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Animal Cognition

Takashi Hotta, Shiho Komiyama, Masanori Kohda
Since the pioneering work in chimpanzees, mirror self-recognition (MSR), the ability to recognise oneself in a mirror, has been reported in great apes, Asian elephants, dolphins, and some social birds using the mark test, in which animals that possess MSR touch an imperceptible mark on their own bodies only when a mirror is present. However, giant pandas, which are solitary, failed to pass the mark test, suggesting that MSR evolved solely in highly social animals. In contrast to the increasing evidence of MSR in mammals and birds, little is known about MSR in fish...
November 17, 2017: Animal Cognition
Malini Suchak, Julia Watzek, Luke F Quarles, Frans B M de Waal
Despite many observations of cooperation in nature, laboratory studies often fail to find careful coordination between individuals who are solving a cooperative task. Further, individuals tested are often naïve to cooperative tasks and there has been little exploration of partnerships with mixed expertise. In the current study, we examined acquisition of a cooperative pulling task in a group with both expert (N = 4) and novice (N = 11) chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). We used five measures of competence and understanding: (1) success at the task, (2) latency to succeed, (3) efficiency, (4) uncoordinated pulling, and (5) pulling when a partner was present versus absent...
November 17, 2017: Animal Cognition
Anna Scandurra, Alessandra Alterisio, Massimo Aria, Rosaria Vernese, Biagio D'Aniello
The present study assessed how dogs weigh gestural versus verbal information communicated to them by humans in transitive actions. The dogs were trained by their owners to fetch an object under three conditions: a bimodal congruent condition characterized by using gestures and voices simultaneously; a unimodal gestural condition characterized by using only gestures; and a unimodal verbal condition characterized by using only voices. An additional condition, defined as a bimodal incongruent condition, was later added, in which the gesture contrasted with the verbal command, that is, the owner indicated an object while pronouncing the name of the other object visible to dogs...
November 13, 2017: Animal Cognition
Zegni Triki, Redouan Bshary
Several species of primates, including humans, possess a spontaneous spatial mental arrangement (i.e. mental number line MNL) of increasing numbers or continuous quantities from left to right. This cognitive process has recently been documented in domestic chicken in a spatial-numerical task, opening the possibility that MNL is a cognitive capacity that has been conserved across vertebrate taxa. In this scenario, fish might possess the MNL as well. Here we investigated whether cleaner fish Labroides dimidiatus show evidence for MNL in two experiments...
November 13, 2017: Animal Cognition
Kinuyo Yoneya, Masayoshi Uefune, Junji Takabayashi
Using Cotesia vestalis, a parasitoid wasp of diamondback moth larvae and three crucifer plant species (cabbage, komatsuna, and Japanese radish), we examined the effects of exposure to host-infested plant volatiles from one plant species on a newly emerged wasp's subsequent olfactory cognition of host-infested plant volatiles from the same or different plant species. The preference of C. vestalis between infested and uninfested plant volatiles was tested in a choice chamber. Volatile-inexperienced wasps significantly preferred infested cabbage and infested radish volatiles, but not infested komatsuna volatiles...
October 25, 2017: Animal Cognition
Kim A Bard, Vanessa Maguire-Herring, Masaki Tomonaga, Tetsuro Matsuzawa
In this bottom-up study of gesture, we focused on the details of a single gesture, Touch. We compared characteristics of use by three young chimpanzees with those of 11 adults, their interactive partners, housed in a semi-natural social group at the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute (KUPRI) in Japan. Five hundred eighty-one observations of the gesture Touch were collected across a four-year time span. This single gesture had 36 different forms, was directed to 70 different target locations on the body of social partners, and occurred in 26 different contexts...
October 24, 2017: Animal Cognition
Amy Victoria Smith, Clara Wilson, Karen McComb, Leanne Proops
Signals of dominance and submissiveness are central to conspecific communication in many species. For domestic animals, sensitivities to these signals in humans may also be beneficial. We presented domestic horses with a free choice between two unfamiliar humans, one adopting a submissive and the other a dominant body posture, with vocal and facial cues absent. Horses had previously been given food rewards by both human demonstrators, adopting neutral postures, to encourage approach behaviour. Across four counterbalanced test trials, horses showed a significant preference for approaching the submissive posture in both the first trial and across subsequent trials, and no individual subject showed an overall preference for dominant postures...
October 13, 2017: Animal Cognition
Amanda J Miller, Rachel A Page, Ximena E Bernal
Exploratory behavior can be a key component of survival in novel or changing environments, ultimately determining population establishment. While many studies have investigated the behavior of wild animals in response to novel food items or objects, our understanding of how they explore novel environments is limited. Here, we examine how experience affects the foraging behavior of a species with high invasive potential. In particular, we investigate the movement and behavior of cane toads as a function of experience in a novel environment, and how the presence of food modulates exploration...
October 13, 2017: Animal Cognition
Ezgi Gür, Yalçın Akın Duyan, Fuat Balcı
How do animals adapt their behaviors to changing conditions? This question relates to the debate between associative versus representational/computational approaches in cognitive science. An influential line of research that has significantly shaped the conceptual development of animal learning over decades has primarily focused on the role of associative dynamics with little-to-no ascription of representational/combinatorial capacities. The common assumption of these models is that behavioral adjustments are incremental and they result from updating of associations based on actions and their outcomes, without encoding the critical information serving as the determinant(s) of such contingencies (e...
October 12, 2017: Animal Cognition
R Ian Etheredge, Capucine Avenas, Matthew J Armstrong, Molly E Cummings
The relationship between an individual's cognitive abilities and other behavioural attributes is complex, yet critical to understanding how individual differences in cognition arise. Here we use western mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis, to investigate the relationship between individual associative learning performance in numerical discrimination tests and independent measures of activity, exploration, anxiety and sociability. We found extensive and highly repeatable inter-individual variation in learning performance (r = 0...
October 11, 2017: Animal Cognition
Biagio D'Aniello, Gün Refik Semin, Alessandra Alterisio, Massimo Aria, Anna Scandurra
We report a study examining interspecies emotion transfer via body odors (chemosignals). Do human body odors (chemosignals) produced under emotional conditions of happiness and fear provide information that is detectable by pet dogs (Labrador and Golden retrievers)? The odor samples were collected from the axilla of male donors not involved in the main experiment. The experimental setup involved the co-presence of the dog's owner, a stranger and the odor dispenser in a space where the dogs could move freely...
October 7, 2017: Animal Cognition
R W Byrne, E Cartmill, E Genty, K E Graham, C Hobaiter, J Tanner
Great apes give gestures deliberately and voluntarily, in order to influence particular target audiences, whose direction of attention they take into account when choosing which type of gesture to use. These facts make the study of ape gesture directly relevant to understanding the evolutionary precursors of human language; here we present an assessment of ape gesture from that perspective, focusing on the work of the "St Andrews Group" of researchers. Intended meanings of ape gestures are relatively few and simple...
September 8, 2017: Animal Cognition
Rachael C Shaw, Martin Schmelz
For the past two decades, behavioural ecologists have documented consistent individual differences in behavioural traits within species and found evidence for animal "personality". It is only relatively recently, however, that increasing numbers of researchers have begun to investigate individual differences in cognitive ability within species. It has been suggested that cognitive test batteries may provide an ideal tool for this growing research endeavour. In fact, cognitive test batteries have now been used to examine the causes, consequences and underlying structure of cognitive performance within and between many species...
November 2017: Animal Cognition
Dóra Szabó, Daniel S Mills, Friederike Range, Zsófia Virányi, Ádám Miklósi
A fundamental precept of the scientific method is reproducibility of methods and results, and there is growing concern over the failure to reproduce significant results. Family dogs have become a favoured species in comparative cognition research, but they may be subject to cognitive differences arising from genetic (breeding lines) or cultural differences (e.g. preferred training methods). Such variation is of concern as it affects the validity and generalisability of experimental results. Despite its importance, this problem has not been specifically addressed to date...
November 2017: Animal Cognition
Lauren Stanton, Emily Davis, Shylo Johnson, Amy Gilbert, Sarah Benson-Amram
To gain a better understanding of the evolution of animal cognition, it is necessary to test and compare the cognitive abilities of a broad array of taxa. Meaningful inter-species comparisons are best achieved by employing universal paradigms that standardize testing among species. Many cognitive paradigms, however, have been tested in only a few taxa, mostly birds and primates. One such example, known as the Aesop's Fable paradigm, is designed to assess causal understanding in animals using water displacement...
November 2017: Animal Cognition
Elena M Panova, Alexandr V Agafonov
The research on imitation in the animal kingdom has more than a century-long history. A specific kind of imitation, auditory-vocal imitation, is well known in birds, especially among songbirds and parrots, but data for mammals are limited to elephants, marine mammals, and humans. Cetaceans are reported to imitate various signals, including species-specific calls, artificial sounds, and even vocalizations from other species if they share the same habitat. Here we describe the changes in the vocal repertoire of a beluga whale that was housed with a group of bottlenose dolphins...
November 2017: Animal Cognition
Can Kabadayi, Anastasia Krasheninnikova, Laurie O'Neill, Joost van de Weijer, Mathias Osvath, Auguste M P von Bayern
The ability to inhibit unproductive motor responses triggered by salient stimuli is a fundamental inhibitory skill. Such motor self-regulation is thought to underlie more complex cognitive mechanisms, like self-control. Recently, a large-scale study, comparing 36 species, found that absolute brain size best predicted competence in motor inhibition, with great apes as the best performers. This was challenged when three Corvus species (corvids) were found to parallel great apes despite having much smaller absolute brain sizes...
November 2017: Animal Cognition
Carlos Pinto, Inês Fortes, Armando Machado
The ability to identify stimuli that signal important events is fundamental for an organism to adapt to its environment. In the present paper, we investigated how more than one stimulus could be used jointly to learn a temporal discrimination task. Ten pigeons were exposed to a symbolic matching-to-sample procedure with three durations as samples (2, 6, and 18 s of keylight) and two colors as comparisons (red and green hues). A 30-s intertrial interval (ITI), illuminated with a houselight, separated the trials...
November 2017: Animal Cognition
Catherine M S Plowright, Jeremy J M Bridger, Vicki Xu, Racheal A Herlehy, Charles A Collin
This study examines the mechanism underlying one way in which bumblebees are known to develop a preference for symmetric patterns: through prior non-differential reinforcement on simple patterns (black discs and white discs). In three experiments, bees were given a choice among symmetric and asymmetric black-and-white non-rewarding patterns presented at the ends of corridors in a radial maze. Experimental groups had prior rewarded non-discrimination training on white patterns and black patterns, while control groups had no pre-test experience outside the colony...
November 2017: Animal Cognition
Martin Schmelz, Shona Duguid, Manuel Bohn, Christoph J Völter
Cooperative problem solving has gained a lot of attention over the past two decades, but the range of species studied is still small. This limits the possibility of understanding the evolution of the socio-cognitive underpinnings of cooperation. Lutrinae show significant variations in socio-ecology, but their cognitive abilities are not well studied. In the first experimental study of otter social cognition, we presented two species-giant otters and Asian small-clawed otters-with a cooperative problem-solving task...
November 2017: Animal Cognition
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