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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Better the devil you know: avian predators find variation in prey toxicity aversive.
Biol. Lett.
PUBLISHED: 11-14-2014
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Toxic prey that signal their defences to predators using conspicuous warning signals are called 'aposematic'. Predators learn about the toxic content of aposematic prey and reduce their attacks on them. However, through regulating their toxin intake, predators will include aposematic prey in their diets when the benefits of gaining the nutrients they contain outweigh the costs of ingesting the prey's toxins. Predators face a problem when managing their toxin intake: prey sharing the same warning signal often vary in their toxicities. Given that predators should avoid uncertainty when managing their toxin intake, we tested whether European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) preferred to eat fixed-defence prey (where all prey contained a 2% quinine solution) to mixed-defence prey (where half the prey contained a 4% quinine solution and the other half contained only water). Our results support the idea that predators should be more 'risk-averse' when foraging on variably defended prey and suggest that variation in toxicity levels could be a form of defence.
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Effects of watching eyes and norm cues on charitable giving in a surreptitious behavioral experiment.
Evol Psychol
PUBLISHED: 10-22-2014
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A series of experimental studies by multiple groups of researchers have found that displaying images of watching eyes causes people to behave more prosocially. It is not yet clear whether watching eyes increase prosocial motivation per se, or whether they simply make people's behavior more normative. Here, we report results from a surreptitious behavioral experiment examining the impacts of watching eye images and cues to local norms on charitable donations in a controlled setting. Eye images significantly increased average donations. Eye images did not make people conform more closely to the apparent norm overall. Instead, there were different patterns according to the apparent norm. For an apparent norm of small donations, eye images made many participants more generous than the norm. For an apparent norm of large donations, there was an excess of participants giving zero in the no-eyes treatment, which was abolished in the eyes treatment. Our results can be explained by a combination of watching eyes increasing prosocial motivation and reluctance to leave a donation visibly less generous than the norm.
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Humans are not fooled by size illusions in attractiveness judgements.
Evol. Hum. Behav.
PUBLISHED: 04-11-2014
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Could signallers use size contrast illusions to dishonestly exaggerate their attractiveness to potential mates? Using composite photographs of women from three body mass index (BMI) categories designed to simulate small groups, we show that target women of medium size are judged as thinner when surrounded by larger women than when surrounded by thinner women. However, attractiveness judgements of the same target women were unaffected by this illusory change in BMI, despite small true differences in the BMIs of the target women themselves producing strong effects on attractiveness. Thus, in the context of mate choice decisions, the honesty of female body size as a signal of mate quality appears to have been maintained by the evolution of assessment strategies that are immune to size contrast illusions. Our results suggest that receiver psychology is more flexible than previously assumed, and that illusions are unlikely to drive the evolution of exploitative neighbour choice in human sexual displays.
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The memory of hunger: developmental plasticity of dietary selectivity in the European starling, Sturnus vulgaris.
Anim Behav
PUBLISHED: 01-16-2014
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The decision to consume toxic prey is a trade-off between the benefits of obtaining nutrients and the costs of ingesting toxins. This trade-off is affected by current state: animals will consume more toxic prey if they are food deprived. However, whether the trade-off is affected by developmental history is currently unknown. We studied the decision to eat quinine-injected mealworms in adult starling siblings that had been exposed to either high or low levels of food competition as chicks, via a brood size manipulation. At the time of our experiments, the two groups of birds did not differ in size, body weight or current environment. Each bird was presented with the toxic prey while living on a high-quality diet and a low-quality diet. We found an effect of diet, with birds consuming more toxic prey while on the low-quality diet, and also of developmental history, with birds from the high-competition brood size treatment eating more toxic prey than their low-competition siblings. The effects of brood size treatment were not completely mediated by early growth, although we did find evidence that early growth affected toxic prey consumption independently of brood size treatment. We discuss our results in relation to adaptive developmental plasticity and the developmental origins of behavioural variation.
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Measuring motivation for appetitive behaviour: food-restricted broiler breeder chickens cross a water barrier to forage in an area of wood shavings without food.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2014
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Broiler breeders (parents of meat chickens) are selected for fast growth and become obese if fed ad libitum. To avoid this and maintain good health and reproductive ability, they are feed restricted to about 1/3 of what they would eat ad libitum. As a result, they experience chronic hunger and exhibit abnormal behaviour patterns that may indicate stress and frustration. One approach to measuring hunger is to observe how much birds will work, such as pecking a key, for access to more or different types of food. However, the sight, smell, and feedback from consumption of the feed reward changes the context and may artificially raise feeding motivation. To avoid this, we tested broiler breeders in an apparatus in which they could work for access to a wooden platform covered in wood shavings by crossing a water runway which increased in length and depth in 8 successive tests. In the wood shavings area, they could perform exploratory and foraging behaviour (the appetitive phase of feeding) but were never rewarded with feed. Sixty birds were divided into three feed quantity treatments: commercial restriction (R), and twice (2R) or three times (3R) this amount. Overall, birds fed R worked harder to reach the wood shavings area (reached it in a larger number of tests) than 2R and 3R birds (P<0.001). More restricted birds took less time to reach the area (P<0.001, R<2R<3R) and spent more time foraging while there (P<0.001, R>2R>3R). This indicates that restricted-fed birds were hungry and willing to work for the opportunity to forage even though food was never provided, suggesting that their motivation to perform the appetitive component of feeding behaviour (foraging/food searching) was sufficient to sustain their response. Thus food restriction in broiler breeders is a welfare concern. However these methods could be used to test alternative feeding regimes to attempt to find ways of alleviating hunger while still maintaining healthy growth and reproduction in these birds.
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Hand rearing affects emotional responses but not basic cognitive performance in European starlings.
Anim Behav
PUBLISHED: 04-09-2013
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Hand rearing is a common procedure in behavioural research on birds. While likely to produce tamer experimental animals, there is a risk that it could induce pathological changes in brain and behaviour similar to those seen in mammals that have experienced maternal separation. We explored the effects of hand rearing on the cognitive and behavioural development of European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris, to assess the generality of results obtained from hand-reared animals. Two groups of age-matched birds were created from the same wild population: one hand-reared from 10 days posthatch and one brought into the laboratory as independent juveniles. These groups were compared on a battery of neuropsychological tasks designed to probe different aspects of cognitive function including learning, perseverative cognition, interval timing, neophobia and impulsivity. There was no evidence for cognitive impairment in the hand-reared birds. They did not have reduced learning speed, impairments in accuracy or precision of interval timing or pathological perseverative cognition compared to the wild-caught birds. Additionally, there was no evidence that birds that developed stereotypies in laboratory cages (predominantly the wild-caught birds) had any cognitive impairments, although this may be because no birds had severe, crystallized stereotypies. There was some evidence that hand-reared birds were less neophobic and less impulsive than wild-caught birds, suggesting that hand rearing might alter emotionally mediated decision making in a direction usually associated with reduced developmental stress in mammals. This study therefore supports the use of hand rearing as an experimental procedure in behavioural research on passerine birds.
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Responses of chimpanzees to cues of conspecific observation.
Anim Behav
PUBLISHED: 03-18-2013
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Recent evidence has shown that humans are remarkably sensitive to artificial cues of conspecific observation when making decisions with potential social consequences. Whether similar effects are found in other great apes has not yet been investigated. We carried out two experiments in which individual chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes, took items of food from an array in the presence of either an image of a large conspecific face or a scrambled control image. In experiment 1 we compared three versions of the face image varying in size and the amount of the face displayed. In experiment 2 we compared a fourth variant of the image with more prominent coloured eyes displayed closer to the focal chimpanzee. The chimpanzees did not look at the face images significantly more than at the control images in either experiment. Although there were trends for some individuals in each experiment to be slower to take high-value food items in the face conditions, these were not consistent or robust. We suggest that the extreme human sensitivity to cues of potential conspecific observation may not be shared with chimpanzees.
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Bottom of the Heap: Having Heavier Competitors Accelerates Early-Life Telomere Loss in the European Starling, Sturnus vulgaris.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Early-life adversity is associated with poorer health and survival in adulthood in humans and other animals. One pathway by which early-life environmental stressors could affect the adult phenotype is via effects on telomere dynamics. Several studies have shown that early-life adversity is associated with relatively short telomeres, but these are often cross-sectional and usually correlational in design. Here, we present a novel experimental system for studying the relationship between early-life adversity and telomere dynamics using a wild bird, the European starling (Sturnus vulgaris). We used cross-fostering to experimentally assign sibling chicks to either small or large broods for twelve days of the growth period. We measured telomere length in red blood cells using quantitative PCR near the beginning of the experimental manipulation (4 days old), at the end of the experimental manipulation (15 days old), and once the birds were independent (55 days old). Being in a larger brood slowed growth and retarded wing development and the timing of fledging. We found no evidence that overall brood size affected telomere dynamics. However, the greater the number of competitors above the focal bird in the within-brood size hierarchy, the greater was the telomere loss during the period of the experimental manipulation. The number of competitors below the focal in the hierarchy had no effect. The effect of heavier competitors was still evident when we controlled for the weight of the focal bird at the end of the manipulation, suggesting it was not due to retarded growth per se. Moreover, the impact of early competition on telomeres was still evident at independence, suggesting persistence beyond early life. Our study provides experimental support for the hypothesis that social stress, in this case induced by the presence of a greater number of dominant competitors, accelerates the rate of telomere loss.
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Do images of watching eyes induce behaviour that is more pro-social or more normative? A field experiment on littering.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Displaying images of eyes causes people to behave more pro-socially in a variety of contexts. However, it is unclear whether eyes work by making people universally more pro-social, or by making them more likely to conform to local norms. If the latter, images of eyes could sometimes make people less pro-social if pro-social behaviour is not the local norm. To separate these hypotheses we conducted a field experiment in which we explored whether manipulating a local descriptive norm altered the eyes effect. We recorded litter dropping decisions on a university campus in a 2 x 2 design, comparing situations with and without litter already on the ground (a manipulation of the local descriptive norm) and with and without large signs displaying images of watching eyes. We additionally recorded the number of potential human observers in the vicinity at the time of each littering decision. We observed a norm effect: the presence of litter on the ground increased littering, replicating previous findings. We also found that images of watching eyes reduced littering, although contrary to previous findings this was only when there were larger numbers of people around. With regard to our central aim, we found no evidence that litter on the ground interacted non-additively with images of eyes to induce increased littering behaviour. Our data therefore support the hypothesis that images of eyes induce more pro-social behaviour, independent of local norms. This finding has positive implications for the application of eye images in combating anti-social behaviour.
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Anxiety: an evolutionary approach.
Can J Psychiatry
PUBLISHED: 12-14-2011
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Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses, with huge attendant suffering. Current treatments are not universally effective, suggesting that a deeper understanding of the causes of anxiety is needed. To understand anxiety disorders better, it is first necessary to understand the normal anxiety response. This entails considering its evolutionary function as well as the mechanisms underlying it. We argue that the function of the human anxiety response, and homologues in other species, is to prepare the individual to detect and deal with threats. We use a signal detection framework to show that the threshold for expressing the anxiety response ought to vary with the probability of threats occurring, and the individuals vulnerability to them if they do occur. These predictions are consistent with major patterns in the epidemiology of anxiety. Implications for research and treatment are discussed.
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The development of stereotypic behavior in caged European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris.
Dev Psychobiol
PUBLISHED: 08-27-2011
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Stereotypic behavior in captive animals has been hypothesized to emerge from thwarted natural behavior patterns and is thought to be more common in captive-reared animals. However, data on the early stages of developing stereotypies are currently scarce. We compared the development of stereotypic route-tracing and somersaulting in hand-reared and wild-caught starlings placed in individual cages for the first time. We found that wild-caught birds were less active but showed more escape motivation and more evidence of route-tracing behavior. Furthermore, somersaulting was only observed in wild-caught birds. Development of somersaulting was predicted by subtle differences in behavior during the first few days in cages and developed in individuals with low levels of route-tracing behavior. Our data suggest a role for escape motivation in the development of starling stereotypies and additionally that route-tracing and somersaulting may represent alternative outlets for thwarted escape. In contrast to observations from mammals, our results show that stereotypies are more common in wild-caught starlings.
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Context-dependent decisions among options varying in a single dimension.
Behav. Processes
PUBLISHED: 05-24-2011
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Contrary to theories of rational choice, adding alternatives to a choice set can change the choices made by both humans and animals. This is usually done by adding an inferior decoy to a choice set of two favoured options that are characterized on two distinct dimensions. We presented wild, free-living rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufus) with choices between two or three options that varied in a single dimension only. The options varied in concentration, in volume or in corolla length. When the options varied in concentration, the addition of a medium option to a choice set of a low and a high concentration caused birds to increase their preference for the high option. However, they decreased their preference for the high concentration option when a low option was added to a choice set of high and medium concentrations. When the options varied only in volume, the addition of a high volume option to a choice set of low and medium options decreased the birds preference for the medium option. We saw no effects of adding a third option when the options varied in corolla length alone. Hummingbirds, then, make context-dependent decisions even when the options vary in only a single dimension although which effect occurs seems to depend on the dimension being manipulated. None of the current theories alone adequately explain these results.
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Agitated honeybees exhibit pessimistic cognitive biases.
Curr. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 03-25-2011
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Whether animals experience human-like emotions is controversial and of immense societal concern [1-3]. Because animals cannot provide subjective reports of how they feel, emotional state can only be inferred using physiological, cognitive, and behavioral measures [4-8]. In humans, negative feelings are reliably correlated with pessimistic cognitive biases, defined as the increased expectation of bad outcomes [9-11]. Recently, mammals [12-16] and birds [17-20] with poor welfare have also been found to display pessimistic-like decision making, but cognitive biases have not thus far been explored in invertebrates. Here, we ask whether honeybees display a pessimistic cognitive bias when they are subjected to an anxiety-like state induced by vigorous shaking designed to simulate a predatory attack. We show for the first time that agitated bees are more likely to classify ambiguous stimuli as predicting punishment. Shaken bees also have lower levels of hemolymph dopamine, octopamine, and serotonin. In demonstrating state-dependent modulation of categorization in bees, and thereby a cognitive component of emotion, we show that the bees response to a negatively valenced event has more in common with that of vertebrates than previously thought. This finding reinforces the use of cognitive bias as a measure of negative emotional states across species and suggests that honeybees could be regarded as exhibiting emotions.
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Fear and exploration in European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris): a comparison of hand-reared and wild-caught birds.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 03-24-2011
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The revision of EU legislation will ban the use of wild-caught animals in scientific procedures. This change is partially predicated on the assumption that captive-rearing produces animals with reduced fearfulness. Previously, we have shown that hand-reared starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) indeed exhibit reduced fear of humans compared to wild-caught conspecifics. Here, we asked whether this reduction in fear in hand-reared birds is limited to fear of humans or extends more generally to fear of novel environments and novel objects. Comparing 6-8 month old birds hand-reared in the lab with age-matched birds caught from the wild as fledged juveniles a minimum of 1 month previously, we examined the birds initial reactions in a novel environment (a small cage) and found that wild-caught starlings were faster to initiate movement compared to the hand-reared birds. We interpret this difference as evidence for greater escape motivation in the wild-caught birds. In contrast, we found no differences between hand-reared and wild-caught birds when tested in novel object tests assumed to measure neophobia and exploratory behaviour. Moreover, we found no correlations between individual birds responses in the different tests, supporting the idea that these measure different traits (e.g. fear and exploration). In summary, our data show that developmental origin affects one measure of response to novelty in young starlings, indicative of a difference in either fear or coping style in a stressful situation. Our data contribute to a growing literature demonstrating effects of early-life experience on later behaviour in a range of species. However, since we did not find consistent evidence for reduced fearfulness in hand-reared birds, we remain agnostic about the welfare benefits of hand-rearing as a method for sourcing wild birds for behavioural and physiological research.
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Hand-rearing reduces fear of humans in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 02-01-2011
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Pending changes in European legislation ban the use of wild-caught animals in research. This change is partly justified on the assumption that captive-breeding (or hand-rearing) increases welfare of captive animals because these practices result in animals with reduced fear of humans. However, there are few actual data on the long-term behavioural effects of captive-breeding in non-domestic species, and these are urgently needed in order to understand the welfare and scientific consequences of adopting this practice. We compared the response of hand-reared and wild-caught starlings to the presence of a human in the laboratory. During human presence, all birds increased their general locomotor activity but the wild-caught birds moved away from the human and were less active than the hand-reared birds. After the human departed, the wild-caught birds were slower to decrease their activity back towards baseline levels, and showed a dramatic increase in time at the periphery of the cage compared with the hand-reared birds. We interpret these data as showing evidence of a greater fear response in wild-caught birds with initial withdrawal followed by a subsequent rebound of prolonged attempts to escape the cage. We found no effects of environmental enrichment. However, birds in cages on low shelves were less active than birds on upper shelves, and showed a greater increase in the time spent at the periphery of their cages after the human departed, perhaps indicating that the lower cages were more stressful. In demonstrating reduced fear of humans in hand-reared birds, our results support one of the proposed welfare benefits of this practice, but without further data on the possible welfare costs of hand-rearing, it is not yet possible to reach a general conclusion about its net welfare impact. However, our results confirm a clear scientific impact of both hand-rearing and cage position at the behavioural level.
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The use of passerine bird species in laboratory research: implications of basic biology for husbandry and welfare.
ILAR J
PUBLISHED: 12-07-2010
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Passerine birds are important models in fundamental biological research, with as many as 300,000 individuals used in laboratory experiments worldwide annually. However, because the use of passerines is rare compared with that of more conventional laboratory animals, there is often a lack of information about the basic biology and husbandry requirements of these species. We aim to address this deficit by providing an overview of the most salient aspects of passerine biology and their implications for laboratory husbandry and welfare. We start by describing the characteristics that make these birds useful and interesting research subjects. Specifically, we highlight features (e.g., birdsong) of passerine biology that differentiate these birds from more common laboratory animals. Next, we consider the implications of passerine biology for husbandry in the laboratory. Many of the aspects of passerine biology that make these species valuable to scientists are also likely to be affected by environmental variables; a good knowledge of these variables is necessary in order to choose appropriate laboratory conditions for passerines. We outline how the developmental history of the birds and choices of caging, feeding, and environmental regimes might influence their physiology and behavior and thus affect both the welfare of the birds and the quality of the resulting data. We stress the importance of a sound understanding of the biology of any species to ensure good welfare and good science.
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Cognitive bias in the chick anxiety-depression model.
Brain Res.
PUBLISHED: 10-28-2010
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Cognitive bias is a phenomenon that presents in clinical populations where anxious individuals tend to adopt a more pessimistic-like interpretation of ambiguous aversive stimuli whereas depressed individuals tend to adopt a less optimistic-like interpretation of ambiguous appetitive stimuli. To further validate the chick anxiety-depression model as a neuropsychiatric simulation we sought to quantify this cognitive endophenotype. Chicks exposed to an isolation stressor of 5m to induce an anxiety-like or 60 m to induce a depressive-like state were then tested in a straight alley maze to a series of morphed ambiguous appetitive (chick silhouette) to aversive (owl silhouette) cues. In non-isolated controls, runway start and goal latencies generally increased as a function of greater amounts of aversive characteristics in the cues. In chicks in the anxiety-like state, runway latencies were increased to aversive ambiguous cues, reflecting more pessimistic-like behavior. In chicks in the depression-like state, runway latencies were increased to both aversive and appetitive ambiguous cues, reflecting more pessimistic-like and less optimistic-like behavior, respectively.
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Stereotyping starlings are more pessimistic.
Anim Cogn
PUBLISHED: 04-21-2010
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Negative affect in humans and animals is known to cause individuals to interpret ambiguous stimuli pessimistically, a phenomenon termed cognitive bias. Here, we used captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) to test the hypothesis that a reduction in environmental conditions, from enriched to non-enriched cages, would engender negative affect, and hence pessimistic biases. We also explored whether individual differences in stereotypic behaviour (repetitive somersaulting) predicted pessimism. Eight birds were trained on a novel conditional discrimination task with differential rewards, in which background shade (light or dark) determined which of two covered dishes contained a food reward. The reward was small when the background was light, but large when the background was dark. We then presented background shades intermediate between those trained to assess the birds bias to choose the dish associated with the smaller food reward (a pessimistic judgement) when the discriminative stimulus was ambiguous. Contrary to predictions, changes in the level of cage enrichment had no effect on pessimism. However, changes in the latency to choose and probability of expressing a choice suggested that birds learnt rapidly that trials with ambiguous stimuli were unreinforced. Individual differences in performance of stereotypies did predict pessimism. Specifically, birds that somersaulted were more likely to choose the dish associated with the smaller food reward in the presence of the most ambiguous discriminative stimulus. We propose that somersaulting is part of a wider suite of behavioural traits indicative of a stress response to captive conditions that is symptomatic of a negative affective state.
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Quantification of abnormal repetitive behaviour in captive European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).
Behav. Processes
PUBLISHED: 03-23-2009
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Stereotypies are repetitive, unvarying and goalless behaviour patterns that are often considered indicative of poor welfare in captive animals. Quantifying stereotypies can be difficult, particularly during the early stages of their development when behaviour is still flexible. We compared two methods for objectively quantifying the development of route-tracing stereotypies in caged starlings. We used Markov chains and T-pattern analysis (implemented by the software package, Theme) to identify patterns in the sequence of locations a bird occupied within its cage. Pattern metrics produced by both methods correlated with the frequency of established measures of stereotypic behaviour and abnormal behaviour patterns counted from video recordings, suggesting that both methods could be useful for identifying stereotypic individuals and quantifying stereotypic behaviour. We discuss the relative benefits and disadvantages of the two approaches.
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Patterns of subcutaneous fat deposition and the relationship between body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio: implications for models of physical attractiveness.
J. Theor. Biol.
PUBLISHED: 03-06-2009
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Body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) are two widely used anthropometric indices of body shape argued to convey different information about health and fertility. Both indices have also been shown to affect attractiveness ratings of female bodies. However, BMI and WHR are naturally positively correlated, complicating studies designed to identify their relative importance in predicting health and attractiveness outcomes. We show that the correlation between BMI and WHR depends on the assumed model of subcutaneous fat deposition. An additive model, whereby fat is added to the waist and hips at a constant rate, predicts a correlation between BMI and WHR because with increasing fat, the difference between the waist and hips becomes smaller relative to total width. This model is supported by longitudinal and cross-sectional data. We parameterized the function relating WHR to BMI for white UK females of reproductive age, and used this function to statistically decompose body shape into two independent components. We show that judgements of the attractiveness of female bodies are well explained by the component of curvaceousness related to BMI but not by residual curvaceousness. Our findings resolve a long-standing dispute in the attractiveness literature by confirming that although WHR appears to be an important predictor of attractiveness, this is largely explained by the direct effect of total body fat on WHR, thus reinforcing the conclusion that total body fat is the primary determinant of female body shape attractiveness.
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Cycle thieves, we are watching you: impact of a simple signage intervention against bicycle theft.
PLoS ONE
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Bicycle theft is a serious problem in many countries, and there is a lack of evidence concerning effective prevention strategies. Displaying images of watching eyes has been shown to make people behave in more socially desirable ways in a number of settings, but it is not yet clear if this effect can be exploited for purposes of crime prevention. We report the results of a simple intervention on a university campus where signs featuring watching eyes and a related verbal message were displayed above bicycle racks.
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Can starling eggs be useful as a biomonitoring tool to study organohalogenated contaminants on a worldwide scale?
Environ Int
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Large-scale international monitoring studies are important to assess emission patterns and environmental distributions of organohalogenated contaminants (OHCs) on a worldwide scale. In this study, the presence of OHCs was investigated on three continents (Europe, North America and Australasia), using eggs of starlings (Sturnus vulgaris and Sturnus unicolor) to assess their suitability for large-scale monitoring studies. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study using bird eggs of the same species as a biomonitor for OHCs on an intercontinental scale. We found significant differences in OHC concentrations of the eggs among sampling locations, except for hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs). Mean concentrations of sum polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in eggs ranged from 78±26 ng/glipid weight (lw) in Australia to 2900±1300 ng/g lw in the United States. The PCB profile was dominated by CB 153 and CB 138 in all locations, except for New Zealand, where the contribution of CB 95, CB 101 and CB 149 was also high. The highest mean sum polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) concentrations were found in Canada (4400±830 ng/g lw), while the lowest mean PBDE concentrations were measured in Spain (3.7±0.1 ng/g lw). The PBDE profile in starling eggs was dominated by BDE 47 and BDE 99 in all countries, but in Belgium, the higher brominated PBDEs had a higher contribution compared to other countries. For the organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes (DDTs) ranged from 110±16 ng/g lw in France to 17,000±3400 ng/g lw in New Zealand, while HCHs and hexachlorobenzene were generally in low concentrations in all sampling locations. Chlordanes were remarkably high in eggs from the United States (2500±1300 ng/g lw). The OCP profile in all countries was largely dominated by p,p-DDE. In general, the worldwide trends we observed in starling eggs were in accordance with the literature on human and environmental OHC data, which suggests that there is potential for using starling eggs as a biomonitoring tool on a large geographical scale.
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The evolutionary origins of mood and its disorders.
Curr. Biol.
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The term mood in its scientific usage refers to relatively enduring affective states that arise when negative or positive experience in one context or time period alters the individuals threshold for responding to potentially negative or positive events in subsequent contexts or time periods. The capacity for mood appears to be phylogenetically widespread and the mechanisms underlying it are highly conserved in diverse animals, suggesting it has an important adaptive function. In this review, we discuss how moods can be classified across species, and what the selective advantages of the capacity for mood are. Core moods can be localised within a two-dimensional continuous space, where one axis represents sensitivity to punishment or threat, and the other, sensitivity to reward. Depressed mood and anxious mood represent two different quadrants of this space. The adaptive function of mood is to integrate information about the recent state of the environment and current physical condition of the organism to fine-tune its decisions about the allocation of behavioural effort. Many empirical observations from both humans and non-human animals are consistent with this model. We discuss the implications of this adaptive approach to mood systems for mood disorders in humans.
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When is general wariness favored in avoiding multiple predator types?
Am. Nat.
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Adaptive responses to predation are generally studied assuming only one predator type exists, but most prey species are depredated by multiple types. When multiple types occur, the optimal antipredator response level may be determined solely by the probability of attack by the relevant predator: "specific responsiveness." Conversely, an increase in the probability of attack by one predator type might increase responsiveness to an alternative predator type: "general wariness." We formulate a mathematical model in which a prey animal perceives a cue providing information on the probability of two predator types being present. It can perform one of two evasive behaviors that vary in their suitability as a response to the "wrong" predator type. We show that general wariness is optimal when incorrect behavioral decisions have differential fitness costs. Counterintuitively, difficulty in discriminating between predator types does not favor general wariness. We predict that where responses to predator types are mutually exclusive (e.g., referential alarm-calling), specific responsiveness will occur; we suggest that prey generalize their defensive responses based on cue similarity due to an assumption of response utility; and we predict, with relevance to conservation, that habituation to human disturbance should generalize only to predators that elicit the same antipredator response as humans.
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Water bathing alters threat perception in starlings.
Biol. Lett.
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The majority of bird taxa perform water bathing, but little is known about the adaptive value of this behaviour. If bathing is important for feather maintenance then birds that have not bathed should have poorer feather condition, compromised escape ability and therefore increased responsiveness to cues of predation. We conducted two experiments examining the behaviour of captive starlings responding to conspecific alarm calls. Birds that had no access to bathing water showed a decreased willingness to feed and increased their vigilance behaviour following an alarm call. We argue that birds denied access to bathing water interpreted an ambiguous cue of threat as requiring more caution than birds that had access, consistent with higher levels of anxiety. Our results support the provision of bathing water for captive birds as an important welfare measure.
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What is Visualize?

JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.

How does it work?

We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.

Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...

In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.