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Animal Cognition

Elisa Jacinto, Péter Szenczi, Robyn Hudson, Oxána Bánszegi
Mother cats can discriminate between their own and alien kittens using kittens' body odour. Here we ask whether they can also distinguish between body odours of kittens from the same litter. We conducted three experiments using the habituation-dishabituation technique with the odour of 1- and 7-week-old kittens of both sexes. In Experiment 1, we found no evidence that mothers discriminated among their own kittens of either age when presented three times with the odour of one individual (habituation trials) and then with the odour of a different individual (dishabituation or discrimination trial), even when the donor kittens were of different sex...
October 31, 2018: Animal Cognition
Simon Potier, Olivier Duriez, Aurélie Célérier, Jean-Louis Liegeois, Francesco Bonadonna
Raptors are usually considered to be mainly visually dependent, and the use of other sensory modalities has rarely been studied in these birds. Here, we investigated experimentally which senses (vision and/or olfaction) Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) and Southern caracaras (Caracara plancus) use to find hidden food. First, two identical stainless-steel perforated balls, one containing a putrefied piece of meat and the other an odorless control, were presented to birds in binary choice experiments. Both species interacted more with the smelling ball than with the control, suggesting that they were attracted by the odor of the hidden meat...
October 26, 2018: Animal Cognition
Anna Ilona Roberts, Sam George Bradley Roberts
A key challenge for primates is coordinating behaviour with conspecifics in large, complex social groups. Gestures play a key role in this process and chimpanzees show considerable flexibility communicating through single gestures, sequences of gestures interspersed with periods of response waiting (persistence), and rapid sequences where gestures are made in quick succession, too rapid for the response waiting to have occurred. The previous studies examined behavioural reactions to single gestures and sequences, but whether this complexity is associated with more complex sociality at the level of the dyad partner and the group as a whole is not well understood...
October 19, 2018: Animal Cognition
Nicola Plowes, Yu Du, Jenna V Congdon, Vadim Bulitko, Everton S Soares, Marcia L Spetch
Veromessor pergandei harvester ants are group foragers which use a combination of social cues (pheromone-marked columns) and individual cues (e.g., self-generated movement, visual cues) when exploring foraging areas for resources. Upon finding food, individuals navigate back to the column, which guides their return to the nest. The direction and length of columns change between foraging bouts, and hence the end of the column (unlike the nest location) is non-stationary. We conducted displacement tests on returning foragers and present three novel findings...
October 17, 2018: Animal Cognition
Sabrina Briefer Freymond, Alice Ruet, Maurine Grivaz, Camille Fuentes, Klaus Zuberbühler, Iris Bachmann, Elodie F Briefer
Stereotypies in animals are thought to arise from an interaction between genetic predisposition and sub-optimal housing conditions. In domestic horses, a well-studied stereotypy is crib-biting, an abnormal behaviour that appears to help individuals to cope with stressful situations. One prominent hypothesis states that animals affected by stereotypies are cognitively less flexible compared to healthy controls, due to sensitization of a specific brain area, the basal ganglia. The aim of this study was to test this hypothesis in crib-biting and healthy controls, using a cognitive task, reversal learning, which has been used as a diagnostic for basal ganglia dysfunction...
October 17, 2018: Animal Cognition
Désirée Brucks, Sarah Marshall-Pescini, Friederike Range
Being able to inhibit certain behaviours is of clear advantage in various situations. In particular, it has been suggested that inhibitory control plays a role in problem-solving and cooperation. Interspecific differences in the capacity for inhibitory control have been attributed to social and ecological factors, while one additional factor, namely domestication, has received only little attention so far. Dogs are an interesting species to test the effects of socio-ecological factors and also the influence of domestication on inhibitory control abilities...
October 3, 2018: Animal Cognition
Verena Kersken, Juan-Carlos Gómez, Ulf Liszkowski, Adrian Soldati, Catherine Hobaiter
When we compare human gestures to those of other apes, it looks at first like there is nothing much to compare at all. In adult humans, gestures are thought to be a window into the thought processes accompanying language, and sign languages are equal to spoken language with all of its features. Some research firmly emphasises the differences between human gestures and those of other apes; however, the question about whether there are any commonalities is rarely investigated, and has mostly been confined to pointing gestures...
September 8, 2018: Animal Cognition
Susan Perry
The original article shows incorrect values for 'Coef. and Robust SE' under the heading.
November 2018: Animal Cognition
Wei Xiong, Lian-Chun Yi, Zhonghua Tang, Xin Zhao, Shi-Jian Fu
Fish typically prefer to live in big shoals due to the associated ecological benefits. Shoaling is a behavior that depends on the ability to quantitatively discriminate. The fundamental mechanism involved in quantity discrimination determines whether fish can discriminate a shoal using numerical discrete cues (e.g., number of shoal members), non-numerical continuous traits (e.g., total body surface area) or both; however, the mechanism is currently a controversial topic. In the present study, we used a spontaneous choice experiment to test whether guppy (Poecilia reticulata), zebrafish (Danio rerio), Chinese crucian carp (Carassius auratus) and qingbo (Spinibarbus sinensis) rely on continuous (i...
November 2018: Animal Cognition
Francesca Zoratto, Giulia Cordeschi, Giacomo Grignani, Roberto Bonanni, Enrico Alleva, Giuseppe Nascetti, Jennifer A Mather, Claudio Carere
Studies of animal personality have shown consistent between-individual variation in behaviour in many social and non-social contexts, but hunting behaviour has been overlooked. Prey capture sequences, especially in invertebrates, are supposed to be quite invariant. In cuttlefish, the attack includes three components: attention, positioning, and seizure. The previous studies indicated some variability in these components and we quantified it under the hypothesis that it could relate to personality differences...
November 2018: Animal Cognition
Jan Langbein, Annika Krause, Christian Nawroth
In addition to domestication, interactions with humans or task-specific training during ontogeny have been proposed to play a key role in explaining differences in human-animal communication across species. In livestock, even short-term positive interactions with caretakers or other reference persons can influence human-animal interaction at different levels and over different periods of time. In this study, we investigated human-directed behaviour in the 'unsolvable task' paradigm in two groups of domestic goats (Capra aegagrus hircus)...
November 2018: Animal Cognition
Ryoga Otake, Shigeto Dobata
The use of conspecific cues as social information in decision making is widespread among animals; but, because this social information is indirect, it is error-prone. During resource acquisition, conspecific cues also indicate the presence of competitors; therefore, decision makers are expected to utilize direct information from resources and modify their responses to social information accordingly. Here, we show that, in a non-social insect, unattractive egg-laying resources alter the behavioural response to conspecific cues from avoidance to preference, leading to resource sharing...
November 2018: Animal Cognition
Bonnie Humphrey, William S Helton, Carol Bedoya, Yinnon Dolev, Ximena J Nelson
The inability to maintain signal detection performance with time on task, or vigilance decrement, is widely studied in people because of its profound implications on attention-demanding tasks over sustained periods of time (e.g., air-traffic control). According to the resource depletion (overload) theory, a faster decrement is expected in tasks that are cognitively demanding or overstimulating, while the underload theory predicts steeper decrements in tasks that provide too little cognitive load, or understimulation...
November 2018: Animal Cognition
Laura Hennefield, Hyesung G Hwang, Sara J Weston, Daniel J Povinelli
The classic Aesop's fable, Crow and the Pitcher, has inspired a major line of research in comparative cognition. Over the past several years, five articles (over 32 experiments) have examined the ability of corvids (e.g., rooks, crows, and jays) to complete lab-based analogs of this fable, by requiring them to drop stones and other objects into tubes of water to retrieve a floating worm (Bird and Emery in Curr Biol 19:1-5, 2009b; Cheke et al. in Anim Cogn 14:441-455, 2011; Jelbert et al. in PLoS One 3:e92895, 2014; Logan et al...
November 2018: Animal Cognition
Laurine Belin, Laureline Formanek, Christine Heyraud, Martine Hausberger, Laurence Henry
Stimuli such as visual representations of raptors, snakes, or humans are generally assumed to be universally fear-inducing in birds and considered as a product of evolutionary perceptual bias. Both naïve and experienced birds should thus react to such stimuli with fear reactions. However, studies on different species have shown the importance of experience in the development of these fear reactions. We hypothesized that the responses of adult European starlings to fear-inducing visual stimuli may differ according to experience...
November 2018: Animal Cognition
Sarah L Stuebing, Andrew T Marshall, Ashton Triplett, Kimberly Kirkpatrick
Impulsive choice has been implicated in substance abuse, gambling, obesity, and other maladaptive behaviors. Deficits in interval timing may increase impulsive choices, and therefore, could serve as an avenue through which suboptimal impulsive choices can be moderated. Temporal interventions have successfully attenuated impulsive choices in male rats, but the efficacy of a temporal intervention has yet to be assessed in female rats. As such, this experiment examined timing and choice behavior in female rats, and evaluated the ability of a temporal intervention to mitigate impulsive choice behavior...
November 2018: Animal Cognition
E Prato-Previde, V Nicotra, S Fusar Poli, A Pelosi, P Valsecchi
Jealousy appears to have clear adaptive functions across species: it emerges when an important social relationship with a valued social partner is threatened by third-party that is perceived as a rival. Dyads of dogs living together and their owners were tested adapting a procedure devised to study jealousy in young human siblings. Owners at first ignored both dogs while reading a magazine (Control episode), and then petted and praised one of the dogs while ignoring the other, and vice versa (Experimental episodes)...
September 2018: Animal Cognition
Fumihiro Kano, Richard Moore, Christopher Krupenye, Satoshi Hirata, Masaki Tomonaga, Josep Call
The previous studies have shown that human infants and domestic dogs follow the gaze of a human agent only when the agent has addressed them ostensively-e.g., by making eye contact, or calling their name. This evidence is interpreted as showing that they expect ostensive signals to precede referential information. The present study tested chimpanzees, one of the closest relatives to humans, in a series of eye-tracking experiments using an experimental design adapted from these previous studies. In the ostension conditions, a human actor made eye contact, called the participant's name, and then looked at one of two objects...
September 2018: Animal Cognition
Carolin Sommer-Trembo, Martin Plath
Recent studies on consistent individual differences in behavioural tendencies (animal personality) raised the question of whether individual differences in cognitive abilities can be linked to certain personality types. We tested female Atlantic mollies (Poecilia mexicana) in two different classical conditioning experiments. For the first time, we provide evidence for highly consistent individual differences in associative learning speed in fish. We characterized the same individuals for boldness in two experimental situations (latency to emerge from shelter and freezing time after a simulated predator attack) and found high behavioural repeatability...
September 2018: Animal Cognition
Tyler Cash-Padgett, Habiba Azab, Seng Bum Michael Yoo, Benjamin Y Hayden
Previous studies have shown that the pupils dilate more in anticipation of larger rewards. This finding raises the possibility of a more general association between reward amount and pupil size. We tested this idea by characterizing macaque pupil responses to offered rewards during evaluation and comparison in a binary choice task. To control attention, we made use of a design in which offers occurred in sequence. By looking at pupil responses after choice but before reward, we confirmed the previously observed positive association between pupil size and anticipated reward values...
September 2018: Animal Cognition
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