Although there is ample data indicating that reward processing plays an important role in human psychopathologies and pharmaco- and psychotherapy treatment response, the corresponding animal-model research needs to be extended to models whose motivational and social dispositions are better generalizable than those of the traditional models. Accordingly, our aim was to develop and assess the reliability and validity of an owner-report rating scale of reward responsiveness in domestic dogs (N = 2149) and then to examine individual differences in reward responsiveness. Responsiveness was categorisable by reward type (ball/toy and food) and exhibited individual variability manifesting in age- and breed-related differences. Rating scale scores were associated with behavioural observation of reward processing, indicating evidence of convergent validity. Ball/toy and food reward responsiveness were associated with owner-rated hyperactivity-impulsivity‚ inattention and with differences in training, indicating evidence of concurrent validity. Extreme (vs. average) reward responsiveness was also predicted by dogs’ hyperactivity-impulsivity and inattention‚ and extreme responsiveness was associated with increased likelihood of physical health and/or social problems. These findings are informative with regard to the dog as an animal model for various human behavioural and cognitive functions‚ and also for the dog in its own right as they are relevant to training and welfare.
Scientific Reports – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 13, 2018
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