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Behav Brain Res. 2010 Apr 2;208(2):516-21. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2009.12.042. Epub 2010 Jan 7.

Dogs turn left to emotional stimuli.

Author information

1
Department of Animal Production, University of Bari, Valenzano, Italy. m.siniscalchi@veterinaria.uniba.it

Abstract

During feeding behaviour, dogs were suddenly presented with 2D stimuli depicting the silhouette of a dog, a cat or a snake simultaneously into the left and right visual hemifields. A bias to turn the head towards the left rather than the right side was observed with the cat and snake stimulus but not with the dog stimulus. Latencies to react following stimulus presentation were lower for left than for right head turning, whereas times needed to resume feeding behaviour were higher after left rather than after right head turning. When stimuli were presented only to the left or right visual hemifields, dogs proved to be more responsive to left side presentation, irrespective of the type of stimulus. However, cat and snake stimuli produced shorter latencies to react and longer times to resume feeding following left rather than right monocular visual hemifield presentation. Results demonstrate striking lateralization in dogs, with the right side of the brain more responsive to threatening and alarming stimuli. Possible implications for animal welfare are discussed.

PMID:
20060016
DOI:
10.1016/j.bbr.2009.12.042
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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