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How do miniature pigs discriminate between people? Discrimination between people wearing coveralls of the same colour

By Y. Koba, H. Tanida

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Seven experiments were conducted on 4 miniature pigs to determine: (1) whether the pigs can discriminate between people wearing the same coloured clothing and (2) what cues they rely on if they could discriminate. For 2 weeks before the experiments began, the pigs were conditioned in a Y-maze to receive raisins from the rewarder wearing dark blue coveralls. They were then given the opportunity to choose the rewarder or non-rewarder in these experiments. Each session consisted of 20 trials. Successful discrimination was that the pig chose the rewarder at least 15 times in 20 trials (P<0.05: by chi 2-test). In Experiment 1, both rewarder and non-rewarder wore dark blue coveralls. By 20 sessions, all pigs successfully identified the rewarder. In Experiment 2: (1) both wore coveralls of the same new colours or (2) one of them wore coveralls of new colours. They significantly preferred the rewarder even though the rewarder and/or non-rewarder wore coveralls of new colours. In Experiment 3, both wore dark blue coveralls but olfactory cues were obscured and auditory cues were not given. The pigs were able to identify the rewarder successfully irrespective of changing auditory and olfactory cues. In Experiment 4, both wore dark blue coveralls but covered part of their face and body in different ways. The correct response rate decreased when a part of the face and the whole body of the rewarder and non-rewarder were covered. In Experiment 5, both wore dark blue coveralls and changed their apparent body size by shifting sitting position. The correct response rate increased as the difference in body size between the experimenters increased. In Experiment 6, the distance between the experimenters and the pig was increased by 30 cm increments. The correct response rate of each pig decreased as the experimenters receded from the pig, but performance varied among the pigs. In Experiment 7, the light intensity of the experimental room was reduced from 550 to 80 lx and then to 20 lx. The correct response rate of each pig decreased with the reduction in light intensity, but all the pigs discriminated the rewarder from the non-rewarder significantly even at 20 lx.

Date 2001
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 73
Issue 1
Pages 45-58
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(01)00106-X
Language English
Author Address Faculty of Applied Biological Science, Hiroshima University, 1-4-4 Higashi, Hiroshima 739-8528, Japan.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  3. Color
  4. Discrimination
  5. Imprinting
  6. Mammals
  7. miniature pigs
  8. peer-reviewed
  9. Pigs
  10. Primates
  11. responses
  12. Swine
  1. peer-reviewed