German Primate Center Gottingen

Göttingen, Germany

German Primate Center Gottingen

Göttingen, Germany
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Furtbauer I.,University of Swansea | Pond A.,University of Swansea | Heistermann M.,German Primate Center Gottingen | King A.J.,University of Swansea
Functional Ecology | Year: 2015

Predation plays a fundamental role in evolutionary processes, driving changes in prey morphology, physiology and behaviour. With organisms being increasingly exposed to rapid environmental changes, there is growing interest in understanding individual phenotypic plasticity in response to changes in predation pressure. Behavioural and physiological responses to predator exposure are of particular interest as differences in predation pressure are often reflected in correlated suites of behavioural and hormonal profiles across populations. Within populations, the association between endocrine profiles and behaviour is less understood and often lacking. Adopting a reaction norm approach and a repeated measures design, we assessed within-population effects of changes in perceived predation risk on endocrinology and behaviour in three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). We repeatedly exposed subjects to a robotic model predator and assessed their behavioural response. The fish showed consistent behavioural profiles and were less active and shyer when predation risk was higher. Using non-invasive waterborne hormone analysis, we assessed basal cortisol as well as the cortisol response to changes in predation risk. Individuals showed significantly higher cortisol levels following exposure to the model predator. Individual post-predator exposure cortisol was repeatable but unrelated to behavioural responses. Accounting for between versus within-subject effects, we found that basal cortisol and shyness were positively related within individuals, that is individuals overall were shyer on days they had higher cortisol levels. We also tested if basal testosterone predicted risky behaviour and found no evidence for this hypothesis. No individual differences in hormonal or behavioural responses to changes in predation risk were found, suggesting that individuals are not constrained by their personalities in their ability to cope with a potentially harmful threat. Overall, we show that individuals of different personalities are equally 'flexible' in their response to changes in predation pressure. Our study offers novel insight into consistent individual differences and plasticity in hormones and behaviour as well as their interplay within populations. Future studies should assess the applicability of these findings to other changes in the environment, as well as the effects of social context on endocrine and behavioural reaction norms. © 2014 British Ecological Society.

Mikolasch S.,Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle | Kotrschal K.,Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle | Schloegl C.,Konrad Lorenz Forschungsstelle | Schloegl C.,University of Vienna | Schloegl C.,German Primate Center Gottingen
Biology Letters | Year: 2011

Exclusion allows the detection of hidden food when confronted with the choice between an empty and a potentially baited food location. However, exclusion may be based on avoidance of the empty location without drawing inferences about the presence of the food in the baited location. So far, such inferences have been demonstrated in the great apes only: after seeing an experimenter eating one of two food types, which both had been hidden previously in two boxes, the apes were able to choose the box that still contained the other food type. African grey parrots are capable of exclusion, and we here assessed if they are capable of inference by exclusion. In our task, two different but equally preferred food items were hidden in full view of the birds under two opaque cups. Then, an experimenter secretly removed one food type and showed it to the bird. Similarly to the apes, one out of seven parrots significantly preferred the baited cup; control conditions rule out that its choice was based on associative learning or the use of olfactory cues. Thus, we conclude that-like the apes-some grey parrots are able to infer the location of a hidden food reward. © 2011 The Royal Society.

Schloegl C.,German Primate Center Gottingen | Schloegl C.,University of Gottingen | Waldmann M.R.,University of Gottingen | Fischer J.,German Primate Center Gottingen | Fischer J.,University of Gottingen
Animal Cognition | Year: 2013

Diagnostic reasoning, defined as the ability to infer unobserved causes based on the observation of their effects, is a central cognitive competency of humans. Yet, little is known about diagnostic reasoning in non-human primates, and what we know is largely restricted to the Great Apes. To track the evolutionary history of these skills within primates, we investigated long-tailed macaques' understanding of the significance of inclinations of covers of hidden food as diagnostic indicators for the presence of an object located underneath. Subjects were confronted with choices between different objects that might cover food items. Based on their physical characteristics, the shape and orientation of the covers did or did not reveal the location of a hidden reward. For instance, hiding the reward under a solid board led to its inclination, whereas a hollow cup remained unaltered. Thus, the type of cover and the occurrence or absence of a change in their appearance could potentially be used to reason diagnostically about the location of the reward. In several experiments, the macaques were confronted with a varying number of covers and their performance was dependent on the level of complexity and on the type of change of the covers' orientation. The macaques could use a board's inclination to detect the reward, but failed to do so if the lack of inclination was indicative of an alternative hiding place. We suggest that the monkeys' performance is based on a rudimentary understanding of causality, but find no good evidence for sophisticated diagnostic reasoning in this particular domain. © 2013 The Author(s).

Kiesel P.,German Primate Center Gottingen | Kues A.,German Primate Center Gottingen | Kaup F.-J.,German Primate Center Gottingen | Bodemer W.,German Primate Center Gottingen | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues | Year: 2012

Small retroelements (short interspersed elements, abbreviated SINEs) are abundant in vertebrate genomes. Using RNA isolated from rhesus monkey cerebellum and buffy coat, reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT PCR) was applied to clone cDNA of BC200 and Alu RNAs. Transcripts containing Alu-SINE sequences may be subjected to extensive RNA editing by ADAR (adenosine deaminases that act on RNA) deamination. Abundance of Alu transcripts was determined with real-time RT PCR and was significantly higher than BC200 (brain cytoplasmic) in cerebellum. BC200 transcripts were absent from buffy coat cells. Availability of the rhesus genome sequence allowed the BC200 transcripts to be mapped to the specific locus on chromosome 13. Both the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of BC 200 expression argue for the BC 200 transcripts being generated by RNA polymerase III. In cerebellum, Alu transcripts often possessed base exchanges (A to G) consistent with ADAR editing and, somewhat unexpectedly, C to T exchanges consistent with APOBEC (apolipoprotein B editing complex) editing. In contrast, the BC200 transcripts, which as RNA POLIII transcripts play a role in dendritic RNA translation, appeared not to be deaminated, despite the presence of editing of Alu in the same tissue. To assess whether neuronal disease might influence editing of BC200 and Alu-SINE transcripts in cerebellum, RNA was isolated from two rhesus monkeys that were inoculated with prions from human variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD). Regardless of prion-induced neurodegeneration, no BC200 RNA editing was observed, while Alu RNA continued to show both ADAR and APOBEC editing. Thus, BC200 RNAs do not appear to become accessible to editing enzymes despite infected neurons being subjected to severe stress, damage, and eventually cell death. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

PubMed | German Primate Center Gottingen
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in psychology | Year: 2013

Although the expression of emotions in humans is considered to be largely universal, cultural effects contribute to both emotion expression and recognition. To disentangle the interplay between these factors, play-acted and authentic (non-instructed) vocal expressions of emotions were used, on the assumption that cultural effects may contribute differentially to the recognition of staged and spontaneous emotions. Speech tokens depicting four emotions (anger, sadness, joy, fear) were obtained from German radio archives and re-enacted by professional actors, and presented to 120 participants from Germany, Romania, and Indonesia. Participants in all three countries were poor at distinguishing between play-acted and spontaneous emotional utterances (58.73% correct on average with only marginal cultural differences). Nevertheless, authenticity influenced emotion recognition: across cultures, anger was recognized more accurately when play-acted (z=15.06, p<0.001) and sadness when authentic (z=6.63, p<0.001), replicating previous findings from German populations. German subjects revealed a slight advantage in recognizing emotions, indicating a moderate in-group advantage. There was no difference between Romanian and Indonesian subjects in the overall emotion recognition. Differential cultural effects became particularly apparent in terms of differential biases in emotion attribution. While all participants labeled play-acted expressions as anger more frequently than expected, German participants exhibited a further bias toward choosing anger for spontaneous stimuli. In contrast to the German sample, Romanian and Indonesian participants were biased toward choosing sadness. These results support the view that emotion recognition rests on a complex interaction of human universals and cultural specificities. Whether and in which way the observed biases are linked to cultural differences in self-construal remains an issue for further investigation.

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