Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 439851
Title Working and reference memory of pigs (Sus scrofa domesticus) in a holeboard spatial discrimination task: the influence of environmental enrichment
Author(s) Bolhuis, J.E.; Oostindjer, M.; Hoeks, C.W.F.; Haas, E.N. de; Bartels, A.C.; Ooms, M.; Kemp, B.
Source Animal Cognition 16 (2013)5. - ISSN 1435-9448 - p. 845 - 850.
Department(s) Adaptation Physiology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2013
Keyword(s) different coping characteristics - prefrontal cortex - growing pigs - performance - behavior - stress - rats - hippocampus - responses
Abstract Interest in cognitive research in pigs is increasing, but little is known about the impact of environmental conditions on pigs’ cognitive capabilities. The present study investigated the effect of environmental enrichment on cognitive performance of pigs in a holeboard spatial task, in which they had to discriminate four baited buckets out of 16. Pigs (n = 32) were either housed in stimulus-poor, barren pens, or in larger pens enriched with rooting substrates. Pigs were subjected to 30 holeboard trials. Both working memory (WM), that is, the ratio (baited visits/total number of (re)visits to baited buckets), and reference memory (RM), that is, the ratio ((re)visits to baited buckets/total number of visits to all buckets), improved over trials. WM scores were higher in pigs from enriched pens than in pigs from barren pens. Housing did not affect RM scores. Personality type of the pigs, as assessed early in life using a backtest, did not affect WM or RM. In conclusion, housing conditions of pigs did not affect reference memory, but environmental enrichment improved working memory of pigs in a spatial discrimination task. Based on the findings of this study, we suggest that cognitive functioning of pigs may be impaired under commonly used housing conditions.
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