Does emotional state influence motor lateralization in California sea lions ( Zalophus californianus )?
Motor lateralization is a behavioural asymmetry between the left and the right side of an individual due to hemispheric specialization. The right hemisphere controls the left side of the body and the left hemisphere the right side. The right hemisphere processes negative emotions such as fear and frustration, and on the contrary, the left hemisphere processes positive emotions such as happiness. This study, conducted at Parc Asterix Delphinarium (Plailly, France), tested the influence of supposedly positive, negative and neutral emotional situations on four California sea lions’ (Zalophus californianus) motor lateralization while performing a known exercise, here climbing on a stool. Latency between the caretakers’ command and the animals’ response was recorded. The results showed an interindividual variability in the effect of the supposed emotional situations on their motor lateralization and their response latency. The nature and the strength of this effect require deeper investigation by further studies, on a larger number of individuals and contexts.
Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10211-017-0273-4