Title page for ETD etd-04102003-181631


Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author McCusker, Matthew Erik
Author's Email Address mmccuske@vt.edu
URN etd-04102003-181631
Title Investigation of the Effects of Social Experience on Snapping Intensity in Equus caballus Foals
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Lickliter, Robert E. Committee Chair
Hoffman, Kurt A. Committee Member
Prestrude, Albert M. Committee Member
Keywords
  • horse behavior
  • snapping
  • behavioral development
  • foal behavior
  • submission
  • dominance
Date of Defense 2003-03-18
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
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 subject’s previous level of social experience. There were two indicators utilized to establish social experience. First, the ‘age’ 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 ‘out-time’).

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