Einfluss des coping-Typs auf Verhaltensflexibilität und Stressreaktivitat von Zwergziegen in Kontext von Lernversuchen

Contact: Dr. Susann Oesterwind

Duration: 2014-2018

Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

During the confrontation with specific classes of environmental stimuli, individual differences that are consistent across various situations have been described in animals with regard to behavioural as well as physiological characteristics. During coping with challenging or threatening events, several animal species show distinct patterns of behavioural, neuroendocrine and autonomic stress response, which are described as coping types. Tests that measure different facets of boldness and behavioural flexibility often discriminate between a proactive and a reactive type. Behavioural flexibility is defined as the ability of an individual to react on environmental stimuli and to adapt its behaviour to changing conditions. Differences in behavioural flexibility seem to be an important underlying attribute or feature of the coping types described above and can explain individual differences in a variety of behaviours and situations. The goal of the project is to identify, in female juvenile dwarf goats representatives of the different coping types by means of behavioural testing and to investigate the impact of the coping type on behavioural flexibility in the context of visual and spatial learning. Possible differences in autonomous regulatory capacity between the coping types should be investigated. In farm animals, the knowledge of specific coping types and their impact on behavioural flexibility and autonomous regulation are of particular importance for animal welfare.