Elizabeth S. Paul's research while affiliated with University of Bristol and other places

Publications (84)

Article
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Our experiences of the conscious mental states that we call emotions drive our interest in whether such states also exist in other animals. Because linguistic report can be used as a gold standard (albeit indirect) indicator of subjective emotional feelings in humans but not other species, how can we investigate animal emotions and what exactly do...
Article
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Background: Pet care guidelines play an important role in ensuring that owners are well informed about good husbandry practices, allowing them to provide the best care for their animals. However, the development of such guidelines is difficult when there is little appropriate empirical evidence on which to base guidelines, as in the case of pet ra...
Article
To assess the welfare of captive animals, validated measures, so-called ‘welfare indicators’, are required. We used a triangulation approach to investigate the extent to which different measures converged to provide corroborating evidence of welfare. Laying hens were exposed to living conditions designed to be generally preferred (GP) or generally...
Article
We previously identified in laboratory mice an inactive state [being awake with eyes open motionless within the home cage; inactive but awake, ‘IBA’] sharing etiological factors and symptoms with human clinical depression. We further test the hypothesis that greater time spent displaying IBA indicates a depression-like state in mice by investigatin...
Article
Surveys provide a low-cost means to obtain large amounts of data that are ideal for conducting exploratory research, and they are becoming an increasingly valuable tool in a veterinary context. We investigated whether surveys of pet rat owners might provide useful data that could pave the way for more targeted empirical studies of pet and laborator...
Article
Good translatability of behavioral measures of affect (emotion) between human and nonhuman animals is core to comparative studies. The judgment bias (JB) task, which measures "optimistic" and "pessimistic" decision-making under ambiguity as indicators of positive and negative affective valence, has been used in both human and nonhuman animals. Howe...
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Background: To date, despite the substantial literature investigating how rats prefer to be kept in captivity, no research has been conducted to assess the housing, husbandry and health of pet rats. Methods: To better understand the United Kingdom's pet rat population and the welfare issues they face, we conducted an online survey of pet rat own...
Article
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Links between affective states and risk-taking are often characterised using summary statistics from serial decision-making tasks. However, our understanding of these links, and the utility of decision-making as a marker of affect, needs to accommodate the fact that ongoing (e.g., within-task) experience of rewarding and punishing decision outcomes...
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The influence of affective states on decision-making is likely to be complex. Negative states resulting from experience of punishing events have been hypothesised to generate enhanced expectations of future punishment and ‘pessimistic’/risk-averse decisions. However, they may also influence how decision-outcomes are valued. Such influences may furt...
Preprint
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Just as happy people see the proverbial glass as half-full, ‘optimistic’ or ‘pessimistic’ responses to ambiguity might also reflect affective states in animals. Judgement bias tests, designed to measure these responses, are an increasingly popular way of assessing animal affect and there is now a substantial, but heterogeneous, literature on their...
Article
Just as happy people see the proverbial glass as half-full, ‘optimistic’ or ‘pessimistic’ responses to ambiguity might also reflect affective states in animals. Judgement bias tests, designed to measure these responses, are an increasingly popular way of assessing animal affect and there is now a substantial, but heterogeneous, literature on their...
Article
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Affective states are key determinants of animal welfare. Assessing such states under field conditions is thus an important goal in animal welfare science. The rapid Defence Cascade (DC) response (startle, freeze) to sudden unexpected stimuli is a potential indicator of animal affect; humans and rodents in negative affective states often show potent...
Preprint
Full-text available
Links between affective states and risk-taking are often characterised using summary statistics from serial decision-making tasks. However, our understanding of these links, and the utility of decision-making as a marker of affect, needs to accommodate the fact that ongoing (e.g. within-task) experience of rewarding and punishing decision outcomes...
Data
Graphical abstract summarising principles of affect and decision-making model
Article
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The scientific study of animal affect (emotion) is an area of growing interest. Whilst research on mechanism and causation has predominated, the study of function is less advanced. This is not due to a lack of hypotheses; in both humans and animals, affective states are frequently proposed to play a pivotal role in coordinating adaptive responses a...
Chapter
This second edition of Mental Health and Well-Being in Animals is fully revised, expanded, and comprehensively updated with the most current knowledge about the full array of mental health issues seen in animals. Written by key opinion leaders, internationally-recognized experts and specialists, it is comprehensive covering basic principles to ment...
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Affect-driven cognitive biases can be used as an indicator of affective (emotional) state. Since humans in negative affective states demonstrate greater responses to negatively-valenced stimuli, we investigated putative affect-related bias in mice by monitoring their response to unexpected, task-irrelevant stimuli of different valence. Thirty-one C...
Article
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Validated measures of animal affect are crucial to research spanning numerous disciplines. Judgement bias, which assesses decision-making under ambiguity, is a promising measure of animal affect. One way of validating this measure is to administer drugs with affect-altering properties in humans to non-human animals and determine whether the predict...
Article
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The componential view of human emotion recognises that affective states comprise conscious, behavioural, physiological, neural and cognitive elements. Although many animals display bodily and behavioural changes consistent with the occurrence of affective states similar to those seen in humans, the question of whether and in which species these are...
Article
Across a 15-year period, annual cohorts of first-year veterinary science students (n = 1,380; 77% female) at a British university completed the Belief in Animal Sentience (BiAS) questionnaire, in which they reported their beliefs about the sentience (capacity to feel) of ten species: dogs, cats, lions, pigs, sheep, rats, rabbits, chickens, bees, an...
Preprint
Full-text available
Validated measures of animal affect are crucial to research spanning a number of disciplines including neuroscience, psychopharmacology, and animal welfare science. Judgement bias, which assesses decision-making under ambiguity, is a promising measure of animal affect. One way of validating this measure is to induce affective states using pharmacol...
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A correction to this article has been published and is linked from the HTML and PDF versions of this paper. The error has not been fixed in the paper.
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Scientific methods for assessing animal affect, especially affective valence (positivity or negativity), allow us to evaluate animal welfare and the effectiveness of 3Rs Refinements designed to improve wellbeing. Judgement bias tasks measure valence; however, task-training may be lengthy and/or require significant time from researchers. Here we dev...
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When measuring animals’ valenced behavioural responses to stimuli, the Conditioned Place Preference (CPP) test goes a step further than many approach-based and avoidance-based tests by establishing whether a learned preference for, or aversion to, the location in which the stimulus was encountered can be generated. We designed a novel, four-chamber...
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Affective states influence decision-making under ambiguity in humans and other animals. Individuals in a negative state tend to interpret ambiguous cues more negatively than individuals in a positive state. We demonstrate that the fruit fly,Drosophila melanogaster, also exhibits state-dependent changes in cue interpretation.Drosophilawere trained o...
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In recent years there has been a growing research interest in the field of animal emotion. But there is still little agreement about whether and how the word “emotion” should be defined for use in the context of non-human species. Here, we make a distinction between descriptive and prescriptive definitions. Descriptive definitions delineate the way...
Article
Syringomyelia is a common and chronic neurological disorder affecting Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. The condition is putatively painful, but evaluating the affective component of chronic pain in non-human animals is challenging. Here we employed two methods designed to assess animal affect - the judgement bias and reward loss sensitivity tests -...
Article
Judgement bias tests of animal affect and hence welfare assume that the animal’s responses to ambiguous stimuli, which may herald positive or negative outcomes, are under instrumental control and reflect ‘optimism’ or ‘pessimism’ about what will happen. However, Pavlovian control favours responses (e.g. approach or withdrawal) according to the vale...
Article
PROGRESS through veterinary education has been linked anecdotally with ‘emotional hardening’, in which students’ concern, respect and compassion for animals are reduced (eg, Lawrence 1997, Karafokas 2011, Tiplady 2012). Blackshaw and Blackshaw (1993) found that Australian students perceived the process of veterinary education to be one of passage f...
Data
Changes in mean (+/- SEM) (a) Affective Grid Activation score and (b) PANAS NA score across the study in Pleasant Room (solid line) and Unpleasant Room (dashed line) subjects. (EPS)
Article
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Positive and negative moods can be treated as prior expectations over future delivery of rewards and punishments. This provides an inferential foundation for the cognitive (judgement) bias task, now widely-used for assessing affective states in non-human animals. In the task, information about affect is extracted from the optimistic or pessimistic...
Article
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Affect-induced cognitive judgement biases occur in both humans and animals. Animals in a more negative affective state tend to interpret ambiguous cues more negatively than animals in a more positive state and vice versa. Investigating animals’ responses to ambiguous cues can therefore be used as a proxy measure of affective state. We investigated...
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Fish are increasingly popular subjects in behavioural and neurobiological research. It is therefore important that they are housed and handled appropriately to ensure good welfare and reliable scientific findings, and that species-appropriate behavioural tests (e.g. of cognitive/affective states) are developed. Routine handling of captive animals m...
Article
Social buffering – the amelioration of an individual’s stress response caused by conspecific presence – is known to be widespread in social mammals but the capacity of birds to act as social buffers has not yet been determined. We previously demonstrated that domestic hens (Gallus gallus domesticus) show socially-mediated arousal when watching thei...
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Asthma is a heterogeneous condition and differential effects of pet ownership on non-atopic versus atopic asthma have been reported. The aim of this study was to investigate whether pet ownership during pregnancy and early childhood was associated with wheezing from birth to age 7 years and with lung function at age 8 years in a UK population-based...
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Sociality motivation, the need to feel socially connected with others, has been proposed as an important determinant of individual variation in anthropomorphic thinking. Specifically, it has been suggested that people who are socially isolated or disconnected will tend to infer more human-like mental states in animals and other nonhuman agents (com...
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Decision-making under ambiguity in cognitive bias tasks is a promising new indicator of affective valence in animals. Rat studies support the hypothesis that animals in a negative affective state evaluate ambiguous cues negatively. Prior automated operant go/go judgement bias tasks have involved training rats that an auditory cue of one frequency p...
Article
Background Studies have shown an inverse association of pet ownership with allergy but inconclusive findings for asthma. Objective To investigate whether pet ownership during pregnancy and childhood was associated with asthma and atopy at the age of 7 in a UK population-based birth cohort. Methods Data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents an...
Article
Dealing with animal death and euthanasia is a major part of veterinary practice, with social and emotional consequences that can sometimes be considerable for clients and veterinarians (Shaw and Lagoni 2007, Morris 2012, Witte and others 2013). Compared with end-of-life (EOL) studies in human medicine, relatively little research has been directed t...
Article
A descriptive study to determine the current status of end-of-life (EOL) issues in UK medical schools. A brief questionnaire was mailed to the 31 medical schools in the United Kingdom in the spring of 2013. Data analysis consisted of frequency distributions. All schools offered some exposure to the topic of dying, death and bereavement, and palliat...
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Several factors influence how we interpret the behavior of another individual. In the current study, we investigated the effect of level of animal empathy, as well as the level of experience with dogs, on the interpretation of dog behavior. Forty-seven veterinary students participated in the study. Each student filled out a printed questionnaire on...
Article
Animal death produces many challenges for the veterinarian. Her/his knowledge and experience are crucial for making decisions concerning euthanasia, as owners are often not capable of assessing the quality of life of their pets (Fernandez-Mehler and others 2013). He/she is also responsible for assuring a smooth and peaceful transition for the patie...
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Moods can be regarded as fluctuating dispositions to make positive and negative evaluations. Developing an evolutionary approach to mood as an adaptive process, we consider the structure and function of such states in guiding behavioural decisions regarding the acquisition of resources and the avoidance of harm in different circumstances. We use a...
Article
We previously demonstrated that domestic hens, Gallus gallus domesticus, show behavioural and phys-iological responses when witnessing mild chick distress, and possess the underlying foundations of emotional empathy. However, no studies have determined how cognitive influences affect empathic processes in birds. A fundamental question is whether a...
Article
Incomplete detection, high tolerance of lameness, and shortage of time and labour have been identified as barriers to reducing lameness in dairy herds. The effects of farmer participation in a project aimed at reducing lameness in dairy cattle on these factors were investigated. Over the course of the project farmers' detection of lameness improved...
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Background: It is well established that there is anxiety-related variation between observers in the very earliest, pre-attentive stage of visual processing of images such as emotionally expressive faces, often leading to enhanced attention to threat in a variety of disorders and traits. Whether there is also variation in early-stage affective (i.e...
Article
Domestic animals may be frequently exposed to situations in which they witness the distress or pain of conspecifics and the extent to which they are affected by this will depend on their capacity for empathy. Empathy encompasses two partially distinct sets of processes concerned with the emotional and cognitive systems. The term, empathy, is theref...
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The capacity of animals to empathise is of high potential relevance to the welfare of group-housed domestic animals. Emotional empathy is a multifaceted and multilayered phenomenon which ranges from relatively simple processes such as emotional matching behaviour to more complex processes involving interaction between emotional and cognitive perspe...
Article
Interest in the induction and measurement of positive affective states in non-human animals is increasing. Here, we used a test of cognitive (judgement) bias, based on the finding that individuals experiencing different affective states judge ambiguous stimuli differently, to measure whether a positive low arousal affective state (e.g. ‘satisfactio...
Article
Bees exposed to vigorous shaking designed to simulate a dangerous event judge ambiguous stimuli as predicting a negative outcome - a 'pessimistic' cognitive bias that is characteristic of anxious or depressed humans and other vertebrates in putative negative emotional states.
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Animals (including humans) often face circumstances in which the best choice of action is not certain. Environmental cues may be ambiguous, and choices may be risky. This paper reviews the theoretical side of decision-making under uncertainty, particularly with regard to unknown risk (ambiguity). We use simple models to show that, irrespective of p...
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The extent to which an animal is affected by the pain or distress of a conspecific will depend on its capacity for empathy. Empathy most probably evolved to facilitate parental care, so the current study assessed whether birds responded to an aversive stimulus directed at their chicks. Domestic hens were exposed to two replicates of the following c...
Article
In addition to triggering appropriate physiological activity and behavioural responses, emotions and moods can have an important role in decision making. Anxiety, for example, arises in potentially dangerous situations and can bias people to judge many stimuli as more threatening. Here, we investigated the possibility that affective states may also...
Article
Interest in the induction and measurement of positive affective states in non-human animals is increasing. Here, we used a test of cognitive (judgement) bias, based on the finding that individuals experiencing different affective states judge ambiguous stimuli differently, to measure whether a positive low arousal affective state (e.g. 'satisfactio...
Article
Full-text available
A better understanding of animal emotion is an important goal in disciplines ranging from neuroscience to animal welfare science. The conscious experience of emotion cannot be assessed directly, but neural, behavioural and physiological indicators of emotion can be measured. Researchers have used these measures to characterize how animals respond t...
Article
Reducing lameness in dairy herds requires farmers to adapt or change existing practices or resources. Those who seek to improve animal welfare by influencing the actions of farmers need to understand farmers' motivations. To investigate why farmers see lameness as a problem and what motivates their efforts to reduce lameness, a questionnaire was ca...
Article
Up to five million pet dogs in the UK (∼50% of the population) may, at some stage of their lives, perform undesirable separation-related behaviour (SRB) when left home alone [1], including vocalising, destruction and toileting [2]. Some owners perceive their dog to be 'fine' or even 'happy' when performing SRB [3], a few seek professional help [1],...
Article
On 222 dairy farms, the farmer's perception of the scale of the herd lameness problem was compared with the prevalence detected by observation of the milking herd, and a questionnaire explored the barriers to lameness reduction. Ninety percent of farmers did not perceive lameness to be a major problem on their farm, although the average prevalence...
Article
The primary responsibility of veterinarians is to the animals in their care, so veterinary students need to be aware of important issues and factual information relevantto animal welfare. Veterinarians have tended to concentrate on physical aspects of welfare, but also need to take account of mental aspects (including pain) and naturalness. A cruci...
Article
As in humans, 'cognitive biases' in the way in which animals judge ambiguous stimuli may be influenced by emotional state and hence a valuable new indicator of animal emotion. There is increasing evidence that animals experiencing different emotional states following exposure to long-term environmental manipulations show contrasting biases in their...
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Accurate assessment of animal emotion (affect) is an important goal in animal welfare science, and in areas such as neuroscience and psychopharmacology. Direct measures of conscious emotion are not available, so assessment of animal affect has relied on measures of the behavioural and physiological components of affective states. These are importan...
Article
The importance of understanding the mental experiences of animals in order to assess their welfare was recognised by the 1965 UK Brambell Committee Report. The report further suggested that the extent to which animals live life in the present moment has a major impact on their capacity for suffering. Limited ability to recall previous events and im...
Article
Humans experiencing different background emotional states display contrasting cognitive (e.g. judgement) biases when responding to ambiguous stimuli. We have proposed that such biases may be used as indicators of animal emotional state. Here, we used a spatial judgement task, in which animals were trained to expect food in one location and not anot...
Article
Full-text available
The scientific study of animal emotion is an important emerging discipline in subjects ranging from neuroscience to animal welfare research. In the absence of direct measures of conscious emotion, indirect behavioural and physiological measures are used. However, these may have significant limitations (e.g. indicating emotional arousal but not vale...