Limits...
Sex Differences in Spatial Memory in Brown-Headed Cowbirds: Males Outperform Females on a Touchscreen Task.

Guigueno MF, MacDougall-Shackleton SA, Sherry DF - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: On the colour task, females and males did not differ, but females performed better in breeding condition than in non-breeding condition.Although female cowbirds were observed to outperform males on a previous larger-scale spatial task, males performed better than females on a task testing spatial memory in the cowbirds' immediate visual field.Spatial abilities in cowbirds can favour males or females depending on the type of spatial task, as has been observed in mammals, including humans.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada; Advanced Facility for Avian Research, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Spatial cognition in females and males can differ in species in which there are sex-specific patterns in the use of space. Brown-headed cowbirds are brood parasites that show a reversal of sex-typical space use often seen in mammals. Female cowbirds, search for, revisit and parasitize hosts nests, have a larger hippocampus than males and have better memory than males for a rewarded location in an open spatial environment. In the current study, we tested female and male cowbirds in breeding and non-breeding conditions on a touchscreen delayed-match-to-sample task using both spatial and colour stimuli. Our goal was to determine whether sex differences in spatial memory in cowbirds generalizes to all spatial tasks or is task-dependant. Both sexes performed better on the spatial than on the colour touchscreen task. On the spatial task, breeding males outperformed breeding females. On the colour task, females and males did not differ, but females performed better in breeding condition than in non-breeding condition. Although female cowbirds were observed to outperform males on a previous larger-scale spatial task, males performed better than females on a task testing spatial memory in the cowbirds' immediate visual field. Spatial abilities in cowbirds can favour males or females depending on the type of spatial task, as has been observed in mammals, including humans.

No MeSH data available.


Plasma androgen concentrations in female and male cowbirds between breeding conditions and performance of spatial and colour tasks.Means are presented with ± SE. Asterisks indicate p ≤ 0.05.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4470821&req=5

pone.0128302.g001: Plasma androgen concentrations in female and male cowbirds between breeding conditions and performance of spatial and colour tasks.Means are presented with ± SE. Asterisks indicate p ≤ 0.05.

Mentions: There was a significant effect of breeding condition, with the highest circulating levels of androgens in breeding condition (F1,14 = 120.63, p < 0.0001), whereas there was no main effect of sex (F1,14 = 2.82, p = 0.12), or task type (F1,14 = 1.08, p = 0.32; Fig 1). There was a significant sex by breeding condition interaction (F1,14 = 22.61, p = 0.0003), with a greater effect of breeding condition in males (t14 = 11.02, p < 0.0001) than in females (t14 = 4.45, p = 0.0005; Fig 1). There was also a significant task type by breeding condition interaction (F1,14 = 5.95, p = 0.03), with a greater change in androgen concentration between breeding conditions for the spatial task (t13 = 9.59, p < 0.0001) than for the colour task (t13 = 5.98, p < 0.0001; Fig 1). There was no significant interaction between sex and task type (F1,14 < 0.01, p = 0.99).


Sex Differences in Spatial Memory in Brown-Headed Cowbirds: Males Outperform Females on a Touchscreen Task.

Guigueno MF, MacDougall-Shackleton SA, Sherry DF - PLoS ONE (2015)

Plasma androgen concentrations in female and male cowbirds between breeding conditions and performance of spatial and colour tasks.Means are presented with ± SE. Asterisks indicate p ≤ 0.05.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4470821&req=5

pone.0128302.g001: Plasma androgen concentrations in female and male cowbirds between breeding conditions and performance of spatial and colour tasks.Means are presented with ± SE. Asterisks indicate p ≤ 0.05.
Mentions: There was a significant effect of breeding condition, with the highest circulating levels of androgens in breeding condition (F1,14 = 120.63, p < 0.0001), whereas there was no main effect of sex (F1,14 = 2.82, p = 0.12), or task type (F1,14 = 1.08, p = 0.32; Fig 1). There was a significant sex by breeding condition interaction (F1,14 = 22.61, p = 0.0003), with a greater effect of breeding condition in males (t14 = 11.02, p < 0.0001) than in females (t14 = 4.45, p = 0.0005; Fig 1). There was also a significant task type by breeding condition interaction (F1,14 = 5.95, p = 0.03), with a greater change in androgen concentration between breeding conditions for the spatial task (t13 = 9.59, p < 0.0001) than for the colour task (t13 = 5.98, p < 0.0001; Fig 1). There was no significant interaction between sex and task type (F1,14 < 0.01, p = 0.99).

Bottom Line: On the colour task, females and males did not differ, but females performed better in breeding condition than in non-breeding condition.Although female cowbirds were observed to outperform males on a previous larger-scale spatial task, males performed better than females on a task testing spatial memory in the cowbirds' immediate visual field.Spatial abilities in cowbirds can favour males or females depending on the type of spatial task, as has been observed in mammals, including humans.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada; Advanced Facility for Avian Research, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Spatial cognition in females and males can differ in species in which there are sex-specific patterns in the use of space. Brown-headed cowbirds are brood parasites that show a reversal of sex-typical space use often seen in mammals. Female cowbirds, search for, revisit and parasitize hosts nests, have a larger hippocampus than males and have better memory than males for a rewarded location in an open spatial environment. In the current study, we tested female and male cowbirds in breeding and non-breeding conditions on a touchscreen delayed-match-to-sample task using both spatial and colour stimuli. Our goal was to determine whether sex differences in spatial memory in cowbirds generalizes to all spatial tasks or is task-dependant. Both sexes performed better on the spatial than on the colour touchscreen task. On the spatial task, breeding males outperformed breeding females. On the colour task, females and males did not differ, but females performed better in breeding condition than in non-breeding condition. Although female cowbirds were observed to outperform males on a previous larger-scale spatial task, males performed better than females on a task testing spatial memory in the cowbirds' immediate visual field. Spatial abilities in cowbirds can favour males or females depending on the type of spatial task, as has been observed in mammals, including humans.

No MeSH data available.