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Computer Animations as a Tool in the Study of Mating Preferences

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The study of multiple female mating preferences and multiple male signals requires correct and precise measurement of preferences. A review is given of existing preference test paradigms. Non-interactive preference tests using computer animations perfectly fulfil the demands for the study of multiple preferences for visual traits: exclusion of confounding variables, exclusion of variation within and between male pairs, great potential of experimental manipulation of single and combinations of visual traits including behaviour. We give a detailed description for the production of computer animation movies based on commercial software. Finally, we show how computer animations can be properly applied to the testing of mating preferences. In sticklebacks, female mating preferences that were tested in this way agreed with preferences that were measured with other test paradigms.

Affiliations: 1: Abt. Verhaltensökologie, Zoologisches Institut, University of Bern, Wohlenstrasse 50a, CH-3032 Hinterkappelen, Switzerland;, Email:; 2: Abt. Verhaltensökologie, Zoologisches Institut, University of Bern, Wohlenstrasse 50a, CH-3032 Hinterkappelen, Switzerland


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