Domestic chicks (Gallus gallus domesticus) have been widely used as a model to study the motion cues that allow visually naïve organisms to detect animate agents shortly after hatching/birth. Our previous work has shown that chicks prefer to approach agents whose main body axis and motion direction are aligned (a feature typical of creatures whose motion is constrained by a bilaterally symmetric body plan). However, it has never been investigated whether chicks are also sensitive to the fact that an agent maintains a stable front-back body orientation in motion (i.e. consistency in which end is leading and which trailing). This is another feature typical of bilateria, which is also associated with the detection of animate agents in humans. The aim of the present study was to fill this gap. Contrary to our initial expectations, after testing 300 chicks across 3 experimental conditions, we found a recurrent preference for the agent which did not maintain a stable front-back body orientation. Since this preference was limited to female chicks, the results are discussed also in relation to sex differences in the social behaviour of this model. Overall, we show for the first time that chicks can discriminate agents based on the stability of their front-back orientation. The unexpected direction of the effect could reflect a preference for agents' whose behaviour is less predictable. Chicks may prefer agents with greater behavioural variability, a trait which has been associated with animate agents, or have a tendency to explore agents performing "odd behaviours".

Naïve chicks do not prefer objects with stable body orientation, though they may prefer behavioural variability / Rosa-Salva, Orsola; Hernik, Mikołaj; Fabbroni, Martina; Lorenzi, Elena; Vallortigara, Giorgio. - In: ANIMAL COGNITION. - ISSN 1435-9448. - 26:4(2023), pp. 1177-1189. [10.1007/s10071-023-01764-3]

Naïve chicks do not prefer objects with stable body orientation, though they may prefer behavioural variability

Rosa-Salva, Orsola
;
Lorenzi, Elena;Vallortigara, Giorgio
2023-01-01

Abstract

Domestic chicks (Gallus gallus domesticus) have been widely used as a model to study the motion cues that allow visually naïve organisms to detect animate agents shortly after hatching/birth. Our previous work has shown that chicks prefer to approach agents whose main body axis and motion direction are aligned (a feature typical of creatures whose motion is constrained by a bilaterally symmetric body plan). However, it has never been investigated whether chicks are also sensitive to the fact that an agent maintains a stable front-back body orientation in motion (i.e. consistency in which end is leading and which trailing). This is another feature typical of bilateria, which is also associated with the detection of animate agents in humans. The aim of the present study was to fill this gap. Contrary to our initial expectations, after testing 300 chicks across 3 experimental conditions, we found a recurrent preference for the agent which did not maintain a stable front-back body orientation. Since this preference was limited to female chicks, the results are discussed also in relation to sex differences in the social behaviour of this model. Overall, we show for the first time that chicks can discriminate agents based on the stability of their front-back orientation. The unexpected direction of the effect could reflect a preference for agents' whose behaviour is less predictable. Chicks may prefer agents with greater behavioural variability, a trait which has been associated with animate agents, or have a tendency to explore agents performing "odd behaviours".
2023
4
Rosa-Salva, Orsola; Hernik, Mikołaj; Fabbroni, Martina; Lorenzi, Elena; Vallortigara, Giorgio
Naïve chicks do not prefer objects with stable body orientation, though they may prefer behavioural variability / Rosa-Salva, Orsola; Hernik, Mikołaj; Fabbroni, Martina; Lorenzi, Elena; Vallortigara, Giorgio. - In: ANIMAL COGNITION. - ISSN 1435-9448. - 26:4(2023), pp. 1177-1189. [10.1007/s10071-023-01764-3]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11572/415730
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