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Dr Christian Nawroth - From Primates to Goats: Farm Animal Cognition and Its Implications for Animal Welfare

The Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour seminar series. All welcome.

Event details


Cognitive research on non-human animals has been, and will be, a flourishing field but surprisingly few studies have been conducted on farm animals. As a detailed understanding of the perceptive and cognitive abilities of non-human animals is necessary for understanding their normal behavioural expressions and for avoiding to expose them to mental distress, an approach towards the cognitive capacities of farm animals is crucial for progress in animal welfare related topics. This seminar aims to address recent advances in farm animal cognition, which has been long overlooked by investigators. Modified test paradigms that have been used in comparative psychological research in primates and dogs will be introduced and I will present studies about the capacities of dwarf goats (Capra hircus) to follow hidden objects and to attribute attentive states towards humans. Furthermore, I will present results of some more recent goat studies, including social learning from a human demonstrator and referential heterospecific communication in a problem solving task by goats. I will finish the talk with an outlook towards future studies and how these studies can target and affect animal welfare issues, particularly in terms of human-animal interactions and cognitive enrichment. Thus, next to extending species range in comparative research, studies on the cognitive capacities of farm animals have the potential to build a bridge between applied ethology and the basic research in behavioural biology.

Dr Christian Nawroth, a Research Fellow at Queen Mary, University of London, will be giving a seminar with the title 'Primates to Goats: Farm Animal Cognition and Its Implications for Animal Welfare'.

The CRAB seminar series is organised by Elisa Frasnelli (


Washington Singer 105