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研究证明:鸟类也有感情

英国布里斯托尔大学(University of Bristol)的研究者们发现,母鸡在生理上和行为上,都能表现出“情感共鸣”或“移情”的一些基本特征。在这里,“情感共鸣”指个体能被其它同伴的情绪所影响,并能将自己的情绪带给同伴。这是人类第一次证明鸟类是有基本情感的。该研究在线发表在英国《皇家学会学报B》。

研究者们先让这些母鸡的幼雏们感觉到“郁闷”:让小鸡不断地受到气流喷射,这时,母鸡看到自己的孩子们正经历磨难,测量发现,母鸡的心跳加速,眼部温度降低。在行为上,这些母鸡变得更加警觉,一迭声地叫唤着它们的小鸡不要远离群体,并且梳理羽毛的次数也减少了。这些警觉的姿态被认为代表着恐惧。

因此研究者们得到结论说,或许“情感共鸣”是基于父母照顾幼年子女而演化出来的,并成为一种父母们必须拥有的能力。甚至鸟类这种并不具有智慧的生物也产生了基本的情感。

科学家们计划,下一步工作是寻找鸟类、其它动物和人类基因组中“移情基因”的位置。(文章来源:生物谷Bioon.com)

生物谷推荐原文出处:

Proc. R. Soc. B doi: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2701

Avian maternal response to chick distress

J. L. Edgar1,*, J. C. Lowe2, E. S. Paul1 and C. J. Nicol1

The extent to which an animal is affected by the pain or distress of a conspecific will depend on its capacity for empathy. Empathy most probably evolved to facilitate parental care, so the current study assessed whether birds responded to an aversive stimulus directed at their chicks. Domestic hens were exposed to two replicates of the following conditions in a counterbalanced order: control (C; hen and chicks undisturbed), air puff to chicks (APC; air puff directed at chicks at 30 s intervals), air puff to hen (APH; air puff directed at hen at 30 s intervals) and control with noise (CN; noise of air puff at 30 s intervals). During each test, the hens' behaviour and physiology were measured throughout a 10 min pre-treatment and a 10 min treatment period. Hens responded to APH and APC treatments with increased alertness, decreased preening behaviour and a reduction in eye temperature. No such changes occurred during any control period. Increased heart rate and maternal vocalization occurred exclusively during the APC treatment, even though chicks produced few distress vocalizations. The pronounced and specific reaction observed indicates that adult female birds possess at least one of the essential underpinning attributes of empathy.

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