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Animal Cognition

Sarah Jeannin, Caroline Gilbert, Gérard Leboucher
Recent studies focusing on the interspecific communicative interactions between humans and dogs show that owners use a special speech register when addressing their dog. This register, called pet-directed speech (PDS), has prosodic and syntactic features similar to that of infant-directed speech (IDS). While IDS prosody is known to vary according to the context of the communication with babies, we still know little about the way owners adjust acoustic and verbal PDS features according to the type of interaction with their dog...
February 11, 2017: Animal Cognition
Thomas C Hassett, Robert R Hampton
Functionally distinct memory systems likely evolved in response to incompatible demands placed on learning by distinct environmental conditions. Working memory appears adapted, in part, for conditions that change frequently, making rapid acquisition and brief retention of information appropriate. In contrast, habits form gradually over many experiences, adapting organisms to contingencies of reinforcement that are stable over relatively long intervals. Serial reversal learning provides an opportunity to simultaneously examine the processes involved in adapting to rapidly changing and relatively stable contingencies...
February 9, 2017: Animal Cognition
Robert W Mitchell
Horowitz and Hecht (Anim Cog 19:779-788, 2016) presented data about activities and vocalizations during brief videotaped dog-owner play provided by owners, examined these in relation to human affect during play, and made comparisons from their results to other research on activities and vocalizations during dog-human play. In this critique, I describe problems with Horowitz and Hecht's methodology, analyses, and evidence; in their interpretations of the data, evidence, and categorizations provided in other research, particularly my own studies of dog-human play; and in their claims of novelty for their findings...
February 8, 2017: Animal Cognition
Monamie Ringhofer, Shinya Yamamoto
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 8, 2017: Animal Cognition
Hilton F Japyassú, Kevin N Laland
There is a tension between the conception of cognition as a central nervous system (CNS) process and a view of cognition as extending towards the body or the contiguous environment. The centralised conception requires large or complex nervous systems to cope with complex environments. Conversely, the extended conception involves the outsourcing of information processing to the body or environment, thus making fewer demands on the processing power of the CNS. The evolution of extended cognition should be particularly favoured among small, generalist predators such as spiders, and here, we review the literature to evaluate the fit of empirical data with these contrasting models of cognition...
February 7, 2017: Animal Cognition
Pizza Ka Yee Chow, Lisa A Leaver, Ming Wang, Stephen E G Lea
Behavioural flexibility allows animals to adjust their behaviours according to changing environmental demands. Such flexibility is frequently assessed by the discrimination-reversal learning task. We examined grey squirrels' behavioural flexibility, using a simultaneous colour discrimination-reversal learning task on a touch screen. Squirrels were trained to select their non-preferred colour in the discrimination phase, and their preferred colour was rewarded in a subsequent reversal phase. We used error rates to divide learning in each phase into three stages (perseveration, chance level and 'learned') and examined response inhibition and head-switching during each stage...
January 27, 2017: Animal Cognition
Ezgi Gür, Fuat Balcı
Optimal performance in temporal decisions requires the integration of timing uncertainty with environmental statistics such as probability or cost functions. Reward maximization under response deadlines constitutes one of the most stringent examples of these problems. The current study investigated whether and how mice can optimize their timing behavior in a complex experimental setting under a response deadline in which reward maximization required the integration of timing uncertainty with a geometrically increasing probability/decreasing cost function...
January 19, 2017: Animal Cognition
Julia L Riley, Daniel W A Noble, Richard W Byrne, Martin J Whiting
Early developmental environment can have profound effects on individual physiology, behaviour, and learning. In birds and mammals, social isolation during development is known to negatively affect learning ability; yet in other taxa, like reptiles, the effect of social isolation during development on learning ability is unknown. We investigated how social environment affects learning ability in the family-living tree skink (Egernia striolata). We hypothesized that early social environment shapes cognitive development in skinks and predicted that skinks raised in social isolation would have reduced learning ability compared to skinks raised socially...
December 26, 2016: Animal Cognition
Sarah-Elizabeth Byosiere, Lynna C Feng, Jessica K Woodhead, Nicholas J Rutter, Philippe A Chouinard, Tiffani J Howell, Pauleen C Bennett
Susceptibility to geometrical visual illusions has been tested in a number of non-human animal species, providing important information about how these species perceive their environment. Considering their active role in human lives, visual illusion susceptibility was tested in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Using a two-choice simultaneous discrimination paradigm, eight dogs were trained to indicate which of two presented circles appeared largest. These circles were then embedded in three different illusory displays; a classical display of the Ebbinghaus-Titchener illusion; an illusory contour version of the Ebbinghaus-Titchener illusion; and the classical display of the Delboeuf illusion...
December 22, 2016: Animal Cognition
Maria Elena Miletto Petrazzini, Angelo Bisazza, Christian Agrillo
In the last decade, visual illusions have been repeatedly used as a tool to compare visual perception among species. Several studies have investigated whether non-human primates perceive visual illusions in a human-like fashion, but little attention has been paid to other mammals, and sensitivity to visual illusions has been never investigated in the dog. Here, we studied whether domestic dogs perceive the Delboeuf illusion. In human and non-human primates, this illusion creates a misperception of item size as a function of its surrounding context...
December 20, 2016: Animal Cognition
Edwin J C van Leeuwen, Josep Call
Social learning is predicted to evolve in socially living animals provided the learning process is not random but biased by certain socio-ecological factors. One bias of particular interest for the emergence of (cumulative) culture is the tendency to forgo personal behaviour in favour of relatively better variants observed in others, also known as the "copy-if-better" strategy. We investigated whether chimpanzees employ copy-if-better in a simple token-exchange paradigm controlling for individual and random social learning...
December 20, 2016: Animal Cognition
Maria Bulgheroni, Andrea Camperio-Ciani, Elisa Straulino, Luisa Sartori, Enrico D'Amico, Umberto Castiello
When a monkey selects a piece of food lying on the ground from among other viable objects in the near vicinity, only the desired item governs the particular pattern and direction of the animal's reaching action. It would seem then that selection is an important component controlling the animal's action. But, we may ask, is the selection process in such cases impervious to the presence of other objects that could constitute potential obstacles to or constraints on movement execution? And if it is, in fact, pervious to other objects, do they have a direct influence on the organization of the response? The kinematics of macaques' reaching movements were examined by the current study that analysed some exemplars as they selectively reached to grasp a food item in the absence as well as in the presence of potential obstacles (i...
December 18, 2016: Animal Cognition
Thomas R Zentall, Jacob P Case, Jonathon R Berry
The ephemeral reward task provides a subject with a choice between two alternatives A and B. If it chooses alternative A, reinforcement follows and the trial is over. If it chooses alternative B, reinforcement follows but the subject can also respond to alternative A which is followed by a second reinforcement. Thus, it would be optimal to choose alternative B. Surprisingly, Salwiczek et al. (PLoS One 7:e49068, 2012. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.00490682012 ) reported that adult fish (cleaner wrasse) mastered this task within 100 trials, whereas monkeys and apes had great difficulty with it...
December 17, 2016: Animal Cognition
Omri Weiss, Elad Segev, David Eilam
Spatial organization is an extensively studied field, in which most of the research has been on how the physical environment is perceived and conceived. There is a consensus that physical attributes such as environment geometry and landmarks are key factors in shaping spatial cognition. Nevertheless, the numerous studies of spatial behavior have usually been carried out on individuals, thereby overlooking the possible impact of the social environment. In the present study, rats were exposed to an unfamiliar open-field, first alone and then in tetrads of unfamiliar individuals, in order to monitor and analyze when and how their individual spatial behavior converged to a group spatial behavior...
December 17, 2016: Animal Cognition
Lori Marino
Domestic chickens are members of an order, Aves, which has been the focus of a revolution in our understanding of neuroanatomical, cognitive, and social complexity. At least some birds are now known to be on par with many mammals in terms of their level of intelligence, emotional sophistication, and social interaction. Yet, views of chickens have largely remained unrevised by this new evidence. In this paper, I examine the peer-reviewed scientific data on the leading edge of cognition, emotions, personality, and sociality in chickens, exploring such areas as self-awareness, cognitive bias, social learning and self-control, and comparing their abilities in these areas with other birds and other vertebrates, particularly mammals...
March 2017: Animal Cognition
Alexandra E Smith, Stefan J Dalecki, Jonathon D Crystal
Rats retain source memory (memory for the origin of information) over a retention interval of at least 1 week, whereas their spatial working memory (radial maze locations) decays within approximately 1 day. We have argued that different forgetting functions dissociate memory systems. However, the two tasks, in our previous work, used different reward values. The source memory task used multiple pellets of a preferred food flavor (chocolate), whereas the spatial working memory task provided access to a single pellet of standard chow-flavored food at each location...
March 2017: Animal Cognition
Ira G Federspiel, Alexis Garland, David Guez, Thomas Bugnyar, Susan D Healy, Onur Güntürkün, Andrea S Griffin
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 2017: Animal Cognition
Andrea S Griffin, Sabine Tebbich, Thomas Bugnyar
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 2017: Animal Cognition
Andrea S Griffin, Sabine Tebbich, Thomas Bugnyar
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 2017: Animal Cognition
Kateřina Bílá, Jana Beránková, Petr Veselý, Thomas Bugnyar, Christine Schwab
Urban animals and birds in particular are able to cope with diverse novel threats in a city environment such as avoiding novel, unfamiliar predators. Predator avoidance often includes alarm signals that can be used also by hetero-specifics, which is mainly the case in mixed-species flocks. It can also occur when species do not form flocks but co-occur together. In this study we tested whether urban crows use alarm calls of conspecifics and hetero-specifics (jackdaws, Corvus monedula) differently in a predator and a non-predator context with partly novel and unfamiliar zoo animal species...
January 2017: Animal Cognition
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