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Journal of Comparative Psychology

Maria Elena Miletto Petrazzini, Christian Agrillo, Véronique Izard, Angelo Bisazza
Numerous studies have shown that many animal species can be trained to discriminate between stimuli differing in numerosity. However, in the absence of generalization tests with untrained numerosities, what decision criterion was used by subjects remains unclear: the subjects may succeed by selecting a specific number of items (a criterion over absolute numerosities), or by applying a more general relative numerosity rule, for example, selecting the larger/smaller quantity of items. The latter case may require more powerful representations, supporting judgments of order ("more/less") beyond simple "same/different" judgments, but a relative numerosity rule may also be more adaptive...
October 13, 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Ljerka Ostojić, Edward W Legg, Arne Dits, Natalie Williams, Katharina F Brecht, Michael Mendl, Nicola S Clayton
Male Eurasian jays have been found to adjust the type of food they share with their female partner after seeing her eat 1 type of food to satiety. One interpretation of this behavior is that the male encoded the female's decreased desire for the food she was sated on, and adjusted his behavior accordingly. However, in these studies, the male's actions were scored by experimenters who knew on which food the female was sated. Thus, it is possible that the experimenters' expectations (subconsciously) affected their behavior during tests that, in turn, inadvertently could have influenced the males' actions...
October 6, 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Manuel Bohn, Josep Call, Michael Tomasello
Recent evidence suggests that great apes can use the former location of an entity to communicate about it. In this study we built on these findings to investigate the social-cognitive foundations of great apes' communicative abilities. We tested whether great apes (n = 35) would adjust their requests for absent entities to previous interactions they had with their interlocutor. We manipulated the apes' experience with respect to the interlocutor's knowledge about the previous content of the now-empty location as well as their experience with the interlocutor's competence to provide additional food items...
October 3, 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Paul M Meyer, Jeffrey R Alberts
Mouse pups (Mus musculus) placed on the midline of a mesh floor suspended over an empty area bounded by 2 odor fields, 1 containing homecage bedding and the other clean bedding, preferentially selected the homecage area when tested on postnatal day (PD) 5, 10, or 12. PD5 pups given a choice of homecage bedding versus age-matched bedding from another litter showed no discrimination, whereas PD10/12 pups preferred own home odors. To test whether such home orientation can be shaped by experience, pups were placed for 2 hrs on PDs 8 and 9 with either a lactating dam, a nonlactating foster dam or a warm tube bearing 1 of 2 novel odors...
September 5, 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Nicole Barbaro, Todd K Shackelford
Male-perpetrated female-directed violence (FDV) may be associated with greater sexual access to a female. Accordingly, FDV is expected to be associated with greater copulation frequency. Research on nonhuman primates affirms this hypothesis, but no previous research has investigated this relationship in humans (Homo sapiens). The current research tests the hypothesis that FDV is associated with in-pair copulation frequency and, thus, may function as a form of sexual coercion. It was predicted that men who perpetrate FDV will secure more in-pair copulations than men who do not perpetrate violence (Prediction 1a), and that average monthly rates of FDV would positively correlate with in-pair copulation frequency (Prediction 1b)...
August 15, 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Elisabet Gimeno, Vicenç Quera, Francesc S Beltran, Ruth Dolado
Fish can gain significant adaptive advantages when living in a group and they exhibit a wide variety of types of collective motion. The scientific literature recognizes 2 main patterns: shoals (aggregations of individuals that remain close to each other), and schools (aggregations of aligned, or polarized, individuals). We analyzed the collective motion of 2 social fish species, zebrafish (Danio rerio) and black neon tetra (Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi), and compared their patterns of movement and the effect of group size and environmental constraints such as water column height and tank geometry on the collective motion of both species...
August 11, 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Sandra Molesti, Jacques Vauclair, Adrien Meguerditchian
The reliability of handedness data in nonhuman primates and variations of sample size across studies are critical issues for exploring their potential continuity with humans concerning hemispheric specialization. In this study, we investigated the consistency of handedness for unimanual and bimanual tasks in olive baboons (Papio anubis). For both tasks, we found a consistency of hand preferences over time among subjects retested 5 years later and a consistency of population-level handedness between 2 independent populations...
August 11, 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Daniel Hanus
The debate about whether or not one could/should ascribe reasoning abilities to animals has deep historical roots and seems very up-to-date in the light of the immense body of new empirical data originating from various species and research paradigms. Associative learning (AL) seems to be a ubiquitous low-level contender for any cognitive interpretation of animal behavior, mostly because of the assumed mechanistic simplicity and phylogenetic prevalence. However, the implicit assumption that AL is simple and therefore the most parsimonious mechanism to describe seemingly complex behavior can and must be questioned on various grounds...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Jan De Houwer, Sean Hughes, Dermot Barnes-Holmes
We aim to provide a new perspective on the old debate about whether evidence for higher order cognition in nonhuman animals can be reinterpreted in terms of associative learning. Our starting point is the idea that associative learning is best thought of as an effect (i.e., the impact of paired events on behavior) rather than a specific mental process (e.g., the formation of associations). This idea allows us to consider (a) propositional theories according to which associative learning is mediated by higher order mental processes akin to problem solving and (b) relational frame theory that allows one to think of seemingly simple associative learning effects as instances of a complex phenomenon known as arbitrarily applicable relational responding...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Dominic M Dwyer, Michael R Waldmann
Questions regarding the nature of nonhuman cognition continue to be of great interest within cognitive science and biology. However, progress in characterizing the relative contribution of "simple" associative and more "complex" reasoning mechanisms has been painfully slow-something that the tendency for researchers from different intellectual traditions to work separately has only exacerbated. This article reexamines evidence that rats respond differently to the nonpresentation of an event than they do if the physical location of that event is covered...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Tom Beckers, Jan De Houwer, Dominic Michael Dwyer
The study of animal cognition is rife with controversy, and among the most long-standing and most intensely debated controversies in the field is the question of the extent to which the behavior of nonhuman animals can be fully understood on the basis of purely associative principles, or whether some behaviors exhibited by animals necessitate the assumption of inferential capacities in animals that defy an associative explanation. Remarkably, the continuing debate on the topic seems to be spawning little genuine progress in terms of substantial accumulation of new, generally accepted insights...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Geraldine Werhahn, Zsófia Virányi, Gabriela Barrera, Andrea Sommese, Friederike Range
Gaze following into distant space is defined as visual co-orientation with another individual's head direction allowing the gaze follower to gain information on its environment. Human and nonhuman animals share this basic gaze following behavior, suggested to rely on a simple reflexive mechanism and believed to be an important prerequisite for complex forms of social cognition. Pet dogs differ from other species in that they follow only communicative human gaze clearly addressed to them. However, in an earlier experiment we showed that wolves follow human gaze into distant space...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Robyn Hudson, Heiko G Rödel, Marise Trejo Elizalde, Lourdes Arteaga, Gerard A Kennedy, Bradley P Smith
Surprisingly little information is available about the behavior of newborn mammals in the functionally vital context of suckling. We have previously reported notable differences in the pattern of nipple use by kittens of the domestic cat and puppies of the domestic dog. Whereas kittens rapidly develop a "teat order," with each individual using principally 1 or 2 particular nipples, puppies show no such pattern. We asked whether the more "chaotic" behavior seen in puppies of the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) could be the result of relaxed selection due to domestication...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Barbara Regaiolli, Caterina Spiezio, William D Hopkins
Handedness is the most evident behavioral asymmetry in humans: to study nonhuman primate hand preference could be optimal to investigate the evolutionary origin of handedness in our species, even though behavioral asymmetries are widespread among vertebrates. This study investigated hand preferences in 32 Old World monkeys and 26 great apes during 3 spontaneous actions, assessing the effect of taxonomic group, sex and age on primate handedness. Data about foraging, locomotion, and manipulation were collected and 50 bouts per behavioral category per subject were recorded...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Giada Cordoni, Velia Nicotra, Elisabetta Palagi
Due to their playful propensity, dogs are a good model to test some hypotheses about play dynamics (length, asymmetry, features of players) and communication (play bow [PBOW]; relaxed open-mouth [ROM] display). We video-recorded 203 play sessions between dogs in an off-leash dog park in Palermo, Italy. Contrary to the expectation, play asymmetry (particularly high in this species) did not differ between stranger and familiar dogs, thus suggesting the limited role of play in forming dominance relationships. Asymmetry negatively affected the duration of the session, whereas the increasing number of players was positively linked to the duration of playful interactions...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Claudia Fugazza, Ákos Pogány, Ádám Miklósi
Dogs, like human infants, are able to imitate human actions after a delay (deferred imitation). This study demonstrates that in deferred imitation tasks, dogs can generalize imitation across context modification to a certain extent. Specifically, they can imitate an object-related action if the object used by the demonstrator is displaced to a different location. However, if the object is interchanged with a different one, their imitative performance drops while they show a spatial bias toward the location of demonstration...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Nobuyuki Kawai, Hiroki Koda
Humans quickly detect the presence of evolutionary threats through visual perception. Many theorists have considered humans to be predisposed to respond to both snakes and spiders as evolutionarily fear-relevant stimuli. Evidence supports that human adults, children, and snake-naive monkeys all detect pictures of snakes among pictures of flowers more quickly than vice versa, but recent neurophysiological and behavioral studies suggest that spiders may, in fact, be processed similarly to nonthreat animals. The evidence of quick detection and rapid fear learning by primates is limited to snakes, and no such evidence exists for spiders, suggesting qualitative differences between fear of snakes and fear of spiders...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Mark Haselgrove
Thorndike (1898, 1911) rejected the idea that animal behavior was the consequence of reasoning, and suggested instead that the gradual acquisition of associations formed the basis of behavior-a contention that has had a significant impact on the development of animal learning theory. Despite this, comparative psychology provides a number of examples of behaviors that have been considered to be above and beyond the explanation of associative-, or reinforcement-learning mechanisms. These behaviors have motivated some researchers to propose higher-order cognitive abilities in animals, including (but not limited to) reasoning, sensitivity to ambiguity, and metacognition...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
John D Greenwood
In this paper I chart the history of the development of theories of psychological continuity in the modern period, beginning with the contrasting positions of René Descartes and Julian Offrey de la Mettrie during the period of the scientific revolution in Europe. In providing the logical geography of competing positions, I distinguish between two forms of strong psychological continuity and discontinuity, between theories of strong continuity and discontinuity between cognitive and associative processes and between theories of strong continuity and discontinuity between human and animal psychology and behavior...
August 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Louise J McDowell, Deborah L Wells, Peter G Hepper, Martin Dempster
Research points to a relationship between lateralization and emotional functioning in humans and many species of animal. The present study explored the association between paw preferences and emotional functioning, specifically temperament, in a species thus far overlooked in this area, the domestic cat. Thirty left-pawed, 30 right-pawed, and 30 ambilateral pet cats were recruited following an assessment of their paw preferences using a food-reaching challenge. The animals' temperament was subsequently assessed using the Feline Temperament Profile (FTP)...
June 30, 2016: Journal of Comparative Psychology
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