Recent developments in the study of animal cognition and emotion have resulted in the ‘judgement bias’ model of animal welfare. Judgement biases describe the way in which changes in affective state are characterized by changes in information processing. In humans, anxiety and depression are characterized by increased expectation of negative events and negative interpretation of ambiguous information. Positive wellbeing is associated with enhanced expectation of positive outcomes and more positive interpretation of ambiguous information.According to this study, hamsters who live in "enriched" environments are 12% more likely to interpret ambiguous signals in a positive way, i.e., are more optimistic, than those who live in a Spartan environment.
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