Friday Faves July 31, 2015

He who crows on top

Roosters are infamous for their early-morning cock-a-doodle-do, but a new study looked closer at this behavior. Turns out that the first to crow is the dominant rooster in the bunch. If you take him away, the next in line in the pecking order takes over those wake-up alarm duties. But the subordinate roosters always waited for the boss to crow first, even if he did so later than usual.

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Enriched hamsters show "optimism"

A new study showed that hamsters who lived in an enriched environment with toys and lots of bedding were more likely to give "optimistic" responses to ambiguous stimuli. Cognitive bias has been studied in many species - such as rats, dogs, and even bees. Animals were trained that one location had delicious sugar water, and the opposite location had yucky quinine-infused water. Animals were later trained on "in-between" locations - would the likelihood to approach depend on whether they had enrichment? Yes. Open source means you can read the manuscript here! Or just read a summary here!

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Could you help your dog be less afraid of weird stuff?

Turns out your dog looks to you to figure out whether something new is good or bad. This is called social referencing! (Note: looks like cats may do it too) @DogSpies' Julie Hecht reviews some research on how dogs get cues from owners that help them determine whether to approach or avoid something weird (in this case a "Crazy Green Monster"). Awesome as always!

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