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Attachment towards the Owner Is Associated with Spontaneous Sleep EEG Parameters in Family Dogs

By Cecília Carreiro, Vivien Reicher, Anna Kis, Márta Gácsi

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Abstract

Affective neuroscience studies have demonstrated the impact of social interactions on sleep quality. In humans, trait-like social behaviors, such as attachment, are related to sleep brain activity patterns. Our aim was to investigate associations between companion dogs’ spontaneous brain activity during sleep (in the presence of the owner) and their relevant behavior in a task-free social context assessing their attachment towards the owner. In random order, each dog participated in a non-invasive sleep electroencephalogram (EEG) measurement and in the Strange Situation Test (SST) to assess their attachment behavior. We found that higher attachment scores were associated with more time spent in NREM sleep, lower NREM alpha power activity and lower NREM alpha–delta anticorrelation. Our results reveal that, when dogs sleep in a novel environment in the company of their owners, differences in their attachment are reflected in their sleep EEG characteristics. This could be best explained by the different degree that owners could be used as a safe haven in an unfamiliar environment and during the unusual procedure of the first EEG measurement.

Date 2022
Publication Title Animals
Volume 12
Issue 7
Pages 895
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani12070895
Language English
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  2. Brain
  3. Emotions
  4. Human-animal interactions
  5. models
  6. open access
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  1. open access