Social buffering in horses is influenced by context but not by the familiarity and habituation of a companion.

Ricci-Bonot, Claire, Romero, Teresa, Nicol, Christine and Mills, Daniel (2021) Social buffering in horses is influenced by context but not by the familiarity and habituation of a companion. Scientific Reports, 11 . p. 8862. ISSN 2045-2322

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-88319-z

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Social buffering in horses is influenced by context but not by the familiarity and habituation of a companion.
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Ricci-Bonot, C., Romero, T., Nicol, C., & Mills, D. (2021). Social buffering in horses is influenced by context but not by the familiarity and habituation of a companion. Scientific reports, 11(1), 1-10..pdf - Whole Document
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Abstract

Social bufering occurs when the presence of one animal attenuates another’s stress response during
a stressful event and/or helps the subject to recover more quickly after a stressful event. Inconsistent
previous results might refect previously unrecognised contextual infuences, such as the nature of the
stimulus presented or social factors. We addressed these issues in a two-part study of horses paired
with familiar (16 subjects) or unfamiliar (16 subjects) companions. Each subject performed 4 tests
in a counterbalanced order: novel object test (static ball)—alone or with companion; and umbrella
opening test—alone or with companion. Social bufering was signifcantly infuenced by the nature
of the stimulus presented, but not by companion’s habituation status or familiarity. Importantly, the
stimulus used produced diferential efects on behavioural and physiological measures of bufering. A
companion signifcantly reduced behavioural response (reactivity) in the novel object test but not in
the umbrella test. However, heart rate recovered more quickly for subjects with a companion in the
umbrella test but not in the novel object test. We propose that circumstances which permit greater
contextual processing may facilitate demonstration of behavioural efects of social bufering, whereas
bufering in response to startling events may be manifest only during post-event physiological
recovery.

Keywords:horses, Social buffering, Animal behaviour, Animal physiology
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D390 Veterinary Sciences not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:46659
Deposited On:05 Oct 2021 13:01

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