Special Issue "Brain Functional Lateralization in Animals"

A special issue of Symmetry (ISSN 2073-8994).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 July 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Angelo Quaranta Website E-Mail
Department of Veterinary Medicine, Universita degli Studi di Bari, Bari, Italy
Interests: Animal behaviour; Animal Physiology; Brain functional lateralization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Brain structural and functional asymmetries have been described for both vertebrate and invertebrate species. A different specialization of the right and left hemisphere for processing environmental stimuli and for controlling different categories of behaviour has been reported. Research on several vertebrate species has shown that the right hemisphere is specialized for processing novel and clearly arousing stimuli and is involved in the expression of intense emotions (e.g. aggression, escape behaviour and fear). The left hemisphere, instead, is specialized for the categorization of familiar stimuli, for the control of well-established patterns of behaviour and for the expression of pro-social and approaching behaviour. Functional asymmetries are often manifested as a side bias in behaviour, which reflects the animals’ positive or negative (valence) perception of a stimulus. Therefore, the knowledge of behavioural and functional brain lateralization has a particular relevance for improving animal welfare.

This Special Issue aims to provide a comprehensive collection of recent findings on the cerebral and behavioural lateralization of animals, offering a theoretical framework for defining useful parameters to evaluate animal welfare.

Reports of research findings as well as reviews on this topic will be acceptable contributions.

Prof. Dr. Angelo Quaranta
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Symmetry is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Brain lateralization
  • Animals Behaviour
  • Physiology
  • Welfare

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Olfactory Laterality Is Valence-Dependent in Mice
Symmetry 2019, 11(9), 1129; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11091129 - 05 Sep 2019
Abstract
(1) Background: Although olfaction is the predominant sensory modality in rodents, studies focusing on lateralisation of olfactory processing remain scarce, and they are limited to the exploration of brain asymmetries. This study aimed to test whether outbred and inbred mice (NMRI and C57BL/6J [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Although olfaction is the predominant sensory modality in rodents, studies focusing on lateralisation of olfactory processing remain scarce, and they are limited to the exploration of brain asymmetries. This study aimed to test whether outbred and inbred mice (NMRI and C57BL/6J mice strains) show nostril-use preference in processing olfactory stimuli differing in terms of emotional valence under unrestrained conditions. (2) Methods: Five odour stimuli were used in the study: vanilla, female urine, garlic, rat, distilled water. We measured the number of times mice used their left or right nostril for each testing session. (3) Results: We here showed that mice preferentially used their right nostril when sniffing attractive stimuli (female urine, vanilla), and their left nostril when sniffing aversive stimuli (rat odour). Results were consistent for both strains. (4) Conclusions: Surprisingly, the results obtained seem opposite to the valence theory assessing that the left and the right hemispheres are dominant in processing stimuli with a positive and a negative valence, respectively. It remains to be determined whether this valence-dependent pattern is specific or not to olfaction in mice. These new findings will be important to better understand how both hemispheres contribute to odour processing in rodents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Functional Lateralization in Animals)
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Open AccessArticle
Visual Lateralization in the Cephalopod Mollusk Octopus vulgaris
Symmetry 2019, 11(9), 1121; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11091121 - 04 Sep 2019
Abstract
Behavioral asymmetries exhibited by the common octopus, Octopus vulgaris, a cephalopod mollusk, during predatory and exploratory responses were investigated. Animals were tested for eye preferences while attacking a natural (live crab) or an artificial (plastic ball) stimulus, and for side preferences while [...] Read more.
Behavioral asymmetries exhibited by the common octopus, Octopus vulgaris, a cephalopod mollusk, during predatory and exploratory responses were investigated. Animals were tested for eye preferences while attacking a natural (live crab) or an artificial (plastic ball) stimulus, and for side preferences while exploring a T-maze in the absence of any specific intra- or extra-maze cues. We found individual-level asymmetry in some animals when faced with either natural or artificial stimuli, but not when exploring the maze. Our findings suggest that visual lateralization in O. vulgaris is context-dependent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Functional Lateralization in Animals)
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Open AccessArticle
Does Functional Lateralization in Birds Have any Implications for Their Welfare?
Symmetry 2019, 11(8), 1043; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11081043 - 13 Aug 2019
Abstract
We know a good deal about brain lateralization in birds and a good deal about animal welfare, but relatively little about whether there is a noteworthy relationship between avian welfare and brain lateralization. In birds, the left hemisphere is specialised to categorise stimuli [...] Read more.
We know a good deal about brain lateralization in birds and a good deal about animal welfare, but relatively little about whether there is a noteworthy relationship between avian welfare and brain lateralization. In birds, the left hemisphere is specialised to categorise stimuli and to discriminate preferred categories from distracting stimuli (e.g., food from an array of inedible objects), whereas the right hemisphere responds to small differences between stimuli, controls social behaviour, detects predators and controls attack, fear and escape responses. In this paper, we concentrate on visual lateralization and the effect of light exposure of the avian embryo on the development of lateralization, and we consider its role in the welfare of birds after hatching. Findings suggest that light-exposure during incubation has a general positive effect on post-hatching behaviour, likely because it facilitates control of behaviour by the left hemisphere, which can suppress fear and other distress behaviour controlled by the right hemisphere. In this context, particular attention needs to be paid to the influence of corticosterone, a stress hormone, on lateralization. Welfare of animals in captivity, as is well known, has two cornerstones: enrichment and reduction of stress. What is less well-known is the link between the influence of experience on brain lateralization and its consequent positive or negative outcomes on behaviour. We conclude that the welfare of birds may be diminished by failure to expose the developing embryos to light but we also recognise that more research on the association between lateralization and welfare is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Functional Lateralization in Animals)

Review

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Open AccessReview
From Science to Practice: A Review of Laterality Research on Ungulate Livestock
Symmetry 2019, 11(9), 1157; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym11091157 - 11 Sep 2019
Abstract
In functional laterality research, most ungulate livestock species have until recently been mainly overlooked. However, there are many scientific and practical benefits of studying laterality in ungulate livestock. As social, precocial and domestic species, they may offer insight into the mechanisms involved in [...] Read more.
In functional laterality research, most ungulate livestock species have until recently been mainly overlooked. However, there are many scientific and practical benefits of studying laterality in ungulate livestock. As social, precocial and domestic species, they may offer insight into the mechanisms involved in the ontogeny and phylogeny of functional laterality and help to better understand the role of laterality in animal welfare. Until now, most studies on ungulate livestock have focused on motor laterality, but interest in other lateralized functions, e.g., cognition and emotions, is growing. Increasingly more studies are also focused on associations with age, sex, personality, health, stress, production and performance. Although the full potential of research on laterality in ungulate livestock is not yet exploited, findings have already shed new light on central issues in cognitive and emotional processing and laid the basis for potentially useful applications in future practice, e.g., stress reduction during human-animal interactions and improved assessments of health, production and welfare. Future research would benefit from further integration of basic laterality methodology (e.g., testing for individual preferences) and applied ethological approaches (e.g., established emotionality tests), which would not only improve our understanding of functional laterality but also benefit the assessment of animal welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Brain Functional Lateralization in Animals)
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