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Serum Oxytocin in Cows Is Positively Correlated with Caregiver Interactions in the Impossible Task Paradigm

By B. D'Aniello, V. Mastellone, C. Pinelli, A. Scandurra, N. Musco, R. Tudisco, M. E. Pero, F. Infascelli, A. Di Lucrezia, P. Lombardi

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Abstract

This study explored a possible relationship between the circulating oxytocin, cortisol, and the willingness of dairy cows to engage in social behaviors with humans in an experimental context. The behaviors of twenty-nine cows were recorded during the impossible task paradigm, a procedure aimed at creating a violation of expectancy, in the presence of the caregiver and a stranger. The results showed that serum oxytocin levels were positively correlated with duration and negatively correlated with the latency of the cows' social interactions with the caregiver. This research provides a clear correlation between circulating oxytocin and a willingness to engage in social contact with the caregiver, excluding the possible effect of different cortisol levels on such behavior.

Publication Title Animals (Basel)
Volume 12
Issue 3
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615 (Print)2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani12030276
Author Address Department of Biology, University of Naples Federico II, 80126 Naples, Italy.Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production, University of Naples Federico II, 80137 Naples, Italy.Department of Environmental, Biological and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Technologies, University of Campania "Luigi Vanvitelli", 81100 Caserta, Italy.Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  2. Cattle
  3. Cortisol
  4. Human-animal interactions
  5. open access
  6. Oxytocin
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  1. open access