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Animal Cognition

A Presotto, M P Verderane, L Biondi, O Mendonça-Furtado, N Spagnoletti, M Madden, P Izar
There is evidence that wild animals are able to recall key locations and associate them with navigational routes. Studies in primate navigation suggest most species navigate through the route network system, using intersections among routes as locations of decision-making. Recent approaches presume that points of directional change may be key locations where animals decide where to go next. Over four consecutive years, we observed how a wild group of bearded capuchin monkeys used a route network system and Change Point locations (CPs) in the Brazilian ecotone of Cerrado-Caatinga...
March 12, 2018: Animal Cognition
Sarah Haemmerli, Corinne Thill, Federica Amici, Trix Cacchione
From early infancy, humans reason about the external world in terms of identifiable, solid, cohesive objects persisting in space and time. This is one of the most fundamental human skills, which may be part of our innate conception of object properties. Although object permanence has been extensively studied across a variety of taxa, little is known about how non-human animals reason about other object properties. In this study, we therefore tested how domestic horses (Equus ferus caballus) intuitively reason about object properties like solidity and height, to locate hidden food...
March 10, 2018: Animal Cognition
Lily Johnson-Ulrich, Zoe Johnson-Ulrich, Kay Holekamp
Innovation is widely linked to cognitive ability, brain size, and adaptation to novel conditions. However, successful innovation appears to be influenced by both cognitive factors, such as inhibitory control, and non-cognitive behavioral traits. We used a multi-access box (MAB) paradigm to measure repeated innovation, the number of unique innovations learned across trials, by 10 captive spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta). Spotted hyenas are highly innovative in captivity and also display striking variation in behavioral traits, making them good model organisms for examining the relationship between innovation and other behavioral traits...
March 6, 2018: Animal Cognition
Banty Tia, Riccardo Viaro, Luciano Fadiga
Tool use relies on numerous cognitive functions, including sustained attention and understanding of causality. In this study, we investigated the effects of tool-use training on cognitive performance in primates. Specifically, we applied the Primate Cognition Test Battery to three long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) at different stages of a training procedure that consisted of using a rake to retrieve out-of-reach food items. In addition, we evaluated a control group (n = 3) performing a grasping task, in order to account for possible effects related to a simple motor act...
March 3, 2018: Animal Cognition
Alex Benjamin, Katie Slocombe
Infant-directed speech (IDS) is a special speech register thought to aid language acquisition and improve affiliation in human infants. Although IDS shares some of its properties with dog-directed speech (DDS), it is unclear whether the production of DDS is functional, or simply an overgeneralisation of IDS within Western cultures. One recent study found that, while puppies attended more to a script read with DDS compared with adult-directed speech (ADS), adult dogs displayed no preference. In contrast, using naturalistic speech and a more ecologically valid set-up, we found that adult dogs attended to and showed more affiliative behaviour towards a speaker of DDS than of ADS...
March 2, 2018: Animal Cognition
José Z Abramson, D Paulina Soto, S Beatriz Zapata, María Victoria Hernández Lloreda
Spatial perseveration has been documented for domestic animals such as mules, donkeys, horses and dogs. However, evidence for this spatial cognition behavior among other domestic species is scarce. Alpacas have been domesticated for at least 7000 years yet their cognitive ability has not been officially reported. The present article used an A-not-B detour task to study the spatial problem-solving abilities of alpacas (Vicugna pacos) and to identify the perseveration errors, which refers to a tendency to maintain a learned route, despite having another available path...
February 27, 2018: Animal Cognition
Michimasa Toyoshima, Kazuo Yamada, Manami Sugita, Yukio Ichitani
The social environment is thought to have a strong impact on cognitive functions. In the present study, we investigated whether social enrichment could affect rats' memory ability using the "Different Objects Task (DOT)," in which the levels of memory load could be modulated by changing the number of objects to be remembered. In addition, we applied the DOT to a social discrimination task using unfamiliar conspecific juveniles instead of objects. Animals were housed in one of the three different housing conditions after weaning [postnatal day (PND) 21]: social-separated (1 per cage), standard (3 per cage), or social-enriched (10 per cage) conditions...
February 27, 2018: Animal Cognition
Masaki Kato, Chihiro Yokoyama, Akihiro Kawasaki, Chiho Takeda, Taku Koike, Hirotaka Onoe, Atsushi Iriki
As with humans, vocal communication is an important social tool for nonhuman primates. Common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) often produce whistle-like 'phee' calls when they are visually separated from conspecifics. The neural processes specific to phee call perception, however, are largely unknown, despite the possibility that these processes involve social information. Here, we examined behavioral and whole-brain mapping evidence regarding the detection of individual conspecific phee calls using an audio playback procedure...
February 27, 2018: Animal Cognition
Michael Tomasello, Josep Call
We and our colleagues have been doing studies of great ape gestural communication for more than 30 years. Here we attempt to spell out what we have learned. Some aspects of the process have been reliably established by multiple researchers, for example, its intentional structure and its sensitivity to the attentional state of the recipient. Other aspects are more controversial. We argue here that it is a mistake to assimilate great ape gestures to the species-typical displays of other mammals by claiming that they are fixed action patterns, as there are many differences, including the use of attention-getters...
February 21, 2018: Animal Cognition
John R Vokey, Randall K Jamieson, Jason M Tangen, Rachel A Searston, Scott W Allen
Scarf et al. (Proc Natl Acad Sci 113(40):11272-11276, 2016) demonstrated that pigeons, as with baboons (Grainger et al. in Science 336(6078):245-248, 2012; Ziegler in Psychol Sci. , 2013), can be trained to display several behavioural hallmarks of human orthographic processing. But, Vokey and Jamieson (Psychol Sci 25(4):991-996, 2014) demonstrated that a standard, autoassociative neural network model of memory applied to pixel maps of the words and nonwords reproduces all of those results...
February 20, 2018: Animal Cognition
Daniel Bell-Garrison, Nathaniel C Rice, Elizabeth G E Kyonka
Forgetting is often thought of as the inability to remember, but remembering and forgetting allow behavior to adapt to a changing environment in distinct and separable ways. Learning and forgetting were assessed concurrently in two pigeon experiments that involved the same unconventional routine where the schedule of reinforcement changed every session. Sessions were run back-to-back with a 23-h mid-session break such that in a single visit to the testing chamber, a pigeon completed the second half of one session and the first half of the next...
February 13, 2018: Animal Cognition
Erin N Colbert-White, Alexa Tullis, David R Andresen, Kiona M Parker, Kaylana E Patterson
Evidence from the literature indicates that dogs' choices can be influenced by human-delivered social cues, such as pointing, and pointing combined with facial expression, intonation (i.e., rising and falling voice pitch), and/or words. The present study used an object choice task to investigate whether intonation conveys unique information in the absence of other salient cues. We removed facial expression cues and speech information by delivering cues with the experimenter's back to the dog and by using nonword vocalizations...
February 13, 2018: Animal Cognition
Lisa A Heimbauer, Christopher M Conway, Morten H Christiansen, Michael J Beran, Michael J Owren
Humans and nonhuman primates can learn about the organization of stimuli in the environment using implicit sequential pattern learning capabilities. However, most previous artificial grammar learning studies with nonhuman primates have involved relatively simple grammars and short input sequences. The goal in the current experiments was to assess the learning capabilities of monkeys on an artificial grammar-learning task that was more complex than most others previously used with nonhumans. Three experiments were conducted using a joystick-based, symmetrical-response serial reaction time task in which two monkeys were exposed to grammar-generated sequences at sequence lengths of four in Experiment 1, six in Experiment 2, and eight in Experiment 3...
February 12, 2018: Animal Cognition
Merel A Burgering, Carel Ten Cate, Jean Vroomen
Speech sound categorization in birds seems in many ways comparable to that by humans, but it is unclear what mechanisms underlie such categorization. To examine this, we trained zebra finches and humans to discriminate two pairs of edited speech sounds that varied either along one dimension (vowel or speaker sex) or along two dimensions (vowel and speaker sex). Sounds could be memorized individually or categorized based on one dimension or by integrating or combining both dimensions. Once training was completed, we tested generalization to new speech sounds that were either more extreme, more ambiguous (i...
February 12, 2018: Animal Cognition
M A de la Colina, L Pompilio, M E Hauber, J C Reboreda, B Mahler
Obligate avian brood parasites lay their eggs in nests of other host species, which assume all the costs of parental care for the foreign eggs and chicks. The most common defensive response to parasitism is the rejection of foreign eggs by hosts. Different cognitive mechanisms and decision-making rules may guide both egg recognition and rejection behaviors. Classical optimization models generally assume that decisions are based on the absolute properties of the options (i.e., absolute valuation). Increasing evidence shows instead that hosts' rejection decisions also depend on the context in which options are presented (i...
January 25, 2018: Animal Cognition
Simone Pika, Marlen Fröhlich
Scientific interest in the acquisition of gestural signalling dates back to the heroic figure of Charles Darwin. More than a hundred years later, we still know relatively little about the underlying evolutionary and developmental pathways involved. Here, we shed new light on this topic by providing the first systematic, quantitative comparison of gestural development in two different chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes verus and Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) subspecies and communities living in their natural environments...
January 24, 2018: Animal Cognition
Heidi Ahonen, Robert G Harcourt, Adam J Stow, Isabelle Charrier
Vocal characteristics can vary among and within populations. In species with geographic variation in the structure of vocalizations, individuals may have the ability to discriminate between calls from local and non-local individuals. The ability to distinguish differences in acoustic signals is likely to have a significant influence on the outcome of social interactions between individuals, including potentially mate selection and breeding success. Pinnipeds (seals, fur seals, sea lions and walruses) are highly vocal yet the Australian sea lion (Neophoca cinerea) is the only eared seal known to show geographic vocal variation in male barks...
January 19, 2018: Animal Cognition
Bonnie M Perdue, Ella R Brown
Choice behavior in humans has motivated a large body of research with a focus on whether decisions can be considered to be rational. In general, humans prefer having choice, as do a number of other species that have been tested, even though having increased choice does not necessarily yield a positive outcome. Humans have been found to choose an option more often only because the opportunity to select it was diminishing, an example of a deviation from economic rationality. Here we extend this paradigm to nonhuman primates in an effort to understand the mechanisms underlying this finding...
January 2, 2018: Animal Cognition
Mariana R Olsen
Executive function (EF) allows for self-regulation of behavior including maintaining focus in the face of distraction, inhibiting behavior that is suboptimal or inappropriate in a given context, and updating the contents of working memory. While EF has been studied extensively in humans, it has only recently become a topic of research in the domestic dog. In this paper, I argue for increased study of dog EF by explaining how it might influence the owner-dog bond, human safety, and dog welfare, as well as reviewing the current literature dedicated to EF in dogs...
March 2018: Animal Cognition
Yuko Ishikawa, Daniel Mills, Alexander Willmott, David Mullineaux, Kun Guo
Preferential attention to living creatures is believed to be an intrinsic capacity of the visual system of several species, with perception of biological motion often studied and, in humans, it correlates with social cognitive performance. Although domestic dogs are exceptionally attentive to human social cues, it is unknown whether their sociability is associated with sensitivity to conspecific and heterospecific biological motion cues of different social relevance. We recorded video clips of point-light displays depicting a human or dog walking in either frontal or lateral view...
March 2018: Animal Cognition
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