Listen Up: Horses Demonstrate Auditory Laterality
A neighborly neigh is processed in a different way than other whinnies, meaning that horses have brain side preferences for sounds, according to a new study by French researchers.
The phenomenon, known as “auditory laterality,” has previously been shown in humans, dogs, and some other vertebrates. But this new research is the first to reveal auditory laterality in ungulates, or hoofed animals.
Whereas the left hemisphere is clearly dominant for the processing of sounds that are familiar and normal, such as whinnies from nearby neighbors, both sides of the brain deal with sounds that are new or which emit an emotional response, according to the researchers. This could be a whinny from an unknown horse or one from the same social group, respectively.
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