Correlates between ear postures and emotional reactivity in a wild type mouse species

B. Lecorps, C. Féron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Facial expressions have been extensively used to assess emotions in humans and thus could be extended to other species that also display facial movements. In mice both painful and fearful situations have been associated with particular shifts in facial expressions. Like other species, mice frequently show a great inter-individual variability when exposed to emotional situations, but so far no study has been conducted to investigate if facial expressions are related to these differences. The aim of this study is to explore if mice of wild origin (Mus spicilegus) express different facial expressions when confronted to novelty and to relate these mimics to their emotional reactivity profile. We used individual exploration scores in a novel odour test and in the elevated plus maze test as proxy measures of individual emotional reactivity. Our results showed that exploration scores in both tests were positively correlated, and both were related to the ear postures expressed by the individuals during their first exploration of the novel odour. This single component of facial expression was in fact a good indicator of inter-individual differences expressed in these two different tests suggesting a strong link between this marker and the individual emotional reactivity. These results highlight the great potential of facial expressions to assess emotional states in animals.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalBehavioural Processes
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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