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Title: Gaze Following in Ungulates: Domesticated and Non-domesticated Species Follow the Gaze of Both Humans and Conspecifics in an Experimental Context
Author: Schaffer, Alina
Caicoya, Álvaro L.
Colell Mimó, Montserrat
Holland, Ruben
Ensenyat, Conrad
Amici, Federica
Keywords: Cognició en els animals
Interacció social
Cognition in animals
Social interaction
Issue Date: 19-Nov-2020
Publisher: Frontiers Media
Abstract: Gaze following is the ability to use others' gaze to obtain information about the environment (e.g., food location, predators, and social interactions). As such, it may be highly adaptive in a variety of socio-ecological contexts, and thus be widespread across animal taxa. To date, gaze following has been mostly studied in primates, and partially in birds, but little is known on the gaze following abilities of other taxa and, especially, on the evolutionary pressures that led to their emergence. In this study, we used an experimental approach to test gaze following skills in a still understudied taxon, ungulates. Across four species (i.e., domestic goats and lamas, and non-domestic guanacos and mouflons), we assessed the individual ability to spontaneously follow the gaze of both conspecifics and human experimenters in different conditions. In line with our predictions, species followed the model's gaze both with human and conspecific models, but more likely with the latter. Except for guanacos, all species showed gaze following significantly more in the experimental conditions (than in the control ones). Despite the relative low number of study subjects, our study provides the first experimental evidence of gaze following skills in non-domesticated ungulates, and contributes to understanding how gaze following skills are distributed in another taxon-an essential endeavor to identify the evolutionary pressures leading to the emergence of gaze following skills across taxa.
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It is part of: Frontiers in Psychology, 2020, vol. 11
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ISSN: 1664-1078
Appears in Collections:Articles publicats en revistes (Psicologia Clínica i Psicobiologia)

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