Veterinarian and ethologist Dr Charlotte Goursot has received this year's International Society of Livestock Husbandry (IGN) Research Award for her dissertation "Laterality in pigs and its links with personality, emotions and animal welfare", written at the Institute of Behavioural Physiology at the FBN. The dissertation was submitted via the Chair of Behavioural Science at the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at the University of Rostock and defended in 2020. The IGN Research Prize is awarded for outstanding scientific achievements that serve the assessment and further development of species-appropriate and behaviourally appropriate animal husbandry.
In theory-based behavioural studies on emotional laterality in pigs, Dr Goursot was able to demonstrate for the first time that the two hemispheres of the animals' brains process different emotions. Individual differences in laterality were found, which can be interpreted as "affective styles" or personality traits of the animals when evaluating their environment. Understanding these processes helps to shape the housing and living conditions for farm animals in such a way that their behavioural needs can be better met and animal welfare can be improved.