The effect of the inter-phase delay interval in the spontaneous object recognition test for pigs

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In the neuroscience community interest for using the pig is growing. Several disease models have been developed creating a need for validation of behavioural paradigms in these animals. Here, we report the effect of different inter-phase delay intervals on the performance of Göttingen minipigs in the spontaneous object recognition test. The test consisted of a sample and a test phase. First, the pigs explored two similar objects. After a 10-min, 1-h, or 24-h delay two different objects were presented; one familiar from the sample phase and one novel. An exploration-time difference between the novel and the familiar object was interpreted as recognition of the familiar object. We scored the exploration times both manually and automatically, and compared the methods. A strong discrimination between novel and familiar objects after a 10-min inter-phase delay interval and no discrimination after 24h were found in our set-up of the spontaneous object recognition test. After a 1-h delay, the pigs still showed a significant habituation to the familiar object, but no discrimination was observed. Discrimination between the two objects was mainly confined to the first half of the test phase, and we observed a high between-subject variation. Furthermore, automatic tracking was valid for determination of habituation and discrimination parameters but lead to an overestimation of individual measurements. We conclude that the spontaneous object recognition test for pigs is sensitive to increasing inter-phase delay intervals, and that automatic data acquisition can be applied.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)210-7
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2007

    Research areas

  • Animals, Automatic Data Processing/methods, Discrimination (Psychology)/physiology, Exploratory Behavior/physiology, Habituation, Psychophysiologic/physiology, Male, Models, Animal, Pattern Recognition, Visual/physiology, Recognition (Psychology)/physiology, Statistics, Nonparametric, Swine, Swine, Miniature/physiology, Time Factors, Time Perception/physiology

ID: 196168978