Date of Award

2-7-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Rotational preference, an animal’s preferred turning direction as it moves about with free choice, has been assessed in humans and rodents. Studies have shown that those with a right turning preference are more susceptible to developing learned helplessness, and less likely to act according to Gray's Behavioral Approach System than those who prefer to turn to the left. In the present study, rotational preference was assessed in twenty-nine adult male cats (Felis silvestris catus). Rotational preference was compared to the results of two assessments in a within-subjects design. The first was the Feline Temperament Profile (Lee, Zeglen, Ryan, & Hines, 1983) which was administered by the experimenter. The second was a Cat Behavior Questionnaire which was completed by the cats' owners. The proportion of right turns emitted by the cats was negatively correlated with the number of approach behaviors measured in the temperament test and behavior questionnaire (r = -.591, p =.001). This finding supports studies of rotational preference and behavior with other species, as well as the hypothesized neurochemical basis of reward-seeking behavior (Abwender & Pusateri,2005).

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