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Social support does not require attachment: any conspecific tranquilizes isolated guinea-pig pups

By R. S. Tokumaru, C. Ades, P. F. Monticelli

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Guinea pig pups produce typical distress whistles when isolated. Whistles' frequency is decreased or abolished when they contact with the mother and, to a lesser degree, a sibling or even an unfamiliar female, is regained. Those non-aggressive companions were considered social support providers for reducing pup physiological stress responses and whistling rate in an unfamiliar environment. However, what would happen if the isolated pup would be in contact with an adult male, normally indifferent to pups, in such distress situation? The role of attachment and familiarity to males in promoting changes in distress responses of isolated pups was verified. Tests consisted of separating three week old pups from their family, in a familiar or an unfamiliar environment, and introducing a conspecific in the cage after one minute (mother, sibling, father or a strange male). Whistling and other behaviors were compared between the alone period and the accompanied period. Main factors were prior presence/absence of father (pups were raised with father until testing or only for the first week after birth), sex of pup, novelty of test environment and companion. It was verified that (1) all conspecifics reduced whistling rate ( F4,88=77.89, p

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 171
Pages 197-203
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.08.027
Language English
Author Address Universidade Federal do Espirito Santo, Departamento de Psicologia Social, Vitoria, Espirito Santo,
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. Evolution
  4. Guinea pigs
  5. Mammals
  6. peer-reviewed
  7. Pigs
  8. predation
  9. Rodents
  10. sociability
  11. Social behavior
  12. Suiformes
  13. ungulates
  14. vertebrates
  15. welfare
  16. young animals
  1. peer-reviewed