Symposium - "Laterality in Vertebrates"

Keynote speakers: Konstanze Krüger (Germany) & Lisette Leliveld (Germany)

Laterality in animals is viewed as a behavioural correlate which can reveal details of the animals cognitive, emotional- and welfare status. When discussing laterality in animals we have to distinguish between three aspects: a) body asymmetry, which is said to be determined intrauterine, when animals are curled up and developing in their dams’ abdomens, b) sensory laterality, which is preference to use the left or right sensory organ for information intake, and c) motor laterality or handedness, which is the preferred use of the left or right hand, paw or hoof for performing certain actions. Motor and sensory laterality develop when brain hemisphere specialization manifest itself. Left hemisphere specialisations are considered to reflect the processing of rational decisions, such as approaching and dealing with an object, and right hemisphere specialisations may reflect rather emotional decisions, such as flight or fight reactions.

While motor laterality is seen as a behavioural characteristic of an animal’s cognitive bias and is enhanced when animals suffer long term welfare issues, sensory laterality is far more flexible and may change depending on the information quality, and the animal’s current mental condition.

We would like to invite researchers to contribute to this symposium with their recent findings and help us to improve the understanding of animal laterality.


The European Conference of Behavioural Biology | Universitätsring 1  | 1010 Wien