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Cognitive appraisal of aversive stimulus differs between individuals with contrasting stress coping styles; evidences from selected rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) strains

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In animals, personality variations in response to stress and energy demands have been established. Cognitive processing of negative stimuli correlates with stress response patterns. Still, the relative contribution of cognitive appraisal or physiological demands to the behavioural output needs to be clarified. In this study we utilized reactive (high-responsive, HR) and proactive (low-responsive, LR) rainbow trout strains to investigate how contrasting reactions to hypoxia are related to individual variation in metabolism and/or cognition. The HR-LR strains did not differ in standard metabolic rate or hypoxia tolerance. HR trout displayed more pronounced avoidance to a signal cue after being conditioned with hypoxia, suggesting that they experienced this stimulus more aversive than LR trout. Together with differences in forebrain c-fos activation patterns in dorsomedial pallium, these results suggest cognitive differences between the strains. These results demonstrate that differences in personality/stress coping style can be related to contrasts in cognition, which are independent of metabolic differences.

Affiliations: 1: aSection for Ecology and Evolution, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, building 3, 4th floor, DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø, Denmark ; 2: bSection for Aquaculture, Institute for Aquatic Resources, Danish Technical University, P.O. Box 101, DK-9850 Hirtshals, Denmark ; 3: cIntegrative Fish Biology, Uni Research Environment, Uni Research, P.O. Box 7803, NO-5020 Bergen, Norway ; 4: dDepartment of Neuroscience, Uppsala University, P.O. Box 593, SE-75124 Uppsala, Sweden ; 5: eFacultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Mexico, Instituto Literario Numero 100 Centro, Toluca, C.P. 50000, Mexico ; 6: fDepartment of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, P.O. Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, Norway ; 7: gNiva Region South, Norsk institutt for vannforskning, Gaustadalléen 21, NO-0349 Oslo, Norway

*Corresponding author’s e-mail address:

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