Developing attention bias tools to measure affect

  • Key finding:

    Understanding how the captive environment impacts animals psychologically requires foundational knowledge about individual differences in temperament, as well as individual emotional reactivity when faced with stressors. In this paper we assess the extent to which attention bias measures differ between individual animals. We also explore how methodological and life history factors might impact attention bias measures. This paper will be useful for anyone interested in the design and execution of attention bias research (and cognitive bias studies more generally) to assess animal affect.

Links to Open Access Publications or DOI:


Howarth, E. R., Kemp, C., Thatcher, H. R., Szott, I. D., Farningham, D., Witham, C. L., … & Bethell, E. J. (2021). Developing and validating attention bias tools for assessing trait and state affect in animals: a worked example with Macaca mulatta. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 234:105198