulate interactions between conspecifics and can lead to emotional contagion (state matching between producer and receiver) or to more complex forms of empathy (e.g., sympathetic concern). Empathy processes are enhanced by familiarity and physical similarity between partners. Since he...
Preprint
Features varying more between than within individuals are usually considered as potential cues for individual recognition. According to the source-filter theory of vocal production, the fundamental frequency of mammal's vocalisations depends on the characteristics of the vocal folds, while formants are determined by the characteristics of the vocal...
Preprint
Dominance hierarchies help to reduce unnecessary fights and associated costs during the mating season. Fallow deer ( Dama dama ) typically have high levels of male-male competition and strong reproductive skew. Nevertheless, how male dominance and daily fight rates affect mating success remains unknown. We used a two-year dataset from a large popul...
Article
Full-text available
Vocal expression of emotions has been observed across species and could provide a non-invasive and reliable means to assess animal emotions. We investigated if pig vocal indicators of emotions revealed in previous studies are valid across call types and contexts, and could potentially be used to develop an automated emotion monitoring tool. We perf...
Article
Full-text available
Non-human primates (primates) are regarded as key research subjects for pre-clinical trials of several drugs aimed to alleviate human suffering. It has long been suggested that the predominant species in the international trade in live primates for use in research is the long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis). However, little is still known abou...
Article
Full-text available
The temporal structure of animals' acoustic signals can inform about context, urgency, species, individual identity, or geographical origin. We present three independent ideas to further expand the applicability of rhythm analysis for isochronous, that is, metronome-like, rhythms. A description of a rhythm or beat needs to include a description of...
Article
Full-text available
Public concern for farm animal welfare is increasing. Animal welfare is defined as the balance of positive and negative emotions, where positive emotions are key to a good animal life. Emotion is defined as an experience that varies in valence and arousal. Many methods developed to identify positive emotions in animals involve disadvantages, for ex...
Article
Full-text available
Stereotypies are common in captive animals, but it remains unclear if they are pathological by-products of captive conditions or if they have an adaptive function. Here, we address this question using crib-biting, a common type of stereotypic behaviour in domestic horses, thought to result from stressful or frustrating environments. Since chronic s...
Chapter
Emotions guide behavioural decisions in response to events or stimuli of importance for the organism, and thus, are an important component of an animal’s life. Communicating emotions to conspecifics allows, in turn, the regulation of social interactions (e.g. approach and avoidance). The existence of common rules governing vocal expression of affec...
Article
Full-text available
Animals are likely to appraise events as positive or negative based on their subjective perception, current state and past experiences. We tested the effects of anticipating positive (food anticipation), negative (inaccessible food) and neutral (clicker sound) events on behavioural and physiological responses of 30 goats. The experimental paradigm...
Preprint
Emotions, unlike mood, are short-lived reactions associated with specific events. They can be characterized by two main dimensions, their arousal (bodily activation) and valence (negative versus positive). Knowledge of the valence of emotions experienced by domestic and captive animals is crucial for assessing and improving their welfare, as it ena...
Preprint
Full-text available
Emotions, unlike mood, are short-lived reactions associated with specific events. They can be characterized by two main dimensions, their arousal (bodily activation) and valence (negative versus positive). Knowledge of the valence of emotions experienced by domestic and captive animals is crucial for assessing and improving their welfare, as it ena...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Evidence from humans suggests that the expression of emotions can regulate social interactions and promote coordination within a group. Despite its evolutionary importance, social communication of emotions in non-human animals is still not well understood. Here, we combine behavioural and physiological measures, to determine if animals...
Article
Full-text available
Although stereotypic behaviors are a common problem in captive animals, why certain individuals are more prone to develop them remains elusive. In horses, individuals show considerable differences in how they perceive and react to external events, suggesting that this may partially account for the emergence of stereotypies in this species. In this...
Article
Emotion expression plays a crucial role for regulating social interactions. One efficient channel for emotion communication is the vocal-auditory channel, which enables a fast transmission of information. Filter-related parameters (formants) have been suggested as a key to the vocal differentiation of emotional valence (positive versus negative) ac...
Article
Full-text available
Functional asymmetries, e.g. the preferential involvement of one brain hemisphere to process stimuli, may increase brain efficiency and the capacity to carry out tasks simultaneously. We investigated which hemisphere was primarily involved in processing acoustic stimuli in goats using a head-orienting paradigm. Three playbacks using goat vocalisati...
Article
Full-text available
Stereotypies in animals are thought to arise from an interaction between genetic predisposition and sub-optimal housing conditions. In domestic horses, a well-studied stereotypy is crib-biting, an abnormal behaviour that appears to help individuals to cope with stressful situations. One prominent hypothesis states that animals affected by stereotyp...
Article
Full-text available
Emotions can be defined as an individual’s affective reaction to an external and/or internal event that, in turn, generates a simultaneous cascade of behavioural, physiological, and cognitive changes. Those changes that can be perceived by conspecifics have the potential to also affect other’s emotional states, a process labelled as “emotional cont...
Article
Full-text available
Measuring emotions in nonhuman mammals is challenging. As animals are not able to verbally report how they feel, we need to find reliable indicators to assess their emotional state. Emotions can be described using two key dimensions: valence (negative or positive) and arousal (bodily activation or excitation). In this study, we investigated vocal e...
Article
Communicating emotions to conspecifics (emotion expression) allows the regulation of social interactions (e.g. approach and avoidance). Moreover, when emotions are transmitted from one individual to the next, leading to state matching (emotional contagion), information transfer and coordination between group members are facilitated. Despite the hig...
Article
Full-text available
Vocal expression of emotions has been suggested to be conserved throughout evolution. However, since vocal indicators of emotions have never been compared between closely related species using similar methods, it remains unclear whether this is the case. Here, we investigated vocal indicators of emotional valence (negative versus positive) in Przew...
Article
Full-text available
Background Non-human animals often produce different types of vocalisations in negative and positive contexts (i.e. different valence), similar to humans, in which crying is associated with negative emotions and laughter is associated with positive ones. However, some types of vocalisations (e.g. contact calls, human speech) can be produced in both...
Article
Full-text available
When identifying other individuals, animals may match current cues with stored information about that individual from the same sensory modality. Animals may also be able to combine current information with previously acquired information from other sensory modalities, indicating that they possess complex cognitive templates of individuals that are...
Article
In ewes, the ovulatory response of females exposed to familiar rams is lower than the response of those exposed to novel ones. In goats, males rendered sexually active by exposure to long days are more efficient to induce ovulation in seasonal anestrous females than untreated males. Two experiments were conducted to determine 1) whether male goats...
Article
Full-text available
Individual recognition in gregarious species is fundamental in order to avoid misdirected parental investment. In ungulates, two very different parental care strategies have been identified: “hider” offspring usually lie concealed in vegetation whereas offspring of “follower” species remain with their mothers while they forage. These two strategies...
Article
Individual recognition in gregarious species is fundamental in order to avoid misdirected parental investment. In ungulates, two very different parental care strategies have been identified: “hider” offspring usually lie concealed in vegetation whereas offspring of “follower” species remain with their mothers while they forage. These two strategies...
Article
Full-text available
This study aimed to conduct a preliminary survey to investigate basic ownership factors, frequency of microchipping and insurance and views of pet rabbit owners on these areas and general rabbit management. More specifically, we aimed to investigate whether owners possess insurance, whether their rabbits are microchipped, and owners’ views on the r...
Article
Modulation of the autonomic nervous system activity (ANS) allows animals to effectively respond to internal and external stimuli in everyday challenges via changes in for example, heart and respiration rate. Various factors, ranging from social such as dominance rank, to internal such as personality or affective states can impact on animal physiolo...
Article
Full-text available
Background Mammal vocal parameters such as fundamental frequency (or pitch; fo) and formant dispersion often provide information about quality traits of the producer (e.g. dominance and body size), suggesting that they are sexually selected. However, little experimental evidence exists demonstrating the importance of these cues in intrasexual compe...
Article
Full-text available
Studying vocal correlates of emotions is important to provide a better understanding of the evolution of emotion expression through cross-species comparisons. Emotions are composed of two main dimensions: emotional arousal (calm versus excited) and valence (negative versus positive). These two dimensions could be encoded in different vocal paramete...
Article
Emotions are important because they enable the selection of appropriate behavioural decisions in response to external or internal events. Techniques for understanding and assessing animal emotions, and particularly positive ones, are lacking. Emotions can be characterized by two dimensions: their arousal (bodily excitation) and their valence (negat...
Article
Full-text available
Machine learning techniques are becoming an important tool for studying animal vocal communication. The goat (Capra hircus) is a very social species, in which vocal communication and recognition are important. We tested the reliability of a Multi-Layer Perceptron (feed-forward Artificial Neural Network, ANN) to automate the process of classificatio...
Article
Full-text available
The computational demands of sociality (maintaining group cohesion, reducing conflict) and ecological problems (extractive foraging, memorizing resource locations) are the main drivers proposed to explain the evolution cognition. Different predictions follow, about whether animals would preferentially learn new tasks socially or not, but the preval...
Article
Full-text available
Vocalizations encode a range of information about the caller, and variation in calling behavior and vocal structure may provide listeners with information about the motivation and condition of the caller. Fallow bucks only vocalize during the breeding season and can produce more than 3000 groans per hour. Males modulate their calling rates, calling...
Article
Parallels between birdsong and human language are numerous and include particular temporal arrangements of acoustic units and the existence of dialects. In animal communication, modifications of the temporal ordering of existing acoustic units have rarely been clearly linked with changes in information content, particularly in a natural environment...
Article
Full-text available
Animals can use their environments more efficiently by selecting particular sources of information (personal or social), according to specific situations. Group-living animals may benefit from gaining information based on the behaviour of other individuals. Indeed, social information is assumed to be faster and less costly to use than personal info...
Article
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jzo.12083/abstract We conducted a study of the male rut vocalizations (groans) of two closely related species, Persian and European fallow deer. Persian fallow deer are endangered, restricted to Iran and Israel, and their rut vocalizations have never been studied. By contrast, European fallow deer are one...
Conference Paper
Research on animal temperament has increased significantly over recent years. Animal temperament is very similar to human personality, and is defined as individual differences that are consistent over time and between situations (Réale et al., 2007). There is some evidence suggesting that dogs physically resemble their owners (Roy and Christenfeld,...
Article
Moods influence cognitive processes in that people in positive moods expect more positive events to occur and less negative ones (“optimistic bias”), whereas the opposite happens for people in negative moods (“pessimistic bias”). The evidence for an effect of mood on cognitive bias is also increasing in animals, suggesting that measures of optimism...
Article
Full-text available
Polyandry is widespread, but its adaptive significance is not fully understood. The hypotheses used to explain its persistence have rarely been tested in the wild and particularly for large, long-lived mammals. We investigated polyandry in fallow deer, using female mating and reproduction data gathered over 10 years. Females of this species produce...
Data
Number of matings by females and males and number of individuals involved in matings for each age class, over the 10 year study
Article
Full-text available
Horses are often kept in individual stables, rather than in outdoor groups, despite such housing system fulfilling many of their welfare needs, such as the access to social partners. Keeping domestic stallions in outdoor groups would mimic bachelor bands that are found in the wild. Unfortunately, the high level of aggression that unfamiliar stallio...
Article
Emotions play a crucial role in an animal's life because they facilitate responses to external or internal events of significance for the organism. In social species, one of the main functions of emotional expression is to regulate social interactions. There has recently been a surge of interest in animal emotions in several disciplines, ranging fr...
Article
Full-text available
Parent-offspring recognition is crucial for offspring survival. At long distances, this recognition is mainly based on vocalizations. Because of maturation-related changes to the structure of vocalizations, parents have to learn successive call versions produced by their offspring throughout ontogeny in order to maintain recognition. However, becau...
Article
Vocal plasticity is the ability of an individual to modify its vocalizations according to its environment. Humans benefit from an extreme form of vocal plasticity, allowing us to produce a wide range of sounds. This capacity to modify sounds has been shown in three bird orders and in a few nonhuman mammal species, all characterized by complex vocal...
Article
The source–filter theory is an important framework recently applied to the study of animal vocalisations, which links the mode of vocal production to call parameters. Vocalisations can be good indicators of a sender's characteristics, such as identity, body size, age, and even hormonal status and affective states. For these reasons, applied vocal c...
Article
Full-text available
Parent-offspring recognition can be essential for offspring survival and important to avoid misdirected parental care when progeny mingle in large social groups. In ungulates, offspring antipredator strategies (hiding vs. following) result in differences in mother-offspring interactions, and thus different selection pressures acting on the recognit...
Data
Mating dates of young males, older males, lower-ranking males and high-ranking males according to female age. Number of young males (3-4 years old, above left), older males (5-9 years old, below left), lower-ranking males (rank>20, above right) and high-ranking males (ranks 1-20, below right) mating on each day of the rut with yearlings (1 year old...
Data
Dates of mating of yearlings and older females according to the age and dominance rank of their mates. Number of yearlings (1 year old, above) and older females (2-19 years old, below) mating on each day of the rut with young (3-4 years old, empty squares) versus older males (5-9 years old, full squares, left) and high-ranking (ranks 1-20, empty sq...
Article
Full-text available
Assortative mating can help explain how genetic variation for male quality is maintained even in highly polygynous species. Here, we present a longitudinal study examining how female and male ages, as well as male social dominance, affect assortative mating in fallow deer (Dama dama) over 10 years. Assortative mating could help explain the substant...
Article
Full-text available
The Skylark Alauda arvensis is a territorial species of open landscape in which pairs settle in stable and adjacent territories during the breeding season. Due to the heterogeneity of the habitat, territories are gathered in patches spaced by a few kilometres, in which each male produces very long and complex flight songs as a part of the territori...
Article
Full-text available
Discriminating threatening individuals from non-threatening ones allow territory owners to modulate their territorial responses according to the threat posed by each intruder. This ability reduces costs associated with territorial defence. Reduced aggression towards familiar adjacent neighbours, termed the dear-enemy effect, has been shown in numer...
Data
Age: 7, rank: 11/58. Groans produced by the same male (as in additional file 1) when he was seven years old and lower ranking (11/58). The fundamental frequency and minimum frequencies of the highest formants are higher than for the groans in Additional file 1.
Data
Age: 8, rank: 24/58. Groans produced by the same male (as in Additional files 1 and 2) when he was eight years old and his rank had declined further (24/58). The fundamental frequency and minimum frequencies of the highest formants are higher than for the groans in Additional files 1 and 2.
Data
Age: 6, rank: 2/58. Groans produced by a male when he was six years old and high ranking (2/58). The fundamental frequency and minimum frequencies of the highest formants are low.
Article
Full-text available
Male sexually selected vocalisations generally contain both individuality and quality cues that are crucial in intra- as well as inter-sexual communication. As individuality is a fixed feature whereas male phenotypic quality changes with age, individuality and quality cues may be subjected to different selection pressures over time. Individuality (...
Article
In songbirds, song complexity and song sharing are features of prime importance for territorial defence and mate attraction. These aspects of song may be strongly influenced by changes in social environment caused by habitat fragmentation. We tested the hypothesis that habitat fragmentation induced by human activities influences song complexity and...