Animal Science at the University of Bologna, Italy, and conducted my Master's
thesis on environmental enrichment for laboratory dogs at the University of
For my PhD (2007-2011), supervised by Prof. Mike Mendl and Dr. Suzanne Held at
the University of Bristol, UK, I studied personality in relation to social and
environmental challenge in pigs, focussing on coping strategies, impulsivity,
cognitive flexibility among other traits.
Following this, I undertook a 5-year postdoctoral position (2011-2016) at the
University of Bern, Switzerland. Under the supervision of Prof. Hanno Würbel, I
explored personality traits in animals and how they relate to emotion,
cognition, and animal welfare, in a variety of species (rats, mice, dogs). My
main focus was on how certain traits, e.g. playfulness or explorativeness, can
influence the emotional response of an animal, and that of other animals,
therefore impacting welfare. Further, I focussed on developing and applying
outcome measures specifically aimed at measuring these emotional responses.
2017, I have started a postdoctoral position under Prof. Helene Richter at the
Behavioural Biology and Animal Welfare Research Group, University of Münster,
which continues my research on animal personality and welfare. This research
centres on the developmental plasticity of behaviour, cognition and emotion in
animals, by investigating individual differences resulting from divergent
environmental conditions and experiences. My ultimate research aim is two-fold,
to understand species- and individual- specific needs of animals, and to
provide a scientific basis for the assessment and improvement of animal
M, Asher L, Furrer S, Lechner I, Würbel H, Melotti
L (2017) Development of the "Highly Sensitive Dog" questionnaire to
evaluate the personality dimension "Sensory Processing Sensitivity" in
dogs. PLoS one 12(5): e0177616.
9. Lampe JF, Burman O, Würbel H, Melotti L (2017). Context-dependent
individual differences in playfulness in male rats. Developmental Psychobiology, 59:460-472.
Finlayson K, Lampe JF, Hintze S, Würbel H, Melotti
L (2016). Facial Indicators of Positive Emotions in Rats. PloS one,
11(11): e0166446. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0166446.
7. Novak J,
Bailoo JD, Melotti L, Würbel H
(2016). Effect of Cage-Induced Stereotypies on Measures of Affective State and
Recurrent Perseveration in CD-1 and C57BL/6 Mice. PloS one, 11(5):
e0153203. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153203.
6. Novak J,
Stojanovski K, Melotti L, Reichlin
TS, Palme R, Würbel H (2016). Effects of stereotypic behaviour and chronic mild
stress on judgement bias in laboratory mice. Applied Animal Behaviour
5. Novak J,
Bailoo JD, Melotti L, Rommen J,
Würbel H (2015). An Exploration Based Cognitive Bias Test for Mice: Effects of
Handling Method and Stereotypic Behaviour. PloS one, 10(7):
4. Melotti L, Bailoo JD, Murphy E, Burman
O, Würbel H (2014). Play in rats: Association across contexts and types, and
analysis of structure. Animal Behavior and Cognition, 1(4):489-501.
3. Melotti L, Thomsen LR, Toscano MJ,
Mendl M, Held S (2013). Delay discounting task in pigs reveals response
strategies related to dopamine metabolite, Physiology & Behavior,
2. Melotti L, Oostindjer M, Bolhuis JE,
Held S, Mendl M (2011). Coping personality type and environmental enrichment
affect aggression at weaning in pigs, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 133:144-153.
Costa L, Tassone F, Righetti R, Melotti
L, Comellini M (2006). Effect of the farm floor type on the behaviour of
the heavy pig during the pre-slaughter handling. Atti Società Italiana
delle Scienze Veterinarie, 60, 491-492.
1. Melotti L (2014) - Book Review. Animal
Personalities: Behavior, Physiology, and Evolution. C. Carere, D. Maestripieri
(Eds.). The University of Chicago Press, Chicago (2013). Applied Animal
Behaviour Science, 153, 75-77.