Cognitive Bias as a Measurement of Emotional States in Dogs

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Institutionen för fysik, kemi och biologi

Abstract: Cognitive bias can be used when determining emotional states in animals by assessing the animal’s perception of an ambiguous stimulus. In the concept of animal welfare, both physical health as well as mental health of animals are involved. Therefore, cognitive bias can be a valuable tool in order to measure the mental health of an animal. The aim of this paper is to summarize and discuss how cognitive bias tests have been used to assess emotional states in dogs. Cognitive bias tests in dogs have been used to evaluate the emotional state of a dog with behavioural problems. It has also been shown to be useful when studying the effect of enrichment in the form of natural behaviour, such as being allowed to use its olfactory sense to a greater extent. Additionally, the connection between personality and cognitive bias is discussed. Hence, assessing the emotional state of dogs can be valuable in a welfare perspective.

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