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Factors influencing the temporal patterns of dyadic behaviours and interactions between domestic cats and their owners

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Abstract

Human-cat dyads may be similar in interaction structure to human dyads because many humans regard their cats as being social companions. Consequently, we predict that dyadic structure will be contingent on owner and cat personalities, sex, and age as well as duration of cohabitation of the partners. Forty owner-cat dyads were visited in their homes, on four occasions, during which their behaviours and interactions were video-taped. Behaviour was coded from tape and was analysed for temporal (t)-patterns using Theme (Noldus; Magnusson, 1996). Owner personality was assessed using the NEO-FFI. Five cat personality axes were identified by Principal Component Analysis (PCA) based on observer-rated items and on coded behaviours. We found that the higher the owner in neuroticism, the fewer t-patterns occurred per minute. The higher the owner in extraversion, the higher was the number of non-overlapping patterns per minute. The more "active" the cat, the fewer non-overlapping patterns occurred per minute, but the higher was the event type complexity. The older the cat, the lower was dyadic event type complexity. We suggest that basic temporal structures similar to those of human-cat dyads may also be found in other long-term and complex dyadic relationships, including those between humans.

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... Turn-taking of this sort forms a basis for communication, one in which conversational interchange becomes possible (20). Recent studies of human-cat relationships have emphasized that both the cat and the human affect and contribute to the relationship and bond involved (21,22). ...
... Yet another approach assessing personality qualities of cats generated factors using a principal components analysis based on observer ratings and behavior codings (21). Four factors involved in social interactions included active, anxious, sociable, and rough. ...
... Obtaining a kitten from a breeder or shelter seemed better than obtaining a cat that was feral, or from a newspaper ad, or other source. As previously highlighted (21,22), the cat-human relationship is affected by both participants, and these results reveal that many variables can play a role in achieving a desirable relationship for a cat and child. ...
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Although studies involving pet dogs and cats, and human adults and children, have been reported, the specific interactions between cats and children have not. This study sought information from parents about the cat's role in families that have at least one child 3–12 years of age and at least one cat. Demographic data on cat source, breed, gender/neuter status, was sought as well as information on adults and children in the families and on affectionate, aggressive, fearful, and playful responses of the cats to children. A convenience sample was recruited via listservs for pet owners and parents. Using a pilot tested web survey, descriptive statistics were based on 865 respondents. Multi-variate statistical analyses were conducted on data from 665 respondents with complete responses for all items, including respondents' locations and whether cats were adopted as kittens. Multi-variate analyses included consideration of demographic data, geographic region of respondents, behavioral characteristics of the cats, and responses of the children to the cats. From descriptive statistics, cats' affection was more typical with adults than young children. Neuter status or gender was unrelated to cats' aggression or affection. Being the family's only cat was associated with heightened aggression and reduced affection. Younger cats were more likely to be affectionate. Multivariate analysis revealed three primary factors accounting for children's compatibility with the specified cat: positive interactions of the cat, aggression/fearfulness of cat, and the cat's playfulness and children's reaction to the cats. Positive child-cat relationships were more typical with two or more adults and multiple cats in the home. Old cats were the least satisfactory. A breeder or shelter was a better source than as a feral, from a newspaper ad, or another source. European respondents rated their cats' interactions with children more favorably than in U.S./Canada. This difference may reflect the European adoptions more frequently being of kittens, often purebred, assuring more early handling within the family. A noteworthy finding was that all family participants, humans, and pets alike, affect the cat-child relationship, and these results reveal that many variables can play a role in achieving a desirable relationship for a cat and child.
... The latter, when approaching an older cat, held their tail up, likely to inhibit expected aggression based on previous encounters. In all these studies, ear positions or tail position were studied separately (see also [34]). In addition, Cameron-Beaumont [35] analyzed separately either the sender's tail position or that of the receiver. ...
... In all these studies, ear positions or tail position were studied separately (see also [34]). In addition, Cameron-Beaumont [35] analyzed separately either the sender's tail position or that of the receiver. ...
... position A 0 B 2 [23] (p. 195), "back and flat", [32], and see [28,34]). Two modalities of tail position were considered: "Up", as defined in Cameron-Beaumont's study [35], and whether the tail was held horizontal or below the plane of the cat's back. In both modalities the possible movements of the tail were not taken into account. ...
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Visual communication involves specific signals. These include the different positions of mobile body elements. We analyzed visual configurations in cats that involve ears and the tail. We aimed at deciphering which features of these configurations were the most important in cats’ interactions with other cats and with humans. We observed a total of 254 cat–cat interactions within a sample of 29 cats, during a total of 100 h of observation scheduled with the “Behavioral dependent onset of sampling” method and using the “All occurences” sampling method. In addition, we sampled 10 interactions between cats and humans. In cat–cat interactions, we noted the positions of ears and tail of both protagonists, as well as the outcome of the interaction, which was either positive/neutral or negative. In a great majority of the 254 interactions sampled, both cats held their tail down. On the contrary, ear position was a critical element in predicting the outcome. When both partners held their ears erect, the outcome was significantly positive, such as rubbing or close proximity. In all other cases of the position of ears in both cats, the outcome was negative, with increased distance of the partners. Although the tail did not seem to play a significant role in visual configurations in cat interactions, the “tail-up” display was important when a cat approached a human being. In the vast majority of cases the cat rubbed itself on a human’s leg(s). Thus, we may conclude that the presence of a human has a specific meaning in the cat’s world, probably as the result of a long period of commensalism. It is important for pet owners to understand the signals that cats use with other cats and with humans in order to promote the welfare of cats.
... The 'Friendliness with strangers' trait shows how cats react to unknown people. Besides our results, cats' friendliness also emerged as a trait in the paper of Wedl et al (Wedl et al., 2011). Cats' age and sex did not have a significant main effect on the friendliness trait. ...
... Women were found in general to have more intense connections with their pets (Adamelli et al., 2005), their interactions involve more repeating, complex behavioral patterns (Wedl et al., 2011), and women are also more empathic with their pets (Angantyr et al., 2011). There are indications that being more empathetic and communicative has a closer evolutionary association with females (Tanner and Zihlman, 2014;Vitulli, 2006). ...
... The effect showed an asymmetryif cats were the initiators of play, the owner reported less frequent pointing cueing. Such an asymmetry in cat-human interactions was also suggested by others before (Wedl et al., 2011). In our case, the asymmetry can be the result of the different levels of attention particular owners assign to their cats. ...
Article
Although domestic cats are among the most common companion animals, we still know very little about the details of the cat-human relationship. With a questionnaire, we asked 157 Hungarian cat owners about their pet's behavior, cognitive abilities and social interactions. We analyzed the responses with PCA resulting in 11 traits. The effect of cats’ and owners’ demographic variables on the main components was further analyzed with GLM. The results showed strong similarity to the surveys performed with companion dogs, but we also found features that were mainly cat-specific. We found that women considered their cats to be more communicative and empathetic, than men did (p = 0.000). The higher education owners also considered their cat as being more communicative and empathetic (p = 0.000). We also found that owners use pointing signals more often if the cat is their only pet (p = 0.000), and otherwise they do not give verbal commands often to the cat (P = 0.001). Young owners imitated cat vocalization more often (p = 0.006); while emotional matching of the cat was more commonly reported by elderly owners (p = 0.001). The more an owner initiated playing with his/her cat, the imitation of cat vocalizations was also more common in his/her case (p = 0.001). Owners think that their cat shows stronger emotional matching if otherwise they experience human-like communicative capacity from the cat (p = 0.000). Owners use more pointing signals in the case of those cats that show attention-eliciting signals in more than one modality (p = 0.000). Owners who react to the meows of unfamiliar cats, initiated interactions more often with their own cats (p = 0.000). Owners also think that cats vocalize in every possible context, and this result was not affected significantly by any of the independent factors. Our results show that owners considered their cat as a family member, and they attributed well developed socio-cognitive skills to them. Because cats have an important role as a companion animal, it would be worthy to study cat behavior with similar thoroughness as with dogs. Our questionnaire may provide a good starting point for the empirical research of cat-human communication. The deeper understanding of cats’ socio-cognitive abilities may also help to improve cat welfare.
... We also found elements related to the owner as well as environmental and management characteristics that may predispose cats to be reported by owners as having signs consistent with SRP. Cats might be regarded as social partners for their owners and vice-versa [51]. For instance, a previous study found temporal patterns of interaction between owners and their cats. ...
... For instance, a previous study found temporal patterns of interaction between owners and their cats. Those patterns vary depending on factors that influence the human-cat bond and relationship, such as the owners and cats personalities and owners sex [51]. For example, the more extroverted the owner's personality, the higher the frequency of interactions with their cats. ...
... For example, the more extroverted the owner's personality, the higher the frequency of interactions with their cats. Moreover, in dyads with a female owner, the number of interactions per minute was higher when compared to dyads with a male owner [51]. In general, both domiciled and shelter cats can benefit from human contact and they seek it through affiliative behaviors [19,47,51,52]. ...
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Identifying and preventing the occurrence of separation-related problems (SRP) in companion animals are relevant to animal welfare and the quality of human-pet interactions. The SRP are defined as a set of behaviors and physiological signs displayed by the animal when separated from its attachment person. In cats, SRP has been insufficiently studied. Thus, the objective of this study was to develop a questionnaire for cat owners which identifies behaviors that may indicate SRP, as well as relates the occurrence of SRP to the management practices applied in the sampled cats. The associations of SRP with cats' characteristics , as well as owner, environmental, and management traits were investigated. The questionnaire was developed based on the scientific literature about separation anxiety syndrome in dogs and a few papers in cats, and it was completed by 130 owners of 223 cats. Analysis of owners' answers was done through categorization and acquisition of relative frequencies of each response category, followed by Fisher's exact test, chi-square tests in contingency table and Multiple Correspondence Analysis. Among the sampled animals, 13.45% (30 / 223) met at least one of the behavioral criteria we used to define SRP. Destructive behavior was the most frequently reported behavior (66.67%, 20 / 30), followed by excessive vocalization (63.33%, 19 / 30), urination in inappropriate places (60.00%, 18 / 30), depression-apathy (53.33%, 16 / 30), aggressiveness (36.67%, 11 / 30) and agitation-anxiety (36.67%, 11 / 30) and, in lower frequency, defecation in inappropriate places (23.33%, 7 / 30). The occurrence of SRP was associated with the number of females living in the residence (P = 0.01), with not having access to toys (P = 0.04), and no other animal residing in the house (P = 0.04). Separation-related problems in domestic cats are difficult to identify due to the limited amount of knowledge regarding the issue. The questionnaire developed in this study supported identification of the main behaviors likely related to SRP in cats and could be used as a starting point for future research.
... One limitation of this method is the time and effort required to quantify several behavioral categories for each studied animal. However, the coding record has the advantage of being objective, allowing automated behavioral recordings and/or the use of software that could facilitate data collection [88]. ...
... Finally, observers' ratings have been criticized on the basis of the level of anthropomorphism that is inherent to the method, defined as the attribution of human motivations, characteristics, or emotions to non-human animals [93]. There are only a few studies that have compared the outcomes of rating and coding methods and they concluded that they are, to a certain extent, in agreement [34,69,88]. ...
... Sociability was defined based on latency to contact, duration of proximity to humans, and a higher frequency of meow vocalizations [80]. Similar behaviors, ranging from erect ears and sociable to vocal and locomotion, were used to express the sociable dimension by Wedl et al. [88]. Independent-gregarious and gregariousness were also used to express dimensions comparable to friendliness [95,101]. ...
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Temperament can be defined as interindividual differences in behavior that are stable over time and in different contexts. The terms ‘personality’, ‘coping styles’, and ‘behavioral syndromes’ have also been used to describe these interindividual differences. In this review, the main aspects of cat temperament research are summarized and discussed, based on 43 original research papers published between 1986 and 2020. We aimed to present current advances in cat temperament research and identify potential gaps in knowledge, as well as opportunities for future research. Proximate mechanisms, such as genetic bases of temperament, ontogenesis and developmental factors, physiological mechanisms, and relationships with morphology, were reviewed. Methods traditionally used to assess the temperament of cats might be classified based on the duration of procedures (short- vs. long-term measures) and the nature of data recordings (coding vs. rating methods). The structure of cat temperament is frequently described using a set of behavioral dimensions, primarily based on interindividual variations in cats’ responses toward humans and conspecifics (e.g., friendliness, sociability, boldness, and aggressiveness). Finally, cats’ temperaments have implications for human–animal interactions and the one welfare concept. Temperament assessment can also contribute to practical aspects, for example, the adoption of shelter cats.
... Wedl et al. (36) used a relatively new tool to analyze the structure of human-cat interactions observed in the home setting, namely Theme R (Noldus bv, The Netherlands). Strings of video recorded owner and cat behaviors were analyzed during four visits to each of 40 cat-owning households. ...
... She also found that interactions with women had a higher reciprocity and therefore probably both the person and the cat enjoyed high-quality relationships. In a more recent study, Wedl et al. (36) found that female owners entertained a more structured interaction with their cats than male owners and that extraverted owners have relatively varied interaction patterns with their animals. From a PCA analysis of answers to a questionnaire by Hungarian cat owners, Pongracz and Szapu (38) reported that women considered their cats to be more communicative and empathetic than men did and that emotional matching of the cat was more commonly reported by elderly owners than young owners. ...
... There are even fewer studies of the effect of cat age on cathuman interactions. Wedl et al. (36) employed the Theme R algorithm to their observational data and determined that the older the cat, the lower the dyadic event type complexity, meaning that the strings of cat behavior in interaction with their owners are shorter in old cats than young ones. This probably reflects decreased activity levels and playfulness with age in cats. ...
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This is a mini review that summarizes what is known from quantitative observational studies of social interactions between domestic cats and humans in both laboratory colonies and the home setting. Only results from data that have been statistically analyzed are included; hypotheses still to be tested will be declared as such. In some cases, the observational data have been combined with independently collected subjective assessments by the owners of the animals' character and owner personality traits to help interpret the data. Further some relevant experimental studies are also included. All social interactions between cats and humans that are discussed below assume that the animals were socialized to people as kittens, the first topic of this review. Such socialized cats show what might be called “friendliness to humans,” which in turn affects human attachment to the cat. The visual and acoustic behavioral elements used to communicate and interact with other cats can be perceived by people and are also employed by the cats when interacting with them. The initiation, and the initiator of social interactions between cats and humans have been shown to influence both the duration of the interaction bout and total interaction time in the relationship. Compliance with the interactional “wishes” of the partner is positively correlated between the cats and the humans over all human-cat dyads examined. Cats do not spontaneously prefer one gender or age cohort of people, but the humans in those cohorts behave differently to the cats causing the latter to react differentially. The dyadic interaction structure has also been shown to differ between women and men and between older and younger adults. Nevertheless, cats—merely their presence but of course their behavior—can affect human moods and human mood differences have been shown to affect the behavior of the cats. Finally, differences have been found between interactions with purebred and non-purebred cats and between younger and older cats.
... Research investigating pet owners' personalities has tended to focus on the relationship between personality and pet preference or attachment style, or the complementarity of owner and pet personality and associated owner satisfaction [90][91][92][93][94]. The relationship between owner personality or emotionality and handling styles has also received some attention [9,18,19,95], although this has predominantly focused on dogs. Additionally, whilst inferences about the subsequent impact of owner personality on the wellbeing of their pets are made [94,96,97], parameters relating to the actual welfare of the animals are rarely applied or are less than conclusive. ...
... Caretaker/owner personality traits that are beneficial in one species may not be so in others. For example, whilst in 2010 Wedl et al found that the dogs of more neurotic owners spent greater time in their proximity [102], similar observations in cats found that those with more neurotic owners chose to interact with them less [95]. The domestic cat is now one of the most common companion animals globally. ...
... overall quality and quantity of indoor and outdoor resources provided), or more holistic aspects of caretaker style (e.g. that encompass the owner's general behavioural style towards the cat). Evidence does suggest that owner personality affects interpersonal behaviour [149] and that, in the short-term, cats' interactions with more neurotic owners suggest less active participation and thus more avoidance from the cat [95]. However, in dogs, short-term assessments of owner's behaviour towards their dogs found no relationship between owner-dog interaction styles and owner Neuroticism [18]. ...
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Human personality may substantially affect the nature of care provided to dependants. This link has been well researched in parents and children, however, relatively little is known about this dynamic with regards to humans’ relationships with non-human animals. Owner interactions with companion animals may provide valuable insight into the wider phenomenon of familial interactions, as owners usually adopt the role of primary caregiver and potentially surrogate parent. This study, using cats as an exemplar, explored the relationship between owner personality and the lifestyles to which cats are exposed. In addition, it explored owner personality as it related to reported cat behaviour and wellbeing. Cat owners (n = 3331) responded to an online survey examining their personality and the health, behaviour and management of their cats. Owner personality was measured using the Big Five Inventory (BFI) to assess: Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Neuroticism and Openness. Owners also provided information concerning the physical health, breed type, management and behavioural styles of their cats. Generalised linear mixed models were used to identify relationships between owner personality and a range of factors that may have welfare implications for the wider companion animal population, and specifically, cats. Higher owner Neuroticism was associated with an increased likelihood of non-pedigree rather than pedigree cat ownership, a decreased likelihood of ad libitum access to the outdoors, cats being reported as having a ‘behavioural problem’, displaying more aggressive and anxious/fearful behavioural styles and more stress-related sickness behaviours, as well as having an ongoing medical condition and being overweight. Other owner personality traits were generally found to correlate more positively with various lifestyle, behaviour and welfare parameters. For example, higher owner Extroversion was associated with an increased likelihood that the cat would be provided ad libitum access to the outdoors; higher owner Agreeableness was associated with a higher level of owner reported satisfaction with their cat, and with a greater likelihood of owners reporting their cats as being of a normal weight. Finally higher owner Conscientiousness was associated with the cat displaying less anxious/fearful, aggressive, aloof/avoidant, but more gregarious behavioural styles. These findings demonstrate that the relationship between carer personality and the care received by a dependent, may extend beyond the human family to animal-owner relationships, with significant implications for the choice of management, behaviour and potentially the broader wellbeing of companion animals.
... In Australia, almost 53,000 cats were received by RSPCA shelters in 2014-2015, with about a third of these cats eventually euthanized [23], and in the United States, an estimated 3.4 million cats enter animal shelters annually, with about 41% of these euthanized [24]. Personality assessment may increase compatibility of cat-owner placements through shelter adoption [2], with the understanding that personality of owners also influences cat behaviour [25] and therefore ideally both personality of prospective owner and cat would be assessed for compatibility [26]. For example, people scoring high on Neuroticism may have fewer and less complex interactions with their cats [25]. ...
... Personality assessment may increase compatibility of cat-owner placements through shelter adoption [2], with the understanding that personality of owners also influences cat behaviour [25] and therefore ideally both personality of prospective owner and cat would be assessed for compatibility [26]. For example, people scoring high on Neuroticism may have fewer and less complex interactions with their cats [25]. Cat owners through use of informed management practices, such as appropriate housing, enrichment, grouping, health and wellbeing strategies related to individual cat personalities may enhance the quality of life of their cats. ...
... Early cat personality studies relied on systematic observation of cat behaviour and coding methods, which involves generating an ethogram, and then systematically recording frequency or duration of behavioural categories [16,27,28], such as a cat's responses to presentations of novel objects [29,30] or unfamiliar persons [2,31,32]. Though coding was considered to be objective [14], the subjective rating of comprehensive personality traits by people (usually carers) who know the animals well (the rating method), is now used more frequently [8,25], and is considered a more reliable, practical and time-efficient approach [33]. Following the generation of a comprehensive list of species-relevant behavioural traits [34], rating usually occurs along a Likert scale to indicate the level of trait expression generally demonstrated by the animals [16]. ...
Article
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The idea of animals possessing personalities was once dismissed by the scientific community, but has since gained traction with evidence for potential application to improve captive animal management and welfare. Although domestic cats are popular companion animals, research has tended to overlook the value of personality assessment for management and care of pet cats. The aim of this study was to investigate personality in a large sample of pet cats with a view to understanding practical implications for pet cats in the home. Personality of 2,802 pet cats, from South Australia and New Zealand, was rated by their owners utilising a survey measuring 52 personality traits. Five reliable personality factors were found using principal axis factor analysis: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Dominance, Impulsiveness and Agreeableness. Implications for the ‘Feline Five’ are discussed in relation to their potential application to improving the management and welfare of pet cats. Highly Impulsive cats for example, may be reacting to something stressful in their environment, whereas cats with low Agreeableness scores, showing irritability may indicate underlying pain or illness. Thus, the need for a systematic and holistic approach to personality that includes both the individual pet cat and its environment is recommended, and opens the door to future interdisciplinary intervention.
... Kotrschal et al. [18] and Wedl et al. [19] (see also Section 4 below) presented the most recent analyses of combined data from subjective ratings of cat personality traits and observational data on cat-human interactions. Cat personality was defined along four axes by the PCA of the subjective ratings of the observers, while human personality was defined with use of the NEO-Five Factor Inventory. ...
... Kotrschal et al. [18] and Wedl et al. [19] used relatively new analytical methods to study the structure of human-cat interactions observed in the home setting for the first time. Wedl et al. used Theme ® (Noldus bv, The Netherlands) to analyze strings of video-recorded owner and cat behaviors during four visits to 40 cat-owning households. ...
... Hierarchically structured t-patterns emerge from the detection of relationships of these previously detected patterns by repeated use of the algorithm scanning the strings of behaviors. Then, Wedl et al. [19] looked at factors that influence these temporal patterns and predicted that because most owners regard their cats as social companions, the dyadic structure would be contingent on owner and cat personalities, sex, and age, as well as duration of cohabitation of the partners. The authors found that both partners' personalities and sex and cat age had significant effects on the t-patterning. ...
Article
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After recent publication of several reviews covering research results from the last 35 years of domestic cat studies, a number of important unanswered questions and hypotheses have arisen that could interest active researchers, especially those beginning their academic careers. Some sections of this paper concern methodologies that have yielded new insights and could provide more in the future; other sections concern findings and interpretations of those that need further testing. First, hypotheses arise from combining subjective (or psychological) assessments of cat and human personality traits and observational (ethological) studies of cat–human interactions: e.g., do owners with high attachment to their cats interact differently with them than owners with low attachment levels? New analytical methods of dyadic interaction observations open the door for testing further hypotheses. In particular, the Theme® (Noldus bv, NL) program could be used to determine if there are differences between cat breeds in interaction patterns with people, which is not only of interest to owners but also therapists employing cats in their practices. Cat breed differences have been found using subjective ratings, but these need to be corroborated by direct observational data from the home setting and/or non-invasive colony observations, since ratings based on anthropomorphic projections might not be reliable. This should be done before searching for the genetic basis of such differences. Reliable information on breed differences is also needed before prescribing certain breeds for animal-assisted interventions. A model has predicted that the degree of socialization as a kitten affects cats’ responses to positive and negative experiences with unfamiliar humans and their formation of feline–human relationships later on. This needs to be tested in an ethically approved manner on cats of known socialization status and has enormous consequences for cat adoptions from animal shelters. Observations of human–cat interactions have yielded many correlations, which can be tested by non-invasive manipulations of human behavior in the home setting. Examples of these will be given and are of general interest to the cat-owning public. A review of first findings on social cognition in cats has resulted in further unanswered questions and hypotheses. Finally, two aspects of domestic cat ecology will be considered (effects on wildlife and space utilization), which are of great interest to the public and conservationists alike.
... As mentioned by Ines et al. [64], social behaviors of the cat are of importance in both the development as well as the sustainment of the relationship. Several studies showed differences in owner-directed behaviors of cats depending on the owners' age, gender, household composition [65][66][67], and breed of the cat [68]. Secondly, the human-cat relationship can indirectly be influenced by the cat's appearance. ...
... Moreover, allowing a cat to sleep on one's bed reflects a high level of intimacy. Previous research showed that cats are more often allowed to sleep with the owner when the owner is single or has no children [77] or when the owner is female [67,78]. Third, during a period of absence, owners need to make sure their cat is provided with water, food, and a clean litterbox. ...
... The multivariate analyses showed several significant associations between the factors under study and relationship category. Consistent with other studies, we showed that characteristics of the owner have stronger associations with the perception of the human-cat relationship than characteristics of the cat [67,68,83,84]. Nevertheless, one cat characteristic, namely, being a pedigree, was related to owner's ideas about their cat. ...
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Describing the relationship with one’s cat in human terms might reflect an underlying anthropomorphic view of the relationship which might be associated with an owner’s behavior towards their cat and the cat’s living environment. Owners self-categorized the relationship with their cat as either a ‘member of the family’, ‘as a child’, ‘best friend’, or ‘a pet animal’. The extent to which owner- and cat-related factors influence these four relationship descriptions are examined in survey data of approximately 1800 cat owners. Differences in outdoor access, care during absence of the owner, and access to the bedroom are examined between the four relationship perceptions. The owner’s age and household composition, ideas about their cat’s equality, support, and dependency, and whether their cat is a pedigree were significantly associated with relationship description and explained 46% of the variance. Owners who perceive their cat as a child or best friend see their cat as loyal, empathetic, equal to family, and dependent on them for love and care. Their cats are less often left in the care of others, are allowed more often in the bedroom and have less often (unrestricted) outdoor access. Moreover, cats perceived as children are more likely to live in a multi-cat household. Our results provide insight in the factors that are related to different (anthropomorphic) perceptions of the human–cat relationship and how perceptions relate to the living environment of cats.
... Vocalisations such as purring and meowing between mother and offspring dyads occur frequently and are thought to serve important communicative and care solicitation functions [13,14]. Similar social behaviours are often directed towards humans during cat-human interactions [15][16][17][18][19] and cats are well documented as having the capacity to develop affiliate social relationships with people [20][21][22][23]. ...
... In a study examining the underlying structure of human-cat interactions taking place in owners' homes [17], links with owner personality were identified. HCI were reported to be less patterned and structured where owners scored higher for the personality trait Neuroticism. ...
... However, across these various studies [17,37,88,89], specific details of the handling styles exhibited by owners during HCI and/or their associations with the cats' behavioural responses were either not quantified or reported, making the results hard to interpret in relation to the cats' experience and comfort during HCI. Further studies investigating the relationship between human personality/mood, their HCI styles and cats' subsequent reactions are therefore warranted. ...
Article
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Sociality can be broadly defined as the ability and tendency of individuals to reside in social groups with either conspecifics and/or other species. More specifically, sociability relates to the ability and tendency of individuals to display affiliative behaviours in such contexts. The domestic cat is one of the most globally popular companion animals and occupies a diverse range of lifestyles. Despite an arguably short period of domestication from an asocial progenitor, the domestic cat demonstrates an impressive capacity for both intra- and interspecific sociality and sociability. At the same time, however, large populations of domestic cats maintain various degrees of behavioural and reproductive autonomy and are capable of occupying solitary lifestyles away from humans and/or conspecifics. Within social groups, individuals can also vary in their tendency to engage in both affiliative and agonistic interactions, and this interindividual variation is present within free-living populations as well as those managed in confined environments by humans. Considerable scientific enquiry has focused on cats’ social behaviour towards humans (and conspecifics to a much lesser extent) in this latter context. Ontogeny and human selection, in addition to a range of proximate factors including social and environmental parameters and individual cat and human characteristics, have been highlighted as important moderators of cats’ sociability. Such factors may have important consequences regarding individuals’ adaptability to the diverse range of lifestyles that they may occupy. Where limitations to individuals’ social capacities do not enable sufficient e.g. adaption, compromises to their wellbeing may occur. This is most pertinent for cats managed by humans, given that the physical and social parameters of the cats’ environment are primarily dictated by people, but that positive human-selection for traits that enhance cats’ adaptability to such lifestyles appears to be limited. However, limitations in the availability and quality of evidence and equivocal findings may impede the current understanding of the role of certain factors in relation to cat sociability and associations with cat wellbeing, although such literature gaps also present important opportunities for further study. This review aims to summarise what is currently known about the various factors that may influence domestic cats’ sociality and sociability towards both humans and conspecifics, with a predominant focus on cats managed by humans in confined environments. Current limitations, knowledge gaps, and implications for cat wellbeing are also discussed.
... The first factor extracted in this study, which we have tentatively named Playfulness, included the items energetic, playful, quick, mischievous and curious. This component appears similar to previously defined cat personality factors labelled Active (Wedl et al., 2011) and Activity (Kaleta et al., 2016), with an 'Active' personality dimension being reported in the review by Gartner and Weiss (2013) to show reasonable convergent validity across studies. Indeed, this factor appears broadly analogous to the human personality dimension known as Extraversion. ...
... These traits are also typically well represented in personality research and resemble what might be considered neuroticism in humans (Kalat, 2011), or the relevant equivalent in hyenas (Gosling, 1998) and dogs (Ley et al., 2008(Ley et al., , 2009a. Across feline personality research, a dimension associated with timidity has been found to have quite good convergent validity, although it has been named using various terms, includ-ing Neurotic (Gartner et al., 2014), Anxious (Wedl et al., 2011) and Tense (Feaver et al., 1986). ...
... It also appears somewhat consistent with the 'Sociable' aspect of a cat's personality, which is often spoken about in relation to feline personality and which is reported to have high convergent validity across relevant studies (Gartner and Weiss, 2013) and to be associated with higher rates of cat adoption from shelters (Sinn, 2016). However, while sociable personality traits have been reported in cats by Wedl et al. (2011) andFeaver et al. (1986), the items loading on this component in the current study are more general traits, not strictly pertaining to sociability. This may be because our sample comprised privately owned companion cats, rather than a shelter-based sample similar to those used in some previous studies. ...
Article
Understanding individual behavioral differences in domestic cats could lead to improved selection when potential cat owners choose a pet with whom to share their lives, along with consequent improvements in cat welfare. Yet very few attempts have been made to elicit cat personality dimensions using the trait-based exploratory approaches applied previously, with some success, to humans and dogs. In this study, a list of over 200 adjectives used to describe cat personality was assembled. This list was refined by two focus groups. A sample of 416 adult cat owners then rated a cat they knew well on each of 118 retained words. An iterative analytical approach was used to identify 29 words which formed six personality dimensions: Playfulness, Nervousness, Amiability, Dominance, Demandingness, and Gullibility. Chronbach's alpha scores for these dimensions ranged from 0.63 to 0.8 and, together, they explained 56.08% of the total variance. Very few significant correlations were found between participant scores on the personality dimensions and descriptive variables such as owner age, cat age and owner cat-owning experience, and these were all weak to barely moderate in strength (r ≤ 0.30). There was also only one significant group difference based on cat sex. Importantly, however, several cat personality scores were moderately (r = 0.3-0.49) or strongly (r ≥ 0.5) correlated with simple measures of satisfaction with the cat, attachment, bond quality, and the extent to which the cat was perceived to be troublesome. The results suggest that, with further validation, this scale could be used to provide a simple, tick-box, assessment of an owner's perceptions regarding a cat's personality. This may be of value in both applied and research settings.
... Importantly, even if cats generally are not securely attached to their owner, other styles of attachments (ambivalent and avoidant) deserve to be further investigated in order to increase our knowledge about the cathuman relationship [18]. That cats are important social partners for many owners and that humans seem also to be important for many pet cats was explored by Wedl et al. [19], who found temporal patterns in interactions between cats and their owners. They interpret their finding, that social interaction patterns varied according to a few major factors thought to influence the relationship quality (e.g. ...
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Little is known about the cat’s (Felis silvestris catus) need for human contact, although it is generally believed that cats are more independent pets than e.g. dogs. In this study, we investigated the effect of time left alone at home on cat behaviour (e.g. social and distress-related) before, during and after separation from their owner. Fourteen privately owned cats (single-housed) were each subjected to two treatments: the cat was left alone in their home environment for 30 min (T0.5) and for 4 h (T4). There were no differences between treatments in the behaviour of the cat (or owner) before owner departure, nor during the first 5 min of separation. During separation, cats were lying down resting proportionally less (T = 22.5, P = 0.02) in T0.5 (0.27±0.1 (mean±SE)) compared to in T4 (0.58±0.08), probably due to a similar duration of higher activity early in the separation phase in both treatments. Comparisons of the time interval (min 20–25) in both treatments indicated no differences across treatments, which supports such an explanation. Towards the end of the separation phase (the last two 5-min intervals of separation in both treatments), no differences were observed in the cats’ behaviour, indicating that cats were unaffected by separation length. At reunion however, cats purred more (T = 10.5, P = 0.03) and stretched their body more (T = 17, P = 0.04) after a longer duration of separation (T4:0.05±0.02; 0.03±0.01; T0.5: 0.01±0.007; 0.008±0.003). Also, owners initiated more verbal contact (T = 33.5, P = 0.04) after 4 h (0.18±0.05) compared to after 30 min (0.12±0.03). There was no evidence of any correlations between the level of purring or body stretching by the cat and verbal contact by the owner implying that the behavioural expressions seen in the cats are independent of the owner’s behaviour. Hence, it seemed as cats coped well with being left alone, but they were affected by the time they were left alone, since they expressed differences in behaviour when the owner returned home. The increased level of social contact initiated by the cats after a longer duration of separation indicates a rebound of contact-seeking behaviour, implying that the owner is an important part of the cat’s social environment.
... Although there was a difference in vocalisation when the cat was left with either the owner or stranger after the other had left (episodes 6 versus 8), there was no difference in vocalisation following the return of the owner or stranger after the cat had been alone. This would be consistent with vocalisation occurring in response to frustration at the owner's departure, perhaps as a result of previous reinforcement of the interaction (as often occurs at feeding [45]), rather than the owner providing comfort in the strange environment. From a neurobiological perspective separation from a secure attachment figure results in engagement of a different affective system (PANIC sensu Panksepp [46] compared to separation from an individual who is associated with physical reinforcements (RAGE sensu Panksepp [46]), although both might result in superficially similar behaviour aimed at reinstating contact. ...
Article
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The Ainsworth Strange Situation Test (SST) has been widely used to demonstrate that the bond between both children and dogs to their primary carer typically meets the requirements of a secure attachment (i.e. the carer being perceived as a focus of safety and security in otherwise threatening environments), and has been adapted for cats with a similar claim made. However methodological problems in this latter research make the claim that the cat-owner bond is typically a secure attachment, operationally definable by its behaviour in the SST, questionable. We therefore developed an adapted version of the SST with the necessary methodological controls which include a full counterbalance of the procedure. A cross-over design experiment with 20 cat-owner pairs (10 each undertaking one of the two versions of the SST first) and continuous focal sampling was used to record the duration of a range of behavioural states expressed by the cats that might be useful for assessing secure attachment. Since data were not normally distributed, non-parametric analyses were used on those behaviours shown to be reliable across the two versions of the test (which excluded much cat behaviour). Although cats vocalised more when the owner rather the stranger left the cat with the other individual, there was no other evidence consistent with the interpretation of the bond between a cat and its owner meeting the requirements of a secure attachment. These results are consistent with the view that adult cats are typically quite autonomous, even in their social relationships, and not necessarily dependent on others to provide a sense of security and safety. It is concluded that alternative methods need to be developed to characterise the normal psychological features of the cat-owner bond.
... Since that review was published, there have been four studies on or including domestic cats. One assessed cat personality in order to look at human-cat dyad interactions (Wedl et al., 2011). They found five factors of personality: Active, Anxious, Feeding, Sociable, and Rough. ...
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An increasing amount of research is being conducted on pet personality, with a variety of goals, from standardization of methodology to development. Most of this work is done on dogs (n = 95), but there is some on cats (n = 24) as well. Very little is done on rabbits or other pets, such as ferrets, or amphibians or reptiles. The work that is being done has improved, with many more researchers reporting reliability and validity for their measures. For dogs, 56.82% of studies reported reliability measures (as compared with 19% in a previous analysis), and 70.45% reported validity measures (as compared with 27% in a previous analysis). However, there is still much work to be done on the standardization of methods both within and across species. This type of research is important as it has the potential to affect the welfare and other health and life outcomes of these animals, as well as elucidating evolutionary relationships that may offer clues to domestication.
... Owners with cats may have a closer relationship with their cats than those with dogs [44]. Women generally are more likely to choose cats as pets than men, indicating that gender contributes to preferring cats [45]. This current study found that men who had chosen to acquire dogs were feeling less alone and sad and better supported than other participants, results that are consistent with them being more extroverted and likely to prefer dogs. ...
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Long-term HIV/AIDS survivors responded online concerning their experiences during the AIDS and COVID pandemics. Recruited from web-based organizations for AIDS survivors, 147 answered questions on: frequency of experiencing stigma, isolation, aloneness, or grief/sadness; pet ownership; and sources of human support during each pandemic. Conditional inference trees were run to identify relevant demographic factors. Post-hoc comparisons were conducted to compare dog owners and cat owners. AIDS survivors reported more frequent feelings of stigma, aloneness, and sadness/grief during the AIDS pandemic than during COVID. Cat owners’ sadness/grief during AIDS was greater than non-owners. During COVID, older respondents unexpectedly were less often sad/grieving than younger ones; dog owners less often felt alone and isolated than non-dog owners. Support during the AIDS pandemic retrospectively was rated better for older respondents; young gays’ support was greater than young straights. During COVID, support was better for men than women. Contrastingly, women with pets felt less support than those without; men with dogs felt more support than those without. Cat owners more often felt isolated and unsupported during COVID than dog owners. Few dog or cat owners received support from family members in either pandemic; during AIDS, family support was better for owners of dogs than cats.
... In particular, the results of the study by Wedl et al. (2011), again combining ethological observations of interactions in the home setting with psychological personality assessments (five cat personality axes identified by PCA on the behavioral data; owner personality assessment by NEO-FFI), take investigation of these questions to a higher level than in the past. The PCA identified four cat personality axes very similar to those determined by Feaver et al. (1986) and others. ...
Article
This review article covers research conducted over the last three decades on cat-human and human-cat interactions and relationships, especially from an ethological point of view. It includes findings on cat-cat and cat-human communication, cat personalities and cat-owner personalities, the effects of cats on humans, and problems caused by cats.
... Overall, these researches do clearly demonstrate that TPA is a flexible, robust and reliable tool to study the behaviour of animals in various experimental assays and in very different contexts. The study of activity in birds has been, probably, one of the very first application of TPA in animal behaviour research (Martaresche et al., 2000;Merlet et al., 2005;Hocking et al., 2007;Brilot et al., 2009) with papers published also in relatively more recent years Bateson, 2012, 2013); in an interesting research, TPA has been utilized to study movement patterns in the Atlantic cod (Jonsson et al., 2010); various applications of TPA investigated behaviour of insects such as drosophila, embioptera and parasitoid (Hemerik et al., 2006;Arthur and Magnusson, 2005;Dejan et al., 2013); TPA has also been utilized to study the behaviour of freely moving wolves in their environment (Yachmennikova and Poyarkov, 2011), the interaction between dog and human (Kerepesi et al., 2005(Kerepesi et al., , 2006 and between cat and human (Wedl et al., 2011). Finally, a consistent amount of papers has utilized TPA to study various aspects of rodent behaviour. ...
Article
Background: The behaviour of all living beings consists of hidden patterns in time; consequently, its nature and its underlying dynamics are intrinsically difficult to be perceived and detected by the unaided observer. Method: Such a scientific challenge calls for improved means of detection, data handling and analysis. By using a powerful and versatile technique known as T-pattern detection and analysis (TPA) it is possible to unveil hidden relationships among the behavioural events in time. Results: TPA is demonstrated to be a solid and versatile tool to study the deep structure of behaviour in different experimental contexts, both in human and non human subjects. Conclusion: This review deepens and extends contents recently published by adding new concepts and examples concerning the applications of TPA in the study of behaviour both in human and non-human subjects.
... Further research could concentrate on responses to tactile contact to pets in different set-ups and using cats with which volunteers have special relationships. In addition, Wedl et al. (2011) assessed the interactions between cats and owners and found out that these interactions depended very much on features of the owners not the cat. Perhaps not surprisingly, cats have been shown to be neutral pets that comply with the owners' wishes for some or no interaction (Rieger and Turner 1999). ...
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span style="font-family: 'Palatino Linotype','serif'; font-size: 12pt; mso-fareast-font-family: 'MS Mincho'; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-ansi-language: EN-GB; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA; mso-no-proof: yes;">Cat owners and volunteers from a rehoming centre were given the Lexington Attachment to Pet Scale (LAPS) questionnaire to assess their level of attachment to their own or rescue cats. In addition, heart rate and blood pressure were measured 10 minutes before, during, and after spending time with the cats. Consistent with other studies, the results here show that spending time with a cat can reduce heart rate and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and that this reduction is generally more pronounced in the cats’ owners rather than in volunteers from a cat rehoming centre. For owners, levels of attachment as measured by the LAPS scale were positively associated with this reduction in metabolic measurements before and during pet presence; i.e. the difference (B-D) was positively correlated with the level of attachment. This was not observed for volunteers. Interestingly, however, reported levels of attachment were not significantly different between owners and volunteers. For owners, duration of ownership had a positive effect on the level of attachment reported and this effect increased sharply after two plus years of ownership. This contribution to Human Animal Interaction (HAI) research suggests that attachment is an important factor in promoting health benefits to owners.</span
... Unlike reciprocated human relationships, relationships with auxiliary companions are controlled by a single individual. Although animals-but not celebrities and other media entities-can respond to the individual and develop a real bond (e.g., Wedl et al., 2011), the decision to begin the relationship is still the human's. Auxiliary companions can take a variety of forms, but what they all have in common is that they are chosen and controlled by one individual in the relationship, and they provide that individual with a sense of belonging. ...
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Four studies tested whether a person's perceived relational value is influenced by other people's evaluations of his or her auxiliary companions (e.g., pets, favorite TV shows). Participants were exposed to their favorite media (Studies 1 and 2) or pets (Studies 3 and 4) being socially accepted, rejected, or neither. Participants' state self-esteem and satisfaction of basic needs (e.g., belonging, control) were measured before and after the manipulation to determine if social evaluations of their favorite media and pets changed their own relational value. The results revealed that participants' perceived relational value was influenced by social evaluations of their auxiliary companions, although positive changes (e.g., enhanced self-esteem) were found more reliably than negative changes. Inclusion of the pet or media entity in the self did not moderate the results. In conclusion, nonreciprocated (i.e., parasocial) and nonhuman relationships are meaningful and potent enough to influence one's feeling of social worth.
... T-pattern analysis of human-cat interaction has been carried out by Wedl et al. (2011). These authors demonstrated the existence of complex patterns emerging from the dyadic interaction of a cat with its owner. ...
... Behaviour scoring systems have been developed for use as instruments to assess painful conditions; 1,3,5,13,14 to identify feral cats; 15 to evaluate response to stressors; 4,6,7,9,16 to evaluate response to clinical behaviour therapy; 2 and to evaluate the response to locomotor environment enrichment. 17 Caged cats have been studied during long-term periods with particular emphasis on their temperament and welfare within these living conditions. ...
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We evaluated behavioural changes in domestic cats during short-term hospitalisation using a novel cat demeanour scoring system. Thirty-five healthy, client-owned cats admitted for neutering were enrolled. Cats were housed in a standardised cat ward for a short-term hospitalisation period (3–5 days) and demeanour scores were recorded once daily. The scoring system classified cats into one of five behavioural groupings: friendly and confident, friendly and shy, withdrawn and protective, withdrawn and aggressive, and overtly aggressive. Total demeanour score decreased over time (P <0.001) and the demeanour category improved (P <0.001). The intra-class correlation was 0.843 (P <0.001) and kappa was 0.606 (P <0.001), suggesting good repeatability and agreement among investigators. The demeanour scoring system was effective in detecting a change in behaviour in healthy cats undergoing short-term hospitalisation. The findings suggest that healthy cats require 2 days to acclimatise to hospitalisation. 10.1177/1098612X13509081
... When several of these behaviours correlate across contexts, they can be characterized as a behavioural syndrome [12,14,15]. The most common methods used to study individual differences in behaviour in the cat include observation [16,17], owner surveys [18,19] and behavioural tests [20,21]. The latter have the advantage that they can be used to evaluate and quantify the stability of individual differences across repeated standardised testing. ...
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Consistent inter-individual differences in behaviour have been previously reported in adult shelter cats. In this study, we aimed to assess whether repeatable individual differences in behaviours exhibited by shelter cats in different situations were interrelated, forming behavioural syndromes. We tested 31 adult cats in five different behavioural tests, repeated three times each: a struggle test where an experimenter restrained the cat, a separation/confinement test where the cat spent 2 min in a pet carrier, a mouse test where the cat was presented with a live mouse in a jar, and two tests where the cat reacted to an unfamiliar human who remained either passive or actively approached the cat. Individual differences in behaviour were consistent (repeatable) across repeated trials for each of the tests. We also found associations between some of the behaviours shown in the different tests, several of which appeared to be due to differences in human-oriented behaviours. This study is the first to assess the presence of behavioural syndromes using repeated behavioural tests in different situations common in the daily life of a cat, and which may prove useful in improving the match between prospective owner and cat in shelter adoption programmes.
... The principles of approach tests have been applied to other group of tests, which aim to reveal cats' personalities. Studies show that many aspects of a cat's individuality are stable over time [152]; this fact has led and continues to lead to new studies on the temperament of cats [116,[161][162][163][164][165][166][167] and on development of tools for assessing the temperament of cats in shelters (Feline Temperament Profile (FTP) [50], ASPCA ® 's Meet Your Match ® Feline-ality™ [168] and its modifications [169,170] and other alternatives of testing [171]). Testing of cats' personalities contributes to the improvement of welfare as it increases the chance of compatibility between the lifestyle of the new family and temperament of cats, which leads to a reduction in the numbers of cats that are returned to the shelter [50]. ...
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At any moment, there are millions of cats housed in foster care facilities for abandoned and stray animals for various reasons worldwide. Care, management and regulation among these facilities differ. Moreover, shelters can never substitute the full comfort of a good home for the animal, and the welfare of cats in shelters is a subject of discussion in many respects. Cats are animals sensitive to changes; for most of them, placement in a shelter is a stressful experience because of changes in routine, environment and the presence of other animals. Stress is reflected in changes in behaviour, causes fluctuations in physiological values and disrupts the immune system, which is a predisposition to the development or reactivation of disease. Evaluation of the presence and intensity of negative impacts is possible through the use of evaluation tools based on indicators that help set the environment and management of keeping so as to disrupt the quality of life as little as possible. Although a comprehensive and valid welfare tool that would evaluate animal-based and at the same time resource-based (or management-based) indicators of cats in shelters is not currently available, it is possible to use partial evaluation of individual welfare indicators to assess welfare. This review aims to provide the readers with an insight into current options of assessment of the welfare of cats in shelters with an emphasis on behavioural, physiological and health indicators with an application in both practical and scientific contexts.
... Since that review was published, there have been four studies on or including domestic cats. One assessed cat personality in order to look at human-cat dyad interactions (Wedl et al., 2011). They found five factors of personality: Active, Anxious, Feeding, Sociable, and Rough. ...
Article
Although there has been an increase in felid personality research, much more work is needed, with only 20 published studies, 17 of which focused on the domestic cat. Most studies show important implications for this type of research, but there is no consensus on terminology, method, or conclusions for felids, even at the species level. Felid personality research comes from various fields, and is often carried out with different methods, with diverse goals. This review evaluates the published research on felid personality, and addresses its reliability and validity. Only 60% of the studies reported reliability estimates, and these varied greatly across personality dimensions. The sample weighted mean correlation of the reliability estimates was 0.68 (based on three studies). Fifty-five percent of the studies assessed validity. The personality dimensions with the highest validity for all species were Sociable, Dominant, and Curious, with a mean correlation of 0.82. Recommendations for future research and implications for aiding in conservation and captive animal management efforts and improving health and well-being and welfare are discussed.
... This may be related evidence that women may be more empathetic due to a greater 317 anatomical and functional development of certain areas of the brain that are involved in 318 communication and empathy (Pongrácz and Szapu, 2018;Wedl et al., 2011). However, 319 female students' scores on dog stress perception were not different from male classmates stress, while men were more able to identify subtle behavioural indicators of stress, such 322 as low activity or low appetite (Mariti et al., 2012). ...
Article
Veterinarians’ perceptions of animal stress influence their practice. Therefore, the aim of this research was to evaluate how veterinary students perceive stress in dogs. Two hundred and eighteen 4th year veterinary students of the University of Cordoba (Spain) participated in the study. An online questionnaire measuring veterinary students’ perceptions of behavioral indicators of stress in dogs, their attachment to pets, and demographic measures (e.g. pet ownership, student gender) was administered to participants in university classes. Data show that veterinary students easily identified some stress indicators such as stereotypical behaviors, excessive barking and aggressiveness, but they were less likely to identify yawning, low activity and paw raising as indicators of stress. Understanding the basis of stress and having a companion animal influenced stress identification but participants’ gender, and attachment level to their pets, had no effect on ability to identify canine stress indicators. Misunderstandings about canine behavior might influence veterinary students’ ability to recognize subtle stress signs in dogs. However, a good understanding of the psycho-physiological basis of stress and personal experiences of dog ownership were associated with greater ability to identify behavioral stress signs in dogs, suggesting that additional training in canine stress might be beneficial for student veterinarians.
... meows; Nicastro 2004) based on human perceptual biases. Moreover, there is now compelling evidence that cats may display distinct attachment styles towards human caregivers (Edwards et al. 2007;Vitale et al. 2019; but see Potter and Mills 2015) and may develop complex idiosyncratic and time-structured interactions (Wedl et al. 2011). Cats follow visual cues given by humans (pointing with arm: Miklósi et al. 2005; cueing with gazing: Pongrácz et al. 2019), are able to reproduce actions demonstrated by a human model (Fugazza et al. 2020) and they can also recognize auditory stimuli of their owner (Saito and Shinozuka 2013). ...
... They also showed a high level of emotional closeness among responders ( Serpell, 1996;Ramón et al., 2010;Freiwald et al., 2014). Owners in previous studies commonly reported human-pet closeness to be very similar to the bond between family members (Heidenberger, 1997;Wedl et al., 2011;Buller and Ballantyne, 2020). Therefore, a possible justification could be the methodology used, that may have biased the level of emotional closeness, in this case, upwards. ...
Article
Evidence supports that cats’ behavior influences the level of emotional closeness between the animals and the owners. In some circumstances, a bad relationship can result in neglecting, mistreating, or abandoning the animal. We aimed to assess the level of emotional closeness between the owners and their cats in Brazil, evaluate some specific human-cat interactions based on the cat-owner relationship scale (CORS), and to evaluate the association between the owner's level of emotional closeness and the presence of unacceptable behavior in Brazilian cats. A cross-sectional study design was used to selected Brazilian cat owners through snowball sampling in social networks. Owners answered an online survey adapted from the (CORS) containing additional questions regarding the cat-owner environment and behavior. Five hundred owners answered the survey, and the mean cat-owner level of emotional closeness in our population was 3.94 ± 0.66. Most of the interviewees were female, and the level of emotional closeness was higher in this group than in male owners. As expected, factors such as having other pets, attributing more characteristics to the animal, and frequent visits to the veterinarian were directly associated with a higher level of emotional closeness by the owner. No association was found between the owner's emotional closeness level and the presence of aggression, excessive vocalization, or inappropriate elimination in the cat. Surprisingly, owners of cats that do not scratch the furniture had a lower level of emotional closeness compared to those reporting this inappropriate behavior. In summary, the human-cat emotional bond in our Brazilian cohort was considered medium to high. Our study adds new insights into cat-human emotional bonds and confirms this interaction in Brazil.
Article
The past several years have witnessed an upsurge in the focus on person-centered care for several populations, and especially for vulnerable elders with dementia who reside in nursing homes. The limited ability to accurately detect and quantify complex behavioral symptoms of dementia (BSD) patterns has hampered the development and refinement of tailored interventions. This study's purpose was to characterize complex patterns of BSD and examine the association among different BSD patterns and cortisol profiles. Two groups of nursing home residents were analyzed (N=28, N=27) using THEME. Behavioral and cortisol data were collected for four consecutive days. Random effects model was used to characterize BSD trajectories over time. There was a significant difference in BSD between the two groups from late afternoon to early evening. The groups differed significantly in age, comorbidities, antianxiety medication, and the number and complexity of patterns of vocalization and restlessness. THEME analysis, a first step in developing and timing person-centered interventions, was able to identify BSD patterns that drove the overall time of day pattern.
Article
Objective: Depression constitutes a major health problem for older people, in this study defined as people 65 years of age and older. Previous studies have shown that mental health among older people who live with animals could be improved, but contrary results exist as well. Therefore, the objective of the present population study was to compare the self-rated depression symptoms of both female and male non-pet owners, cat owners, and dog owners. Method: The participants in this cross-sectional population study included 12,093 people between the ages of 65 and 101. One thousand and eighty three participants owned cats and 814 participants owned dogs. Self-rated depression symptoms were measured using HADS-D, the scale of self-administered depression symptoms in HADS (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale). Results: The main results showed higher mean values on the HADS-D for cat owners than for both dog and non-pet owners. The latter group rated their depression symptoms the lowest. When dividing the ratings into low- and high-depression symptoms, the logistic regression analysis showed that it was more likely that males who owned cats perceived lower depression symptoms than females who owned cats. No interactions were recognized between pet ownership and subjective general health status, loneliness, or marital status. Conclusions: Our results provide a window into the differences in health factors between older females and males who own cats and dogs in rural areas. RESULTS from population studies like ours might increase the available knowledge base when using cats and dogs in clinical environments such as nursing homes.
Article
The most commonly kept domestic animal in the developed world, the cat has been a part of human life for thousands of years. Cats have been both worshipped and persecuted over this long period - either loved or hated for their enigmatic self-reliance and the subject of numerous myths and fables. Highlighting startling discoveries made over the last ten years, this new edition features contributions from experts in a wide range of fields, providing authoritative accounts of the behaviour of cats and how they interact with people. Thoroughly revised and updated to include information on the basic features of cat development and social life, the history of their relations with humans, health and welfare problems, and the breeding of cats for sale and for show. It is intended for all those, whether specialist or general reader, who love or are simply intrigued by these fascinating animals.
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The digital age has brought with it new and powerful computer-based methods of analyzing heretofore elusive patterns of nonverbal behavior. C-BAS (Meservy 2010) is a computer-assisted behavioral observation tool for identifying and tracking nonverbal behaviors from video. THEME (Magnusson, The hidden structure of interaction: from neurons to culture patterns, IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 4–22, 2005) is a software program that discovers patterns among discrete events in time-ordered data. Together, these tools enable more precise measurement and analysis of nonverbal behavioral dynamics. Applications to three corpora derived from interpersonal deception experiments reveal unique nonverbal patterns that distinguish deceptive from nondeceptive interactions. The first and second experiments produced serial, hierarchically related patterns of behaviors that differed in length and complexity between truthful and deceptive participants during interviews about a theft and cheating, respectively. The third experiment produced differential patterns by and among group members completing a task. Deceivers were inclined toward strategic initiations and interactional control, whereas suspicious group members adopted a more passive, possibly watchful stance. Discovery of these patterns challenges the prevailing view that nonverbal behaviors are too faint and inconsistent to identify deceptive communication. Results have numerous implications regarding the following: the development of new measurement tools locating significant effects of nonverbal behaviors, support for theory that coherent and repetitive relationships exist within and among interactants’ communication, demonstration of the role of nonverbal behaviors in deceptive communication and the dynamic and strategic nature of deception.
Chapter
Cats are unique amongst domestic species in that they have evolved from a solitary ancestral species to become one of the most beloved household pets today. Interestingly the cat's physical appearance and sensory systems remain almost identical to their wild counterparts. Recognition of the perceptual parameters allows us to better understand how the domestic cat responds to environment and communicates with social partners. Sociality is unequivocally the aspect of feline life most affected by the domestication process. Cats can display a wide range of social behaviors, and evidence indicates that early exposure to a variety of social and environmental stimuli is the most important postnatal factor for a well‐adjusted life in a domestic setting and resiliency to basic stressors. By gaining an understanding of feline natural behavior, communication, learning, and cognition, shelter staff can provide cats with an ideal environment, change unwanted behaviors, and improve the welfare of our cats.
Chapter
Affects and their conscious representations, emotions, are the central agents of social organization in humans and non-human animals. These are bio-psychological phenomena with morphological and physiological substrates, with evolutionary functions, modulated in ontogeny and conservatively preserved in evolutionary history. Emotions “motivate” social interactions/relationships and emotionality is directly linked with basic physiology, particularly with the stress systems and also, with the most important “anti-stress” complex in mammals, the oxytocin-attachment system, which has also a major role in bonding. Emotional phenotype (“temperament”) affects social connectedness and finally, fitness in complex social systems. And there is also a clear link to social cognition, as affects are involved in virtually any decision made by the relevant brain centers in mammals and birds. Finally, the communication of emotions and satisfying each others emotional need is also at the core of human–animal relationships, which may be considered as ­indirect evidence for common principles of social organization.
Article
The study of personality or temperament is well developed in many species, but in domestic cats (Felis silvestris catus) it has lagged behind. We applied one common methodology, subjective surveys, performed by their owners, to investigate the dimensions of cat temperament. To do this, we developed an eighteen question survey covering common behavioral traits of cats, and had the evaluators rank their cat on a seven point Likert scale for trait. The responses were analyzed with factor analysis, and resulted in six significant dimensions of temperament across the 251 surveys. The six dimensions, in order of importance, are: Cat Social, Active, Human Nonsocial, Human Aggressive, and Intense. Supplemental questions were also included in all the surveys, and MANOVA analysis of these showed that outdoor usage, feeding style (ad-lib vs. meal fed), living with other cats, sex, duration of ownership, and previous history as a stray all had effects on at least one of the dimensions of cat temperament. Future work is clearly needed to fully validate our model and to further investigate our findings.
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Our study evaluated the effects on the prefrontal cortex, especially the inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), of people when touching and stroking a real or soft toy cat, using functional near infrared spectroscopy. Thirty under-graduate students (10 males, 20 females) were recruited and performed three tactile tasks with a real cat and a soft toy cat using their right hand. They also filled in the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM), to measure their emotional responses, and the NEO-Five Factor Inventory, to assess their personalities. During the tactile interactions with the real cat, the integral values of oxygenated hemoglobin in the left IFG of the females were significantly greater than in the males. The valence scores of the SAM after the real cat-associated tasks in females were significantly higher than after the toy cat-associated tasks. Additionally, the number of times the females stroked the real cat was significantly positively correlated with the activation levels of the left IFG and the valence scores of the SAM. The activation levels of the left IFG in females were also positively correlated with neuroticism when stroking the real cat. Thus, in females, especially those with higher levels of neuroticism, touching/stroking the cat improved their mood. The effects of interacting with a cat may be different between the genders.
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This chapter focuses on the behavioral development of cats. Evolving from solitary predators, the communication behavior of cats has functioned to maintain comfortable spacing with their conspecifics. The process of domestication and the tendency for cats to gather in greater density around reliable sources of food and shelter has modified some of these behaviors as domestic cats have evolved a more flexible social structure. Aspects of cat behavior are a result of descent from a solitary carnivore that has undergone selection to evolve as a domestic animal with a flexible social structure. Their social structure is flexible based on the circumstances and a range of agonistic, defensive, and affiliative behaviors are employed to manage access to resources and contact with other cats. The chapter presents some common situations where cats may engage in aggressive behavior toward other cats, other animals, or humans, focusing on the various types of aggression of cats.
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Although attention to domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) behavior and cognition has increased in recent years, numerous questions remain regarding their play. Few studies have included play as a variable of interest, and to the best of our knowledge no behavioral studies focusing on cat play have been published in the last 15 years, and there is no recent review of our current understanding of its development, behavioral components, function, or outstanding research questions. This is despite the accessibility of the cat as a convenient model for more difficult to study members of the Carnivora, as recognized by pioneering studies of cat play in the 1970s and 1980s. We address this gap by reviewing and synthesizing the existing literature on play development, identifying and discussing eliciting factors and possible functions of play in cats. Additionally, we conducted an extensive review of the literature to identify how play has been operationalized in peer-reviewed publications (N = 46). We identified 138 behaviors measured in these studies, with 84 of them unique behavioral labels. Our findings demonstrate the diversity—and sometimes commonalities—of descriptions of play behavior across these studies, while highlighting the challenge of inconsistent operationalization of cat play in the literature. We conclude by proposing and exploring several open questions and offering suggestions for future research, particularly related to pet cats.
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Cats are one of the world’s most populous companion animals, yet little is known about how the home environment is adapted relative to their needs. Outdoor access is thought to be beneficial for both the physical and mental wellbeing of cats, yet as urbanisation increases, reducing owner access to outdoor spaces, an increasing number of cats are kept strictly indoors. The impact of an indoor lifestyle on feline behaviour and welfare is little explored and poorly understood. This study used a systematic review to assess scientifically validated knowledge concerning social and physical environments and their implications for indoor cats. A total of 61 papers were analysed. Only n = 21 papers directly addressed at-home indoor scenarios with the remainder consisting of shelter/cattery (n = 27) or laboratory (n = 16) (some papers explored multiple environments). Across studies there was little evidence of rigour or systematically controlled approaches. Methods frequently used were cat-stress-scores (CSS) and ethograms, neither of which were consistently standardised, substantially reducing the ability to compare findings among studies. Numerous studies explored similar variables (i.e. provision of hiding space (n = 9)) yielding little additional knowledge. Measures of welfare and behaviour were often assessed using single parameters in controlled environments. Although this may be useful and applicable to cat experiences within shelters, catteries and laboratories, the findings do not necessarily translate to dynamic and variable household environments. Major findings include the benefits of enrichment such as hiding boxes and vertical resting spaces, as often recommended by veterinarians and feline charities. However, other advice provided, such as the provision of feeding enrichment for psychological welfare, although not necessarily disputed, appears to be scientifically untested. Additionally, despite the social environment being likely to have a substantial effect on cat welfare, it is particularly under-studied in the home, especially in terms of its complexity (e.g. presence of young children or dogs). Overall, the review identified substantial gaps relative to cat experiences and welfare in multifactorial home environments. Understanding the impact of indoor lifestyles and promoting mechanisms to minimise any negative impacts whilst promoting positive ones, remains an important, yet underexplored, area of research.
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Introduction: Attachment to pets has been shown to impact pet owners' (PO) physical health and quality of life. As no instrument for obtaining this kind of data currently exists in German, translating and validating the Lexington Attachment to Pets Scale (LAPS) was the aim of this study. Method: Online and paper-pencil questionnaires were used. LAPS and socio-demographic data were recorded. Subjects were recruited via social media and with the help of the Verband für das deutsche Hundewesen (VDH) and one other association. A second trial was performed to examine test-retest reliability for the online questionnaire at least five days after initial completion. Results: Internal consistency is high for the total LAPS score (Cronbach's = .89). Test-retest reliability is high for total LAPS score (ICC = .95; 95 % CI = .94, .96; p < .001). A significant negative correlation was found between age of the subject and total LAPS score (r =-.24, p < .001). Women scored significantly higher than men in total LAPS score (p = .008, d =-.36) and dog owners (DO) scored higher than cat owners (CO) (p = .020, d = .23). Further, significant differences have been found when comparing among PO to their level of educational attainment (p < .001, ω = .21). No significant differences between owners of pure-bred and owners of mixed breed pets to their animals were found. Conclusion: The German translation of the LAPS is a reliable instrument and can be used for future research.
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The importance of animals' experiences and associated comfort during Human-Animal Interactions (HAI), and particularly Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI), are increasingly recognised. However, there remains a paucity of published research, particularly concerning less formal but frequent HAIs to which companion animals are typically exposed, such as stroking or petting. Additionally, few practical evidence-based guides to facilitate humans' optimal animal handling and interaction in these contexts exist. A simple set of Human-Cat Interaction (HCI) guidelines were therefore created, with the aim to enhance domestic cats' comfort during generic HCI contexts. Based around a “CAT” acronym, guidelines focused on providing the cat with choice and control (“C”), paying attention (“A”) to the cats' behaviour and body language and limiting touch (“T”), primarily to their temporal regions. Guidelines were presented to human participants during a brief training intervention, and guideline efficacy was subsequently assessed. Domestic cats available for rehoming at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, UK ( n = 100) were filmed during interactions with novel members of the public ( n = 120). Cats were exposed to a maximum of six, 5-min interaction sessions, balanced across “control” (interactions with humans pre-training) and “intervention” conditions (interactions with humans post-training). For each observation, cat behaviour and posture were coded and humans' cat-directed behaviour rated on the degree to which it reflected best practise principles. Data were extracted from a total of 535 observations and average human interaction ratings and cat behaviour values compared between control and intervention conditions via paired Wilcoxon tests. Compared to the control, humans' interaction styles were rated as significantly more closely aligned with best-practise principles in the intervention condition. Cats also displayed significantly greater frequencies and/or durations of affiliative and positively-valenced behaviours in the intervention. In contrast, cats in the control displayed significantly greater frequencies of human-directed aggression, in addition to greater frequencies and/or durations of behaviours associated with conflict and negative valence. Results demonstrate the positive impact of practical interaction guidelines on cats' social behaviour and comfort during HCI, with the potential to improve cats' general experiences during interactions, reduce human-directed aggression and ultimately improve cat-human relationships.
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Objectives: Visiting the veterinarian is generally perceived as a stressful situation for cats. Previous studies have shown that the perception of stress may influence cats' healthcare. In order to minimise stress in cats during the veterinary consultation, feline-friendly handling has gained importance and is increasingly being used. The aim of this study was to find out whether cats experience stress during a visit to the veterinarian (and, if so, to what extent), and which factors influence the perception of stress and whether feline-friendly handling techniques have an impact. Methods: An online survey was conducted among German cat owners. In total, 889 questionnaires were evaluated. The results were analysed with binary logistic regression and a χ² test. A principal component analysis was used to detect the main influencing factors on the perception of stress. Results: Most of the cats (88.7%, n = 732/825) were perceived as stressed during a veterinary consultation, while only about half of the owners (50.8%, n = 419/824) stated that they felt stressed themselves. The cat owners (n = 819) who perceived visiting the veterinarian as a stressful situation also described their cat as stressed significantly more often compared with owners who did not feel stressed (χ² = 101.113, P <0.001). The probability that owners experienced stress themselves was significantly increased if they perceived their cat to be stressed too (odds ratio 0.073, 95% confidence interval 0.016-0.328). One factor that influenced whether an owner was stressed was the stress behaviour of their cat (P <0.001). Furthermore a feline-friendly demeanour by the veterinarian led to less stress in the owners (P <0.001). Conclusions and relevance: The owner's stress influences the perception of their cat's stress. By adhering to feline-friendly handling guidelines, veterinarians can reduce owner stress associated with veterinary visits, thereby promoting optimal veterinary care and health for their feline patients.
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Although pets can be valuable companions for older adults, little is known about why older adults select a specific kind of pet. This study examined demographic (e.g., marital status, health status), health (i.e., well-being, loneliness), and environmental characteristics (i.e., living arrangement, type of housing) of 159 older women in terms of whether they had a companion dog or cat. Significantly more women who were married/partnered had dogs, whereas more single women had cats. Significantly more women who lived alone had cats, whereas more women who lived with someone had dogs. Women with companion dogs had significantly lower depressed mood and higher levels of general health, vitality, and total well-being than those with cats. Although loneliness was somewhat greater among women with cats, the difference was not statistically significant. More women living in 55-and-older communities had cats, whereas more women living in private homes had dogs. Practicing psychiatric nurses can use the information generated from this research to advocate for pet companionship in order to enhance well-being in older women.
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The following paper introduces a new approach to the analysis of sports performance. The approach, known as T-pattern detection, is explained and preliminary data analyses from the sports of soccer and boxing are discussed. The data presented show that specific temporal patterns can be identified within sports performances. The temporal patterns can relate to performance of specific actions (eg passes) or movement patterns. Further analysis of the soccer showed a significant correlation between coaches ratings’ of team performance during specific matches with the number of temporal patterns exhibited by those teams (r= 0. 81, p< 0. 05).
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Proposes a structural hypothesis for the regularity of human behavior, where continuous interaction is seen as the performance of a set of particular type of temporal patterns. Some of these repeated intra- and inter-individual real-time behavior patterns may be mutually exclusive in time while others may develop in various ways. Perceptual limitations making such patterns hidden to observation are illustrated. A computerized detection method and illustrative empirical findings from various types of face-to-face interactions in children and adults are presented. The specially developed pattern detection and analysis software, THEME, is briefly described. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This study investigated how depressive feelings affect the behavior of singly living persons toward their cats. Data from 47 women and 49 men, who were visited at home for one two-hour observation session, were used for the analyses. Just prior to and after the observations, participants filled out a standard questionnaire used to assess momentary mood (EWL). The mood was assigned to one of 14 sub-scales, one of which was "depressiveness." Identical questionnaires were later completed by the same subjects in the absence of the observer (43 women, 45 men), and these results compared with those of questionnaires sent to singly living, former cat owners (28 women, three men). Five behavior elements were found to be affected by depressiveness: 1) intents to interact, 2) the starting of interactions, 3) intents, where the partner is willing to comply and interacts, and 4) head- and flank-rubbing by the cat (using multiple regression, Mann-Whitney U tests and Spearman rank correlations). Results show that the more a person was depressive, the fewer intents to interact were shown. However, the more a person was depressive, the more (s)he started an interaction. This means that depressive persons had an initial inhibition to initiate that was compensated by the presence of the cat. People who felt less depressive after the two hours of the study, owned cats that were more willing to comply with their intents than those whose depressiveness stayed the same or became worse. In human-cat dyads in which the person became more depressive, the person's willingness to comply tended to correlate positively with the cat's willingness to comply. When not in close contact, the cat reacted the same way to all mood scales of the humans. This neutral attitude makes the cat an attractive pacemaker against an inhibition to initiate. Within an interaction the cat is affected by the mood. But only the willingness of the cat to comply seems to be responsible for reducing depressiveness. Female cat owners were also found to be less depressed than former owners.
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Unmanipulated human-cat interactions in established relationships and in the common but very complex home setting are described and analyzed quantitatively. Fifty-one cat-owning Swiss families were visited in their homes. In a total of 504 hours of observation, the interspecific interactions of 162 persons and 72 cats were recorded. Quantitatively, the interactive behavior of both partners in a human-cat dyad increases with increasing duration of human presence at home: this independent variable is largest in adult women and smallest in adult men, while children and juveniles show intermediate values. Therefore, adult women are generally predestined to be the main human partner in human-cat relationships. Even so, when based on mean duration of human presence, effects of human sex and age can still be found for some human and cat behavior. Judged by the amount and reciprocity of interactions, woman-cat dyads have the best and juvenile-cat dyads the worst relationships. Cat behavior toward individual family members not only depends upon characteristics of the human (availability, sex, and age) but also upon characteristics of the whole family, such as family size and number of cats living in the household (negative correlation for both factors). Cat housing condition (indoor versus outdoor) appears to be unimportant in the human-cat relationship, although it affects the duration of a cat's presence at home. The results show the complexity of human-cat relationships in the privacy of the home. The list of factors shown to influence such relationships was increased by several variables. Thus, observation of unmanipulated interspecific interactions was useful despite problems inherent to most field studies.
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The goal of our study was to describe tween a human and a cat and to determine the social behavior during the first encounter beinfluence of the sex of the cat, individuality of the cat, activity state of the person, and person type on the cat's behavior; and the influence of the age and sex of the human partner (person type) on his/her behavior. Nineteen colony cats encountered 240 unfamiliar test persons in a standardized one-cat/one-person situation. In half of the encounters, the behavior of the cat was recorded (A experiments); during a first five-minute phase (Ph 1), the test person was not allowed to interact with the cat; during the second five-minute phase (Ph 2), he/she was allowed to behave without any restrictions. In the other half of the encounters (B experiments), the behavior of the human partner was recorded, and the test person was allowed to behave freely from the start for the duration of five minutes. The influence of the factors listed above was tested by analyses of variance and t-tests. Cats show an enormous individual variation in their behavior. Neither their sex nor the age-sex class of the partner influences their behavior nearly as much as their own individuality. The activity state of the test person (reading a book versus interacting freely) influences the behavior of the cat with respect to most of the parameters observed. Human behavior toward the cat is influenced by the person's age (adults versus children from six to ten years of age) and, to a lesser extent, by the person's sex. The first body contact is a key event and occurs more quickly in the dyadic situation than when the person is looking at a book, since the human partner usually initiates social interactions and motivates the cat to accelerate coming into contact. In addition to the speed and chronology of contact initiation, proximity and behavior regulating the distance between the partners are useful measures for describing human-cat interactions in different social contexts. Single behavioral elements of the cat and the human also may be used as indicators of the character of the relationship.
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This study examines the frequency of pet possession and its covariation with family variables (family size, housing conditions, parents' employment, maternal support) among elementary school children. Additionally, children's pet caring activities and their emotional relationship to pets were investigated. Subjects were 426 fourth graders (213 boys, 213 girls). Results indicate that pets are very frequently present in families, with the dog as the most common and most preferred animal. Parents' employment and maternal support do not covariate with pet possession, but housing conditions do. The child-pet relationship depends on childrens' gender, pet type and status of ownership (child vs. family). The intensity of pet caring is mainly related to pet type and ownership, whereas the quality of emotional contact depends on pet type and childrens' gender. On the background of manifold articles reporting case studies and educational, respectively clinical counseling experiences the discussion emphasizes the need for sound empirical research on the relationship between personality characteristics and pet ownership.
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Humans are generally biophilic. Still, for unknown reasons, interest in animals varies substantially among individuals. Our goal was to investigate how differential interest of children towards animals might be related to social competence and personality. We proposed two alternatives: 1) Children may compensate for potential deficits in social competence by resorting to animals, and 2) Socially well-connected children may show a particular interest in animals. We focused on relationships between age, gender, family background, play behavior, personality components, and contact with rabbits in 50 children (22 boys/28 girls; 3 to 7 years of age) at a preschool in Krems/Austria. Data were analyzed using GLM. We found that each one of these variables had significant impact on intensity of engagement with the rabbits. In general, girls, children with siblings, and children without pets were more oriented towards the rabbits than were boys, children without siblings, or pet-owning children. The older the children, the less frequently they occupied themselves with the rabbits but the longer they remained when they did engage them. Furthermore, we found that the more “Confident/Respected” (PCA factor 1) and less “Patient/Calm,” “Cheerful/Sociable,” and “Solitary” (PCA factors 2-4) the children, the more time they spent in direct occupation with rabbits. Most effects of the investigated variables varied between boys and girls. By and large, our findings support the hypothesis that the “socially competent” children were particularly interested in the animals. Also, children's social styles, as evinced in interactions with peers, were generally reflected in how they interacted with the rabbits.
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I review the direction and magnitude (effect sizes) of gender differences that have been reported in several areas of human-animal interactions. These include: attitudes toward the treatment of animals, attachment to pets, involvement in animal protectionism, animal hoarding, hunting, animal abuse, and bestiality. Women, on average, show higher levels of positive behaviors and attitudes toward animals (e.g., attitudes towards their use, involvement in animal protection), whereas men typically have higher levels of negative attitudes and behaviors (e.g., hunting, animal abuse, less favorable attitudes toward animal protection). The effect sizes of gender differences range from small (e.g., attachment), to medium size (e.g., attitudes toward animal use) to large (e.g., animal rights activism, animal abuse by adults.) In most areas, there is considerable overlap between men and women, with much greater within-sex than between-sex variation. Research on the roles of gender in human-animal relationships is hindered by the omission in many reports of gender difference effect sizes and basic descriptive statistics.
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In this paper, we identify two obstacles that have hindered the integration of personality research in anthrozoology. The first of these interrelated obstacles is the difficulty of obtaining large samples in anthrozoological research. Without large samples investigators must rely on replication studies to establish the generalizability of their findings. However, the second obstacle—the lack of a standard taxonomy of personality descriptors—makes it difficult to see whether findings replicate across studies. To address these issues and to stimulate a more integrative approach to personality studies, we: (a) provide normative data for personality ratings of dogs, cats, ferrets, horses, rabbits, and hedgehogs on 50 traits; (b) provide personality profiles of the owners of these six species; (c) provide the instrument on which the pet and human data were collected; and (d) demonstrate the viability of the internet as a tool for collecting large samples of personality data on pets. We show how the normative data can be used to convert findings from other studies into a standard-score metric that facilitates cross-study comparisons. Finally, we consider some limitations of this study and make a number of recommendations aimed to promote a more programmatic science of anthrozoology.
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Personality influences on social relationships and vice versa were longitudinally studied. Personality affected relationships, but not vice versa. After entry to university, 132 students participated for 18 month in a study in which the Big Five factors of personality, the subfactors Sociability and Shyness, and all significant social relationships were repeatedly assessed. A subsample kept diaries of all significant social interactions. After the initial correlation between personality and relationship quality was controlled for, Extraversion and its subfactors, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness predicted aspects of relationships such as number of peer relationships, conflict with peers, and falling in love. In contrast, relationship qualities did not predict personality traits, and changes in relationship qualities were unrelated to changes in personality traits. Consequences for dynamic-interactionistic views of personality and relationships are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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A behavioral syndrome is a suite of correlated behaviors expressed either within a given behavioral context (e.g., correlations between foraging behaviors in different habitats) or across different contexts (e.g., correlations among feeding, antipredator mating, aggressive, and dispersal behaviors). For example, some individuals (and genotypes) might be generally more aggressive, more active or bold, while others are generally less aggressive, active or bold. This phenomenon has been studied in detail in humans, some primates, laboratory rodents, and some domesticated animals, but has rarely been studied in other organisms, and rarely examined from an evolutionary or ecological perspective. Here, we present an integrative overview on the potential importance of behavioral syndromes in evolution and ecology. A central idea is that behavioral correlations generate tradeoffs; for example, an aggressive genotype might do well in situations where high aggression is favored, but might be inappropriately aggr
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We previously showed (Kotrschal et al., 2009) that owner personality and human–dog relationship predicted the performance of a human–dog dyad in a practical task. Based on the same data set we presently investigate the effects of individual and social factors on the social attraction of dogs to their owners. twenty-two male and female owners and their intact male dogs were observed during a "picture viewing" test, where we diverted the owner's attention away from their dog whilst it was permitted to move freely around the room. Owner personality axis "neuroticism" and dog personality axis "vocal and aggressive" were, respectively, positively and negatively related to the time the dog stayed in proximity to the owner. Quality of relationship and attachment also had significant effects on this proximity. We conclude that personality and the nature of the human–dog relationship may all influence dogs' social attraction to their owners.
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This article deals with the definition and detection of particular kinds of temporal patterns in behavior, which are sometimes obvious or well known, but other times difficult to detect, either directly or with standard statistical methods. Characteristics of well-known behavior patterns were abstracted and combined in order to define a scale-independent, hierarchical time pattern type, called aT-pattern. A corresponding detection algorithm was developed and implemented in a computer program, called Theme. The proposed pattern typology and detection algorithm are based on the definition and detection of a particular relationship between pairs of events in a time series, called acritical interval relation. The proposed bottom-up, level-by-level (or breadth-first) search algorithm is based on a binary tree of such relations. The algorithm first detects simpler patterns. Then, more complex and complete patterns evolve through the connection of simpler ones, pattern completeness competition, and pattern selection. Interindividual T-patterns in a quarter-hour interaction between two children are presented, showing that complex hidden T-patterns may be found by Theme in such behavioral streams. Finally, implications for studies of complexity, self-organization, and dynamic patterns are discussed.
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This study examines the existence of behavioral correlates of synchronization on different levels of analysis and methods. We were unable to demonstrate a relation between synchronization defined in terms of movement echo or position mirroring and subjective experience of pleasure and interest in opposite-sex encounters. Significant results were found for a phenomenon we describe as hierarchically patterned synchronization. These patterns were identified with the help of a newly developed search algorithm. If a female is interested in a male, highly complex patterns of behavior with a constant time structure emerge. The patterns are pair-specific and independent from behavioral content. This rhythmic structure of interactions is discussed in functional terms of human courtship.
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Rationale The THEME method for measuring time-determined patterns (T-patterns) in behavior has been suggested as a new, more objective method for assessing cognitive disturbances in schizophrenia. Objectives THEME was used to compare responses of schizophrenic patients with those having mood, schizoaffective, or severe anxiety disorders, and with healthy control subjects. Methods A two-choice, button-pressing task was used to elicit T-patterns among responses, with knowledge-of-results (K) rewards and coin reinforcements (RF) as reinforcers. Subjects were compared by diagnosis, drug treatment, and gender. Results Schizophrenic and manic patients showed excessive numbers of, and more complex T-patterns than controls. Schizophrenic and manic patients frequently demonstrated repetitive (stereotyped) responding, an effect never seen in healthy controls. Although clozapine (CLZ) reduced both excessive T-pattern structure and stereotyped responding, it also reduced growth of responding to the coin RF. Conclusions Significant T-pattern increases may represent a common, time-related symptom of schizophrenia and mania. CLZs effect on T-pattern production suggests that receptor effects other than the DAD2 antagonism of typical neuroleptics may be relevant to these findings.
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It is sometimes thought that the relation between research on aging and the basic sciences is one-sided: gerontologists take the methods and theories of their specialty and apply them to aging populations, but they rarely initiate theories or report findings that could reshape the basic disciplines themselves. Whatever the truth of this perception in general, it is completely false with regard to the psychology of personality. When Eichorn, Clausen, Haan, Honzik, and Mussen (1981) published their summary of the Berkeley longitudinal studies, Sears and Sears (1982) heralded it as "probably the most important unified research contribution to adult social and personality psychology of the last three decades" (p. 927). According to White (1964), personality psychology is the study of lives, and aging is the universal dimension along which lives are led. Renewed attention to the life narrative (McAdams, 1990) and to the adult outcomes of childhood temperament (Caspi, Elder, & Bern, 1987) show the central role that studies of aging must have in many different approaches to the psychology of personality.
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This article deals with the definition and detection of particular kinds of temporal patterns in behavior, which are sometimes obvious or well known, but other times difficult to detect, either directly or with standard statistical methods. Characteristics of well-known behavior patterns were abstracted and combined in order to define a scale-independent, hierarchical time pattern type, called a T-pattern. A corresponding detection algorithm was developed and implemented in a computer program, called Theme. The proposed pattern typology and detection algorithm are based on the definition and detection of a particular relationship between pairs of events in a time series, called a critical interval relation. The proposed bottom-up, level-by-level (or breadth-first) search algorithm is based on a binary tree of such relations. The algorithm first detects simpler patterns. Then, more complex and complete patterns evolve through the connection of simpler ones, pattern completeness competition, and pattern selection. Interindividual T-patterns in a quarter-hour interaction between two children are presented, showing that complex hidden T-patterns may be found by Theme in such behavioral streams. Finally, implications for studies of complexity, self-organization, and dynamic patterns are discussed.
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Nonrandom time patterns of pecking acts by 16 chicks were detected using the software Theme during three videotaped pecking sessions (M, C, and A). At 15 days of age pecking session, M (mash) was recorded when chicks ate a mash diet. Pecking session C (change) at 16 or 17 days of age was recorded immediately after the change of the diet to pellets presented either as regular cylinders (P) to eight chicks, or as semiovoid (Po) to eight other chicks. Pecking session A (adapted) was recorded 5 or 6 days after adaptation to P and Po. Successful (consumatory) pecks were 72%, 52%, and 61% of all pecks for sessions M, C, and A, respectively. The head of the chicks remained in a steady position between two consecutive pecks for a longer period during C (65% of the time) than M and A (54%). During C, the pecking rate was less for P (0.54 pecks/s) than for Po (0.79 pecks/s). Two consistent time patterns involving four acts frequently observed were: head rotation (or exploratory peck)-->head in steady position-->consumatory peck-->head in steady position with jaw movements. Time intervals within a pattern were stable throughout sessions. However, the proportion of synchronized (included in a pattern) vs. nonsynchronized (not included in a pattern) acts decreased immediately after the change of feed form (session C). These results suggest that pecking at feed is composed of two distinct sets of acts: consistently organized patterns little affected by the form of the pecked particles and nonsynchronized acts that may be involved in sensory information.
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Quantitative analysis of sports performance has been shown to produce information that coaches can use within the coaching process to enhance performance. Traditional methods for quantifying sport performances are limited in their capacity to describe the complex interactions of events that occur within a performance over time. In this paper, we outline a new approach to the analysis of time-based event records and real-time behaviour records on sport performance known as T-pattern detection. The relevant elements of the T-pattern detection process are explained and exemplar data from the analysis of 13 soccer matches are presented to highlight the potential of this form of analysis. The results from soccer suggest that it is possible to identify new profiles for both individuals and teams based on the analysis of temporal behavioural patterns detected within the performances.
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The individual time patterns of salivary testosterone of adult healthy men, self-reported sexual behavior and their co-occurrence with regular weekly or monthly intervals were studied. Twenty-seven volunteer males (mean age 33 +/- 1 years) collected daily morning saliva over a period of 90 days. Evening questionnaires provided daily information on sexual activity. From the saliva, testosterone immunoreactive substances were determined using enzyme immunoassay. To detect events in which increases of testosterone were associated with sexual activity and at the same time controlling for regular internal patterns in men, data were analyzed using Theme software. First results indicated a varying number of complex nonrandom interaction patterns of testosterone with sexual activity, but also with weekly (i.e., Saturdays) and monthly intervals (i.e., 28-day full-moon intervals). The social context of the occurrence of specific pattern combinations was elaborated using parameters from the men's self-reported general life history profiles. Peak hormone levels occurred around weekends in the majority of the males. The 28-day monthly interval coincided with testosterone peaks only in those of the paired men who reported a current wish for children ("prospective fathers"), but not in unpaired men or in those who did not wish to have children with their current partner. Rather than representing a direct regular pattern of the male testosterone per se, the observed patterns suggest that men have the facultative potential to adjust their testosterone responses to their female partner's cycle. In line with the interactions between behavior and androgens observed in vertebrates in general, this study adds an example of the mutual character of hormone-behavior interactions and, thus, for the social context of testosterone patterns in human males.
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The evolutionary continuity between humans and other animals suggests that some dimensions of personality may be common across a wide range of species. Unfortunately, there is no unified body of research on animal personality; studies are dispersed across multiple disciplines and diverse journals. To review 19 studies of personality factors in 12 nonhuman species, we used the human Five-Factor Model plus Dominance and Activity as a preliminary framework. Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Agreeableness showed the strongest cross-species generality, followed by Openness; a separate Conscientiousness dimension appeared only in chimpanzees, humans' closest relatives. Cross-species evidence was modest for a separate Dominance dimension but scant for Activity. The comparative approach taken here offers a fresh perspective on human personality and should facilitate hypothesis-driven research on the social and biological bases of personality.
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With reference to Felis catus, discusses the organisation of behaviour and how this is orientated towards particular goals. Tinbergen's model of the hierarchy of instincts is useful in examining cat behaviour, and comparisons are made between domestic cats and wild felids. F. catus is probably a self-domesticated animal. -S.J.Yates
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Pet owners often describe their pets as important and cherished family members who offer solace in times of stress. This article considers evidence suggesting that pets influence human blood pressure. Studies on this topic extend current research testing the hypothesis that having other people around in stressful times can buffer the negative consequences of stress. The existing data suggest that people perceive pets as important, supportive parts of their lives and that the presence of a pet is associated with significant cardiovascular benefits, among both people with normal blood pressure and those with high blood pressure. Studies about pets and blood pressure have examined both naturally occurring and randomly assigned pet ownership but are limited by their focus on responses to short-term, acute stress. Future prospective studies should explore the influence of pets on people at risk for cardiovascular disease and also consider explanatory mechanisms for the pet effect.
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The evolutionary continuity between humans and other animals suggests that some dimensions of personality may be common across a wide range of species. Unfortunately, there is no unified body of research on animal personality; studies are dispersed across multiple disciplines and diverse journals. To review 19 studies of personality factors in 12 nonhuman species, we used the human Five-Factor Model plus Dominance and Activity as a preliminary framework. Extraversion, Neuroticism, and Agreeableness showed the strongest cross-species generality, followed by Openness; a separate Conscientiousness dimension appeared only in chimpanzees, humans' closest relatives. Cross-species evidence was modest for a separate Dominance dimension but scant for Activity. The comparative approach taken here offers a fresh perspective on human personality and should facilitate hypothesis-driven research on the social and biological bases of personality.
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This study analysed the cat–human relationship paying attention to the quality of life (QoL) of 62 cats. QoL was assessed as being low, medium and high, using: (1) four questionnaires which investigated care, cat behaviour, cat and owner features, (2) a simple physical examination of the cat and (3) the Lexington attachment to pets scale (LAPS) test. The investigation revealed a medium QoL for about 87.2% of the pets. Although most of the cats received a good quality of care and were in good physical condition, only 16.1% did not show abnormal behaviour. The level of QoL results to be influenced by the cohabitation with conspecifics. The level of care given to the cat is greatly influenced by the gender, the education, the previous experience, the real ownership, the number of friends and of emotional bonds of the owner to people and by the gonadectomy (P
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Three methods of describing behavioural activity – conventional statistics (number of bouts, mean bout length and total duration), detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) and T-patterns (THEME) – were compared. Behavioural observations were obtained by focal sampling of feed restricted broiler breeders. Hybrid commercial females were fed to the commercial body weight target (SR) or to gain 40% more live weight (SE) during rearing. Half the birds were fed on a conventional diet (C) and half on a diet with more crude fibre (F) in a 2×2 factorial experiment. Videotapes of the behaviour of the birds in each pen were recorded for 1h before feeding (B) and in the afternoon (A). Focal behavioural sampling was performed for 600s on a single bird in each videotape and conventional data (number of bouts, mean and total duration), T-patterns and fractals (from DFA) were analysed by ANOVA of a factorial model with a split plot term for time within pen. SR had longer bouts of preening than SE. SE had more T-patterns and spent more time on them compared with SR whereas no differences were detected by DFA. Diet F increased drinking and pecking at the environment and decreased time standing compared with C. Birds fed on C had longer bouts and more time preening compared with F. C was associated with longer and more frequent litter scratching of similar bout length than F before feeding but the opposite was observed in the afternoon. No differences between the diets were detected by THEME or DFA. The conventional analysis showed that more time was spent drinking in B compared with A. More T-pattern bouts of longer mean duration and longer total duration were detected in B compared with A whereas no differences were identified by DFA. These results may reflect the anticipation of feed. We conclude that a technique to assess behavioural organisation such as THEME or DFA in addition to conventional analysis of focal behavioural sampling should be used in behavioural and welfare research.
Article
Time structure of behavioural patterns of broiler breeders were investigated to assess comparative behavioural complexity using “Theme”. The behaviour of an experimental dwarf heavy broiler breeder selected for better viability and reproductive traits at the partial expenses of growth (E) was compared to a standard heavy broiler breeder (S). Both were either fed ad libitum (A), feed restricted at 55% of A from 6 to 15 weeks of age (I), or feed restricted as in commercial practice to match a standard growth curve (R) in a 2 genotypes×3 diets factorial design with 8 pens of 14 hens per treatment. The fine mash feed contained 10MJ ME/kg. In each pen, three hens were coloured-marked and video recorded twice from 6 to 13 weeks. Four to 5h after feed distribution, 10min files (288) were coded by focal sampling and 1min files (107) of one hen per pen were coded in detail in the morning and afternoon sessions. In the 10mins files, while E rested more often and longer on average than S, the total number of changes of states recorded per hour were 222 for E versus 184 for S. When both genotypes were feed restricted, resting was replaced by more frequent stepping and standing bouts, and eating events by pecking at the empty feeder and at the litter. The overall number of time structured T-patterns detected by Theme were more frequent per hour of behaviour in genotype E (142) compared to S (115) and in the feed restricted hens (151) compared to the ad libitum fed hens (83). Genotype and diet modulation of activity followed different paths and interactions were not significant. In the 1min detailed files, most of the pecks were included in T-patterns and their mean lengths were consistent (feed=145ms for E and 161ms for S; litter=174ms; empty feeder=193ms) whatever the feed restriction levels. Feed restriction did not “disorganize” the behaviour of broiler breeder hens and “hyperactivity” of feed restricted hens was mainly due to transitions between various activities. A transfer of feeding activities toward foraging and spot-pecking and a reduction of the number and duration of resting bouts were the major observed changes. No specific sequences of behaviour attributable to feed restriction could be consistently identified. A more detailed analysis of resting in heavy genotypes might bring new insights on adaptability of broiler breeders to ad libitum feeding.
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A paper presented at the symposium "Human Ethology: Claims and Limits of a New Discipline," held at Bad Homburg, West Germany (October 1977), offers a tentative conceptual scheme for future studies by examining the question "What goals (other than reproductive goals) are served by the group life of nonhuman primates?" The author feels that concepts like dominance, familiarity, and bond have been emphasized to the neglect of other aspects of relationships. This paper discusses a primate dyad, A-B, in terms of the value to A of his/her social relationships with B. According to the suggested scheme, A selects, monitors, and alters 3 of B's attributes—his/her qualities, tendencies, and availability—in such a way as to increase B's value to A. These attributes and actions are described in detail. Interactions with the environment involve a 3rd element, C (a conspecific, an extraspecific resource, a predator, or a parasite). Examples of these interactions are cited from field studies. The greatest area of ignorance about primate relationships has to do with what a primate learns about and through his/her social companions. A valuable insight derived from the scheme is that a single social act, such as a scream, may serve widely differing goals. (40 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Many studies show that people form strong affectional bonds with their dogs, treating them like family members or children. The present study investigates differences between women and men owners during interactions with their dogs, in a situation designed to investigate attachment and, thus, to promote emotional and affective responses: the Ainsworth's Strange Situation. Twenty-five dog owners, 10 men and 15 women, were observed during free interactions with their pets in an adapted version of the ‘strange situation procedure’. Their behaviour towards their pets was videorecorded. Talking to the dog was evaluated together with the occurrence of affiliative and play behaviours. The owner's level of attachment to the dog was assessed using a questionnaire. Women and men differed in the use of verbal communication. Women talked more than men and had a shorter latency in starting talking. Their utterances resembled more closely infant-directed speech or ‘motherese’. In contrast, there were no clear gender differences in affiliative and play behaviours. Both women and men engaged in play with their dogs and provided physical comfort. No differences emerged in the level of attachment reported by women and men owners in the questionnaire. These data support the hypothesis that the behaviour of modern pet owners towards their dogs is an interspecific parental behaviour, and suggest that behaviours evolved to provide care and comfort to human infants have been co-opted for interacting with other social partners. The difference in verbal communication between women and men is in agreement with an evolutionary scenario suggesting a greater pre-disposition in women to use language as a relational tool.
Article
Fourteen adult female domestic cats were watched by two observers for 3 months. Ratings of 18 aspects of each cat's behavioural style were obtained independently from each observer. Correlations between observers were statistically significant for 15 of the 18 aspects and seven of the correlation coefficients were greater than 0·7. The ratings were compared with results of direct recording methods, where equivalent measures were available and, in five out of six cases, the results of the ratings and direct methods were significantly correlated. The rating method is, therefore, generally reliable and can be adequately validated. Some assessments of observer ratings which are not obviously and easily related to direct recordings may prove particularly useful in developmental studies of alternative modes of behaviour and the origins of individual differences.
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Sexual selection theory predicts that signals reflecting the relative quality of individuals should be used in mate choice. Females could base their choice of copulation partners on male secondary sexual traits that honestly signal male age, as predicted by the age-based indicator mechanism. Studies have shown that female blue tits prefer older males and that aspects of dawn song reflect male quality, but it remains unknown whether dawn song characteristics correlate with male age. We compared dawn song characteristics of second-year (SY) and older (ASY) male blue tits (cross-sectional analysis), and tested for age-related changes within individuals (longitudinal analysis) and differential overwinter survival of SY males. We further investigated the relation between dawn song and paternity gain and loss. We found that ASY male blue tits began to sing earlier relative to sunrise than did SY males. This difference in the onset of dawn singing was due to age-related changes in individual performance rather than differential survival of individuals with varying expression of the trait. Males that began to sing earlier at dawn had more mating partners, and were more likely to gain extrapair paternity. Our findings suggest that the onset of dawn song can provide a simple mechanism for females to assess the relative quality of their mate and of neighbouring males. We propose that females use the onset of singing as a cue for their choice of extrapair partners.
Article
The concept of personality implies individual differences in behavior and physiology that show some degree of repeatability/consistency over time and across contexts. Most studies of animal personality, particularly studies of individuals' variation in physiological mechanisms, have been conducted on selected individuals in controlled conditions. We attempted to detect consistent behaviors as well as physiological patterns in greylag ganders (Anser anser) from a free-roaming flock living in semi-natural conditions. We tested 10 individuals repeatedly, in a handling trial, resembling tests for characterization of “temperaments” in captive animals. We recorded the behavior of the same 10 individuals during four situations in the socially intact flock: (1) a “low density feeding condition”, (2) a “high density feeding condition”, (3) a “low density post-feeding situation” and (4) while the geese rested. We collected fecal samples for determination of excreted immuno-reactive corticosterone (BM) and testosterone metabolites (TM) after handling trials, as well as the “low density feeding” and the “high density feeding” conditions. BM levels were very highly consistent over the repeats of handling trials, and the “low density feeding condition” and tended to be consistent over the first two repeats of the “high density feeding condition”. Also, BM responses tended to be consistent across contexts. Despite seasonal variation, there tended to be inter-test consistency of TM, which pointed to some individual differences in TM as well. Aggressiveness turned out to be a highly repeatable trait, which was consistent across social situations, and tended to correlate with an individual's resistance during handling trials. Also, “proximity to the female partner” and “sociability” – the average number of neighboring geese in a close distance while resting – were consistent. We conclude that aggressiveness, “affiliative tendencies” and levels of excreted corticosterone and testosterone metabolites may be crucial factors of personality in geese.
Article
Research in comparative social cognition addresses how challenges of social living have formed the cognitive structures that control behaviours involved in communication, social learning and social understanding. In contrast to the traditional psychological approach, recent investigations take both evolutionary and functional questions into account, but the main emphasis is still on the mechanisms of behaviour. Although in traditional research ‘comparative’ meant mainly comparisons between humans and other primates, ethological influences have led to a broadening of the spectrum of species under study. In this review, we evaluated how the study of dogs broadens our understanding of comparative social cognition. In the early days of ethology, dogs enjoyed considerable interest from ethologists, but during the last 20 years, dogs have rarely been studied by ethological methods. Through a complex evolutionary process, dogs became adapted for living in human society; therefore, the human environment and social setting now represents a natural ecological niche for this species. We have evidence that dogs have been selected for adaptations to human social life, and that these adaptations have led to marked changes in their communicative, social, cooperative and attachment behaviours towards humans. Until now, the study of dogs was hindered by the view that they represent an ‘artificial’ species, but by accepting that dogs are adapted to their niche, as are other ‘natural’ species, comparative investigations can be put into new light.
Article
Personalities can be determined for individual animals from their distinctive patterns of behaviour, providing that they are consistent across time and situations. Although there have been no previous studies of the role of personality in keeper:tiger interactions in zoos/wildlife parks, previous research has determined that cat personality can be reliably assessed from their attributed feelings in social interactions. We asked tiger keepers to rate the personality of their tigers from a list of adjectives, and they consistently used terms relating to three domains representing extroversion, agreeableness and youthfulness. These did not correlate well with simple records of tiger behaviour taken over a short period of time. However, self assessed keeper personalities correlated well with keeper behaviour during interactions with the tigers, which mainly involved intercepting fighting tigers, clapping their hands to elicit a change in behaviour and pushing them to make them move. It is concluded that keeper, but not tiger, personality has strong connections to the interactive behaviour between the two in an interactive zoo exhibit. (c) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Article
Introduction The main aspect of this thesis is individual behavioural variation. Behavioural variability among individuals within a population may provide information on strategies or roles in social behaviour, on personality traits and individual recognition. Generally, this behavioural variability becomes overt in stressful situations. Recent data have shown the existence of basically two different coping strategies, active or passive. These different coping styles resemble the two (classical) behavioural stress responses, fight-flight vs. conservation-withdrawal, each with its own characteristic biological pattern. The success of the individual coping response depends on the environmental conditions and, therefore, it is highly surprising that each individual appears to be prediposed to one or the other coping strategy. This suggests a genetic or ontogenetic basis, but recent life experiences will have a significant role also. The idiosyncratic response pattern to a challenge has been shown in many species (humans; monkeys; dogs; tree shrews; etcetera), and hence it may be postulated that this also holds for pigs. If so, these individual behavioural characteristics will have important practical implications in understanding the social relations among group-housed pigs in intensive farm conditions. A stable social structure in the group, and thus a proper group composition, may be a function of the individual behavioural characteristics of each group member. However, until now little research has been conducted to reveal possible patterns underlying a proper group composition in pigs, and subsequently how such mechanisms could be applied in intensive pig husbandry. The present study aims at these aspects. Social status In chapter 1, the individual variation in disease susceptibility and immune reactivity of pigs is described in relation to their individual social status in a stable social group. This social status was determined by the outcome of social ranking fights and food competition tests. There was a substantial agreement between the social status determined by these ranking fights and food competition tests. Since these tests were made at quite different ages (respectively; during the suckling period, and on day 50, on day 65, and on day 100), this indicates a relatively stable social structure in the group. At an age of approximately ten weeks, all pigs were challenged intranasally with an Aujeszky virus. Mortality and morbidity were highest among subordinate pigs compared to subdominant and dominant ones. A specific lymphocyte stimulation test, using purified Apjeszky virus as an antigenic stimulus, showed that the cell-mediated immunity (CMI) against the Aujeszky virus was higher for the dominant pigs than for the subdominant and subordinate ones.These findings showed that there were large individual differences in immune reactivity and disease susceptibility in pigs partly related to their individual social status in the group. However, social behaviour of an animal that lives in a social organization is also determined by its individual way of handling stressful situations i.e., its coping strategy. Therefore, the individual coping response may well be another basis for different internal biological programs, which may eventually lead to individual differences in disease susceptibility. In chapter 2 the hypothesis was tested whether consistent individual behavioural characteristics in pigs exist. Individual behavioural characteristics During the suckling period, piglets were classified as aggressive or as non-aggressive individuals in two successive social confrontation (SC) tests by two observers. Substantial agreement in this classification existed between observers and between both SC tests. Moreover, the aggressive behavioural elements observed after mixing at 10 and again at 15 weeks of age were mainly shown by pigs that were classified as the aggressive ones in the two social confrontation tests shortly after birth; this indicates that the behavioural response pattern of the individuals remained consistent over a long period of time. In a non-social backtest piglets were restrained in a supine position for sixty seconds, and classified as resistant (R;>two escape attempts), intermediate Q; = two escape attempts), or as non-resistant (NR; < two escape attempts). Based upon the outcome of five successive backtests piglets were eventually classified as R (n=95), as NR (n=77), or as Doubtful (n=46). Results showed that two backtests performed on piglets at an early age may suffice for practical use. A striking finding was the good association that existed between the outcome of the backtests and of the SC test. The individuals that resisted in the backtests were the aggressive ones in a social situation, while the non-resistant individuals were the non-aggressive ones. This association and the strong consistency over time strongly suggests an individual behavioural strategy to cope with conflict situations. The idiosyncratic characteristics indicate a bimodal distribution in coping behaviour in pigs; they are active (aggressive and resistant; A/R) or passive (non-aggressive and non-resistant; NA/NR) pigs. Individual physiological characteristics The way these individual behavioural strategies in pigs relate to different behavioural, physiological, and endocrine responses under stress conditions is illustrated in chapter 3. For this, 32 A/R and 32 NA/NR pigs were selected and individually tested in an open field (OF) test at three and eight weeks of age. While A/R pigs more than NA/NR ones tried to escape the OF, the A/R pigs vocalized less during the OF procedure than the NA/NR ones did. Furthermore, the A/R ones explored a novel object inside the OF rapidly and superficially, whereas the NA/NR ones did so gradually but more intensively. The cortisol response to the OF (t=0/t=90) differed between the A/R and the NA/NR pigs. The cortisol response to a farmacological dosis ACTH <sub> 1-39 </sub> (2.5 IU/kg live weight/pig) at three and eight weeks of age showed no significant differences between both types of pigs. Nonetheless, the basal cortisol levels were consistently higher for NA/NR pigs than for A/R ones, and this was eventually accompanied by adrenal hypertrophy in the former. The mean heart rate (HR) in beats/min (bpm) was higher of the A/R pigs compared to the NA/NR ones in two backtests. Moreover, in reaction to the novel object (a falling bucket) in the (second) OF HR of the A/R pigs substantially increased (23.9 bpm = 15.5%), while HR of the NA/NR pigs only slightly increa