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"Social reaction to distress in others - exploratory work in chickens"

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Diane Pearce.

Broody hens react to mild distress in their chicks, showing changes in heart rate, surface temperature, vocalisation rate and behaviour. In contrast, adult hens do not react to distress in other adults. The reaction of the broody hens is dictated not primarily by the emotional reaction of their mildly-distressed chicks, but rather by the hens’ own perception of the danger her chicks may be in. In this talk I will consider whether these results tell us anything about the foundations of empathy and/or hen cognition. I will also present the results of a new study examining whether maternal arousal in response to mild chick distress subsequently calms, or further arouses, the chicks and present ideas for our future work in this area.

This talk is part of the Madingley Lunchtime Seminars series.

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