Coherent use of information by hens observing their former dominant defeating or being defeated by a stranger.

Hogue, Michèle E. and Beaugrand, Jacques P. and Lague, Paul C. (1996) Coherent use of information by hens observing their former dominant defeating or being defeated by a stranger. [Journal (Paginated)]

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This study examines the role of observation during the formation of triads in female domestic hens. Results indicate that during hierarchy formation, a hen observing agonistic interactions and conflict settlement between its former dominant and a stranger uses this information when in turn confronted by the latter. Under a first condition (E, N=15 triads), bystanders witnessed their prior dominant being defeated by a stranger before being introduced to them. In a second condition (C1, N=16 triads), bystanders witnessed the victory of their prior dominant over a stranger. In a third condition (C2, N=15 triads), bystanders witnessed two strangers establishing a dominance relationship before being introduced to their prior dominant and to a stranger the former had just defeated. The behavioural strategies of bystanders depended on the issue of the conflict they had witnessed. Bystanders of the E condition behaved as having no chance of defeating the stranger. They never initiated an attack against it, and upon being attacked, readily submitted in turn to the stranger. On the contrary, bystanders of the C1 condition behaved as having some chances against the stranger. They initiated attacks in 50% of cases, and won 50% of conflicts against the stranger. Under condition C2, bystanders first initiated contact with the strangers in only 27% of cases, which approximates the average of their chances for defeating the stranger. However, bystanders finally defeated the strangers in 40% of cases. These results suggest that bystanders of conditions E and C1 gained some information on the relationship existing between their prior dominant and the stranger and that they used it coherently, perhaps through transitive inference, thus contributing to the existence of transitive relationships within the triads. Alternate explanations are examined.

Item Type:Journal (Paginated)
Keywords:Domestic fowl; Dominance; Hierarchy formation; Observation; Transitive inference
Subjects:Biology > Animal Behavior
Biology > Animal Cognition
Biology > Ethology
Psychology > Cognitive Psychology
Psychology > Comparative Psychology
ID Code:1939
Deposited By:Beaugrand, Jacques
Deposited On:01 Dec 2001
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:54

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