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Journal of Comparative Psychology

Mark A Krause, Monique A R Udell, David A Leavens, Lyra Skopos
The past 30 years have witnessed a continued and growing interest in the production and comprehension of manual pointing gestures in nonhuman animals. Captive primates with diverse rearing histories have shown evidence of both pointing production and comprehension, though there certainly are individual and species differences, as well as substantive critiques of how to interpret pointing or "pointing-like" gestures in animals. Early literature primarily addressed basic questions about whether captive apes point, understand pointing, and use the gesture in a way that communicates intent (declarative) rather than motivational states (imperative)...
June 28, 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Damian Scarf, Melissa Johnston, Michael Colombo
The aim of the current study was to assess whether pigeons could acquire a four-item list by trial and error. Pigeons received either extensive list training prior to being tested on a novel four-item list (i.e., the full-training group) or very limited training (i.e., the limited-training group). Specifically, subjects in the full-training group were trained to acquire a large set of two-item lists by trial and error, then a large set of three-item lists, and finally a large set of four-item lists. In addition, within each set, the number of training phases was gradually reduced...
June 21, 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Daniel Schmidtke, Sandra Ammersdörfer, Marine Joly, Elke Zimmermann
A recent study suggests that a specific, touchscreen-based task on visual object-location paired-associates learning (PAL), the so-called Different PAL (dPAL) task, allows effective translation from animal models to humans. Here, we adapted the task to a nonhuman primate (NHP), the gray mouse lemur, and provide first evidence for the successful comparative application of the task to humans and NHPs. Young human adults reach the learning criterion after considerably less sessions (one order of magnitude) than young, adult NHPs, which is likely due to faster and voluntary rejection of ineffective learning strategies in humans and almost immediate rule generalization...
May 10, 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Marco Bertamini, Martin Guest, Giorgio Vallortigara, Rosa Rugani, Lucia Regolin
Animals can perceive the numerosity of sets of visual elements. Qualitative and quantitative similarities in different species suggest the existence of a shared system (approximate number system). Biases associated with sensory properties are informative about the underlying mechanisms. In humans, regular spacing increases perceived numerosity (regular-random numerosity illusion). This has led to a model that predicts numerosity based on occupancy (a measure that decreases when elements are close together)...
April 30, 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Sonja Jördis Ebel, Josep Call
Many primate species have a strong disposition to approach and manipulate objects in captivity. However, few studies have investigated what primates learn during free exploration of objects in the absence of rewards, and how previous problem-solving performance influences subsequent exploration. We confronted members of each of the four nonhuman great ape species (N = 25) with the collapsible platform task that required subjects to drop a stone inside a tube to collapse a platform and release a reward. Subjects received four successive sessions with an empty apparatus (exploration driven by intrinsic motivation) followed by four with a baited apparatus (problem-solving driven by extrinsic motivation) or vice versa...
April 30, 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Tatiana Forestier, Christophe Féron, Patrick Gouat
Rodents obtain information about a new food source through olfactory cues of conspecifics and consequently develop an attraction for this diet. Generally, physical contact between an observer and a demonstrator that has recently consumed a novel food item is required to allow the social transmission of food preference (STFP). However, in natural populations of house mice, social encounters between unfamiliar individuals usually turn into a fight. Thus, social intolerance between the individuals involved could prevent STFP...
April 23, 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Michael P Reilly, Connor D Weeks, David Crews, Andrea C Gore
Endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) exposures during critical periods of gestation cause long-lasting behavioral effects, presumably by disturbing hormonal organization of the brain. Among such EDCs are polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a class of industrial chemicals. PCB exposure in utero leads to alterations in mating behaviors and other sexually dimorphic social interactions in rats. Many of the previous studies on social behavior gave the experimental animal a single or binary choice. This study applied a more complex behavioral apparatus, an X-shaped Plexiglas apparatus (FourPlex), that enabled an experimental animal exposed to PCBs or a vehicle to distinguish and choose among 4 stimulus animals of the same or opposite sex, and of different hormonal status...
April 23, 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Victoria L Templer, Taylor B Wise, Katrina Isabel T Dayaw, Judith Nicole T Dayaw
Sociability is the act or quality of social interaction and can be quantified by determining the number and duration of interactions with conspecifics. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which sustained social contact, as achieved by constant social living conditions, influenced social behavior. Beginning in juvenility, 19 male Long-Evans rats were housed in enriched environments, with half living socially in a large group and half living individually. After several months in these housing conditions, rats were tested on a sociality test and a social novelty preference test...
April 23, 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Alba Motes Rodrigo, Carlos Eduardo Ramirez Torres, Laura Teresa Hernandez Salazar, Matthias Laska
Spider monkeys are interesting to study with regard to hand preferences, as they are one of the few primate species that lack a thumb and, thus, are unable to perform a precision grip. Further, being platyrrhine primates, they also largely lack independent motor control of the digits and, thus, have only limited manual dexterity. It was therefore the aim of the present study to assess hand preferences in black-handed spider monkeys ( Ateles geoffroyi ) in 4 tasks differing in task demand: simple unimanual reaching for food and 3 versions of the widely used tube task, including 2 bimanual versions that differ from each other in the degree of fine motor control needed and a unimanual version that does not require coordinated action of the hands...
May 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Todd M Freeberg
This article introduces the second issue of Volume 132 of the Journal of Comparative Psychology which continues the Featured Article Essays that began in the last issue. The article chosen for this issue is an article by Schweinfurth and Taborsky (2018) on how food-based need affects the communicative and cooperative behavior of Norway rats, Rattus norvegicus . (PsycINFO Database Record
May 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
J David Smith, Joseph Boomer, Barbara A Church, Alexandria C Zakrzewski, Michael J Beran, Michael L Baum
The study of nonhumans' metacognitive judgments about trial difficulty has grown into an important comparative literature. However, the potential for associative-learning confounds in this area has left room for behaviorist interpretations that are strongly asserted and hotly debated. This article considers how researchers may be able to observe animals' strategic cognitive processes more clearly by creating temporally extended problems within which associative cues are not always immediately available. We asked humans and rhesus macaques to commit to completing spatially extended mazes or to decline completing them through a trial-decline response...
May 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Katherine A Clements, Suzanne L Gray, Brya Gross, Irene M Pepperberg
Research has shown that some forms of inferential reasoning are likely widespread throughout the animal kingdom (e.g., exclusion, in which a subject infers the placement of a reward by eliminating potential alternative sites), but other types of inferential tasks have not been extensively tested. We examined whether a nonhuman might succeed in an experiment based on probabilistic reasoning, specifically, the ability to make inferences about a sample based on information about a population. A Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus), previously trained to use English labels referentially to identify objects, observed a human researcher deposit 2 different types of items in a 3:1 ratio (e...
May 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Alban Lemasson, Hugo Pereira, Florence Levréro
Authors have raised the possibility of identifying primitive forms of conversational rules in monkeys: temporally ruled vocal interactions, call overlap avoidance, and socially based calling partner preferences. The question as to how these abilities have evolved in the primate lineage remains open to debate, particularly because studies based on apes are scarce and controversial. We studied a captive group of western lowland gorillas and tested the influence of caller characteristics and the type of bond between calling partners on vocal behavior based on the following: age, dominance, spatial proximity, sociopositive contact, and gaze...
May 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Manon K Schweinfurth, Michael Taborsky
Reciprocal cooperation has been observed in a wide range of taxa, but the proximate mechanisms underlying the exchange of help are yet unclear. Norway rats reciprocate help received from partners in an iterated Prisoner's Dilemma game. For donors, this involves accepting own costs to the benefit of a partner, without obtaining immediate benefits in return. We studied whether such altruistic acts are conditional on the communication of the recipient's need. Our results show that in a 2-player mutual food-provisioning task, prospective recipients show a behavioral cascade reflecting increasing intensity...
May 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Lauren H Howard, Cassandra Festa, Elizabeth V Lonsdorf
The ability to learn socially is of critical importance across a wide variety of species, as it allows knowledge to be passed quickly among individuals without the need of time-consuming trial-and-error learning. Among primates, social learning research has been particularly focused on foraging tasks, including transmission dynamics and the demonstration characteristics that appear to support social learning. Less work has focused on the attentional salience of the information being viewed, especially in New World monkeys...
May 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Margot Fortin, Mathilde Valenchon, Frédéric Lévy, Ludovic Calandreau, Cécile Arnould, Léa Lansade
Emotions are recognized as strong modulators of cognitive capacities. However, studies have mainly focused on the effect of negative emotions, with few investigating positive emotions. Recent studies suggest that traits of personality can modulate the effects of emotion on cognitive performance. This study aimed to assess whether emotional states differing according to their valence influenced the ability to achieve instrumental conditioning and learning flexibility and to determine the influence of personality...
May 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Katsuo Sekiguchi, Tomokazu Ushitani, Kosuke Sawa
Landmark-based goal-searching tasks that were similar to those for pigeons (Ushitani & Jitsumori, 2011) were provided to human participants to investigate whether they could learn and use multiple sources of spatial information that redundantly indicate the position of a hidden target in both an open field (Experiment 1) and on a computer screen (Experiments 2 and 3). During the training in each experiment, participants learned to locate a target in 1 of 25 objects arranged in a 5 × 5 grid, using two differently colored, arrow-shaped (Experiments 1 and 2) or asymmetrically shaped (Experiment 3) landmarks placed adjacent to the goal and pointing to the goal location...
May 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Tomer J Czaczkes, Birgit Brandstetter, Isabella di Stefano, Jürgen Heinze
Expending effort is generally considered to be undesirable. However, both humans and vertebrates will work for a reward they could also get for free. Moreover, cues associated with high-effort rewards are preferred to low-effort associated cues. Many explanations for these counterintuitive findings have been suggested, including cognitive dissonance (self-justification) or a greater contrast in state (e.g., energy or frustration level) before and after an effort-linked reward. Here, we test whether effort expenditure also increases perceived value in ants, using both classical cue-association methods and pheromone deposition, which correlates with perceived value...
May 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Juliane Bräuer, Julia Belger
There has been a growing interest in the cognitive skills of domestic dogs, but most current knowledge about dogs' understanding of their environment is limited to the visual or auditory modality. Although it is well known that dogs have an excellent olfactory sense and that they rely on olfaction heavily when exploring the environment or recognizing individuals, it remains unclear whether dogs perceive odors as representing specific objects. In the current study, we examined this aspect of dogs' perception of the world...
May 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
Dorothy Munkenbeck Fragaszy
With this issue, the editors inaugurate the Featured Article Essay in the Journal of Comparative Psychology . This brief essay, written by one or both of the editors, highlights one of the articles in each issue that is found to be particularly important, interesting, or innovative. The editors' choice for this issue is the article by Pellis and Pellis (2018) about play fighting in gray mouse lemurs ( Microcebus murinus ). (PsycINFO Database Record
February 2018: Journal of Comparative Psychology
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