Investigation of the Effects of Social Experience on Snapping Intensity in Equus caballus Foals
McCusker, Matthew Erik
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This study attempted to examine three aspects of Equus caballus foal snapping behavior. First, it suggested that the previous theoretical explanation for snapping established by behavioral researchers was incorrect. Second, as a means of suggesting an alternative hypothesis, this study proposed that snapping behavior could be a modified play response that was elicited when foals were confused by the complex social signals displayed by conspecifics. Finally, this project tested the aforementioned hypothesis by recording interactions between foals and conspecifics and analyzing the snapping intensity with each subjectâ s previous level of social experience. There were two indicators utilized to establish social experience. First, the â ageâ of the foal was employed as a measure of overall life experience and development. Second, the number of hours per day the foal was exposed to conspecifics gave an effective measure of the amount of time the subject had an opportunity to learn the complex Equine visual communication (referred to as â out-timeâ ).
- Masters Theses