mardi 3 avril 2018

Offre de stage Master 1

Study of the self and the other in social heterospecific cognition in horses:
study of the sensitivity of the horse to the body orientation and the faces of others when using visual signals

Horses appear to be sensitive human attentional states (Proops & Mc Comb, 2010) and able to read human bodily attentional signals including body and head orientation and subtle eye cues (Proops and McComb 2010, Krueger et al. 2011; Maros et al. 2008; Sankey et al. 2011).
Yet little is known how far horses are using these attentional cues to adapt their behavior. A recent study (Ringhofer M. & Yamamoto, S, 2017) suggest that horses alter their communicative behaviour towards humans in accordance with humans’ knowledge state suggesting that horses possess some cognitive basis for this ability of understanding others’ knowledge state in social communication with humans.
Moreover, how horses understand what humans see or not is yet unclear (the visual field of humans and horses are quite different).
In this study we aim at investigating how horses adapt their communicative behavior to the attentional state of humans.
The items will be:
·      Identify the communicative cues of the horses (body language, mimicking) for asking for food they cannot reach by themselves
·      Investigate if horses adapt their communicative behavior to human attentional state
·      How horses understand what humans see or not
·      Investigate the feasibility of using FNIRS spectroscopy to investigate brain activities and cognition in horses
The research will be conducted at the Université libre de Bruxelles, Faculty of Medecine with the collaboration of the Haras du Chaimont (1460 Ittre, Belgique).
 The duration of the study will fit with a master I research stage of 6-8 weeks. Start: ASAP.
 Contact: Claude TOMBERG: