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Negative emotional contagion and cognitive bias in common ravens (Corvus corax).

Abstract

Emotional contagion is described as an emotional state matching between subjects, and has been suggested to facilitate communication and coordination in complex social groups. Empirical studies typically focus on the measurement of behavioral contagion and emotional arousal, yet, while highly important, such an approach often disregards an additional evaluation of the underlying emotional valence. Here, we studied emotional contagion in ravens by applying a judgment bias paradigm to assess emotional valence. We experimentally manipulated positive and negative affective states in demonstrator ravens, to which they responded with increased attention and interest in the positive condition, as well as increased redirected behavior and a left-eye lateralization in the negative condition. During this emotion manipulation, another raven observed the demonstrator's behavior, and we used a bias paradigm to assess the emotional valence of the observer to determine whether emotional contagion had occurred. Observers showed a pessimism bias toward the presented ambiguous stimuli after perceiving demonstrators in a negative state, indicating emotional state matching based on the demonstrators' behavioral cues and confirming our prediction of negative emotional contagion. We did not find any judgment bias in the positive condition. This result critically expands upon observational studies of contagious play in ravens, providing experimental evidence that emotional contagion is present not only in mammalian but also in avian species. Importantly, this finding also acts as a stepping stone toward understanding the evolution of empathy, as this essential social skill may have emerged across these taxa in response to similar socioecological challenges.

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  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria; jessie.adriaense@univie.ac.at. Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit, Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, University of Vienna, 1010 Vienna, Austria. Cognitive Science Research Platform, University of Vienna, 1010 Vienna, Austria.

    ,

    Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria. Behavioral Ecology Lab, Department of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322. Human Ecology Group, Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland.

    ,

    Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria. Haidlhof Research Station, University of Vienna and University of Veterinary Medicine, 2540 Bad Vöslau, Austria.

    ,

    Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit, Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, University of Vienna, 1010 Vienna, Austria.

    Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria. Haidlhof Research Station, University of Vienna and University of Veterinary Medicine, 2540 Bad Vöslau, Austria.

    Source

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    31110007

    Citation

    Adriaense, Jessie E C., et al. "Negative Emotional Contagion and Cognitive Bias in Common Ravens (Corvus Corax)." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 116, no. 23, 2019, pp. 11547-11552.
    Adriaense JEC, Martin JS, Schiestl M, et al. Negative emotional contagion and cognitive bias in common ravens (Corvus corax). Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2019;116(23):11547-11552.
    Adriaense, J. E. C., Martin, J. S., Schiestl, M., Lamm, C., & Bugnyar, T. (2019). Negative emotional contagion and cognitive bias in common ravens (Corvus corax). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(23), pp. 11547-11552. doi:10.1073/pnas.1817066116.
    Adriaense JEC, et al. Negative Emotional Contagion and Cognitive Bias in Common Ravens (Corvus Corax). Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2019 Jun 4;116(23):11547-11552. PubMed PMID: 31110007.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Negative emotional contagion and cognitive bias in common ravens (Corvus corax). AU - Adriaense,Jessie E C, AU - Martin,Jordan S, AU - Schiestl,Martina, AU - Lamm,Claus, AU - Bugnyar,Thomas, Y1 - 2019/05/20/ PY - 2019/11/20/pmc-release PY - 2019/5/22/pubmed PY - 2019/5/22/medline PY - 2019/5/22/entrez KW - animal emotion KW - avian empathy KW - cognitive bias paradigm KW - emotional contagion SP - 11547 EP - 11552 JF - Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America JO - Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. VL - 116 IS - 23 N2 - Emotional contagion is described as an emotional state matching between subjects, and has been suggested to facilitate communication and coordination in complex social groups. Empirical studies typically focus on the measurement of behavioral contagion and emotional arousal, yet, while highly important, such an approach often disregards an additional evaluation of the underlying emotional valence. Here, we studied emotional contagion in ravens by applying a judgment bias paradigm to assess emotional valence. We experimentally manipulated positive and negative affective states in demonstrator ravens, to which they responded with increased attention and interest in the positive condition, as well as increased redirected behavior and a left-eye lateralization in the negative condition. During this emotion manipulation, another raven observed the demonstrator's behavior, and we used a bias paradigm to assess the emotional valence of the observer to determine whether emotional contagion had occurred. Observers showed a pessimism bias toward the presented ambiguous stimuli after perceiving demonstrators in a negative state, indicating emotional state matching based on the demonstrators' behavioral cues and confirming our prediction of negative emotional contagion. We did not find any judgment bias in the positive condition. This result critically expands upon observational studies of contagious play in ravens, providing experimental evidence that emotional contagion is present not only in mammalian but also in avian species. Importantly, this finding also acts as a stepping stone toward understanding the evolution of empathy, as this essential social skill may have emerged across these taxa in response to similar socioecological challenges. SN - 1091-6490 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/31110007/Negative_emotional_contagion_and_cognitive_bias_in_common_ravens_(Corvus_corax) L2 - http://www.pnas.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=31110007 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -