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Lateralization of Social Cognition in the Domestic Chicken [Gallus Gallus)

Jonathan Niall Daisley, Elena Mascalzoni, Orsola Rosa-Salva, Rosa Rugani and Lucia Regolin
Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences
Vol. 364, No. 1519, Mechanisms and Functions of Brain and Behavioural Asymmetries (Apr. 12, 2009), pp. 965-981
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40486076
Page Count: 17
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Lateralization of Social Cognition in the Domestic Chicken [Gallus Gallus)
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Abstract

In this paper, we report on the ongoing work in our laboratories on the effect of lateralization produced by light exposure in the egg on social cognition in the domestic chick (Gallus gallus). The domestic chick possesses a lateralized visual system. This has effects on the chick's perception towards and interaction with its environment. This includes its ability to live successfully within a social group. We show that there is a tendency for right brain hemisphere dominance when performing social cognitive actions. As such, chicks show a left hemispatial bias for approaching a signalled target object, tend to perceive gaze and faces of human-like masks more effectively when using their left eye, are able to inhibit a pecking response more effectively when viewing a neighbour tasting a bitter substance with their left eye, and are better able to perform a transitive inference task when exposed to light in the egg and when forced to use their left eye only compared to dark-hatched or right eye chicks. Some of these effects were sex specific, with male chicks tending to show an increased effect of lateralization on their behaviours. These data are discussed in terms of overall social cognition in group living.

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