Emotions et cognition: strategie pour repondre a la question de la sensibilite des animaux
Boissy, A.; Arnould, C.; Chaillou, E.; Colson, V.; Desire, L.; Duvaux-Ponter, C.; Greiveldinger, L.; Leterrier, C.; Richard, S.; Roussel, S.; Saint-Dizier, H.; Meunier-Salaun, M.C.; Valance, D.
Productions Animales (Paris) 20(1): 17-21
Assessment of farm animal welfare requires a good understanding of the animals' affective experience, including their emotions. However, this is difficult to measure because of the absence of verbal communication. Recent studies in the field of cognitive psychology have shown that affective states can be assessed through investigation of the interactions between emotions and cognition. On the one hand, theories of the way humans appraise situations provide a conceptual framework that suggests that emotions are triggered by cognitive appraisal processes based on few elementary criteria such as novelty and predictability. In accordance with appraisal theories, we have developed an experimental approach to study the elementary criteria used by farm animals to evaluate their environment and then express a given emotional response. On the other hand, an increasing number of studies in humans and animals suggest that emotions also influence cognitive processes by modifying attention, memory and judgement. Measurement and manipulation of cognitive processes may provide new insights into how emotions and more persistent affective states in animals can be assessed. Further work on these cognitive approaches will offer new paradigms for a better understanding of the welfare of farm animals.