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News

24.02.2017

Teilnehmer gesucht

Kernspinstudie zu Allgemeinwissen, Intelligenz und Persönlichkeit. Interessenten (ab 35 Jahren) können sich telefonisch (0234/32 21775) oder per eMail (nkwipem@gmail.com) für die Studie anmelden. mehr

10.03.2017

Teilnehmer gesucht

Studienteilnehmer (Männer) für Neuro-Studie zur Bewertung von #Selfies auf Facebook gesucht. mehr

08.05.2017

Stellenausschreibung

Studentische Hilfskraft für die Tierpflege (7 Std./Woche) gesucht. mehr

29.05.2017

Vortragsankündigung

BioPsy-Colloquium, 29.05.17, 1 - 3 pm, GAFO 05/425
Kei Yamamoto (CNRS, Paris): A new perspective on the forebrain organization in Osteichthyes (bony vertebrates): Lessons from teleost studies

16.05.2017

Klausurnachbesprechung Neuro- und Sinnesphysiologie

Die Klausurnachbesprechung zu der Klausur „Neuro- und Sinnesphysiologie“ (Dr. Tagrid Yousef) vom 22.03.2017 findet am Montag, den 29.05.2017 um 17:30 Uhr im Seminarraum der Abteilung Biopsychologie, GAFO 05/425, statt.
Bitte um Anmeldung bis einschließlich Mittwoch, den 24.05.2017, per E-Mail ausschließlich an: biopsychologie@rub.de

Contact

Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Fakultät für Psychologie
AE Biopsychologie
GAFO 05/618
D-44780 Bochum

Phone: +49 234 - 32 28213
Fax: +49 234 - 32 14377

Email: biopsychologie@rub.de
Homepage: http://www.bio.psy.rub.de


News & Views

The neurochemistry of impulsive chicks

Hundreds of Millions of chicken are raised every year for food consumption. A major problem of crowded poultry farms is severe feather pecking - a detrimental behavior that is also shown by very young chicks. However, not all individuals do this. Why are some birds more aggressive than others?  A group of Behavioral Pharmacologists from Utrecht, Veterinary scientists from Wageningen and Biopsychologists from Bochum started to analyze the role of serotonin and dopamine in feather pecking. They had access to two groups of domestic chickens divergently genetically selected for Low Feather Pecking (LFP) and High Feather Pecking (HFP). Indeed, both lines differed both on their serotonin and their dopamine turnover in emotion-regulating and motor areas. Furthermore, HFP-chicks responded more actively in most behavioral tests conducted, and were more impulsive in their way of coping with challenges. Thus, a brain area-specific neurochemical profile may shift personality traits towards more bold but also more aggressive behavior in chicken.

 

Kops, M., Kjaer, J., Güntürkün, O., Westphal, K., Korte-Bouws, G., Olivier, B., Korte, S. and Bolhuis, J., Brain monoamine levels and behavior of young and adult chickens genetically selected on feather pecking, Behav. Brain Res., 2017, 327: 11-20.

 

News & Views

Pigeons sneaking a peek

A small number of species are capable of recognizing themselves in the mirror when tested with the mark-and-mirror test. This ability is often seen as evidence of self-recognition and possibly even self-awareness. Strangely, a number of species, for example cats, pigs and dogs, are unable to pass the mark test but can locate rewarding objects by using the reflective properties of a mirror.  Thus, these species seem to understand how a visual reflection functions but cannot apply it to their own image. Biopsychologists in Bochum tested this discrepancy in pigeons—a species that does not spontaneously pass the mark test. Indeed, we discovered that pigeons can successfully find a hidden food reward using only the reflection, suggesting that pigeons can also use and potentially understand the reflective properties of mirrors, even in the absence of self-recognition. However, tested under monocular conditions, the pigeons approached and attempted to walk through the mirror rather than approach the physical food, displaying similar behavior to patients with mirror agnosia. These findings clearly show that pigeons do not use the reflection of mirrors to locate reward, but actually see the food peripherally with their near-panoramic vision. A re-evaluation of our current understanding of mirror-mediated behavior might be necessary—especially taking more fully into account species differences in visual field. This study suggests that use of reflections in a mirrored surface as a tool may be less widespread than currently thought.

 

Ünver, E., Garland, A. and Güntürkün, O., Sneaking a peek: Pigeons use peripheral vision - not mirrors - to find hidden food, Anim. Cogn., 2017, EPub.

 

News & Views

Ontogenesis of Lateralization

The brains of humans and other animals are asymmetrically organized, but we still know little about the ontogenetic and neural fundaments of lateralizations. Here, we review the current state of understanding about the role of genetic and non-genetic factors for the development of neural and behavioral asymmetries in vertebrates. At the genetic level, the Nodal signaling cascade is of central importance, but several other genetic pathways have been discovered to also shape the lateralized embryonic brain. Studies in humans identified several relevant genes with mostly small effect sizes but also highlight the extreme importance of non- genetic factors for asymmetry development. This is also visible in visual asymmetry in birds, in which genes only affect embryonic body position, while the resulting left-right difference of visual stimulation shapes visual pathways in a lateralized way. These and further studies in zebrafish and humans highlight that the many routes from genes to asymmetries of function run through left-right  differences of neural pathways. They constitute the lateralized blueprints of our perception, cognition, and action.


Güntürkün, O. and Ocklenburg, S., Ontogenesis of Lateralization, Neuron, 2017, 94: 249-263.

 

News & Views

It takes two to tango

The two hemispheres of the vertebrate brain are characterized by several left-right differences in the analysis and evaluation of information. Such lateralized processing requires intra- and interhemispheric mechanisms mediating exchange, integration, or suppression of information but the underlying functional organization is only basically understood. Researchers from the Biopsychology lab of Bochum therefore explored intrahemispheric integration capacities in pigeons during relational learning. Pigeons were trained in a way that each hemisphere learned only half the information that represented a transitive line (A>B>C>D>E). Subsequently, the hemispheres were tested independently from each other with stimulus pairs that required accessing information from the other brain side. The hemispheres differ in encoding interhemispheric information but both hemispheres were impaired in correct responding when the information was in conflict with directly learnt memory. In sum, the study indicates that interhemispheric communication in pigeons is an active process that integrates intra- and interhemispheric information in a context-dependent and hemispheric-specific manner. Efficient interhemispheric cooperation requires simultaneous activation of both brain sides.


Manns, M., Krause, C., Gao, M. (2017). It takes two to tango: hemispheric integration in pigeons requires both hemispheres to solve a transitive inference task. Animal Behaviour, 126: 231–241. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.02.016

 

News & Views

Farewell to Annika and Rena

Yes, they left... Annika and Rena were for many years indispensable members of the Biopsychology universe. Hard to believe, but now they left this mother of all labs at the end of February 2017. During their time in the magic lab they made great discoveries. They reconstructed the sequence of the Arc gene, discovered complex pathways to action in the pallium and came extremely close to finally demystifying the critical trigger for visual asymmetry in pigeons. What achievements! What bravery!


Hey Rena and Annika: We will miss you both a lot!!!!

 

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