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Animal Cognition

Bret Pasch, Rachel Sanford, Steven M Phelps
Interspecific aggression between sibling species may enhance discrimination of competitors when recognition errors are costly, but proximate mechanisms mediating increased discriminative ability are unclear. We studied behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying responses to conspecific and heterospecific vocalizations in Alston's singing mouse (Scotinomys teguina), a species in which males sing to repel rivals. We performed playback experiments using males in allopatry and sympatry with a dominant heterospecific (Scotinomys xerampelinus) and examined song-evoked induction of egr-1 in the auditory system to examine how neural tuning modulates species-specific responses...
October 18, 2016: Animal Cognition
Emma C Tecwyn, Stephanie Denison, Emily J E Messer, Daphna Buchsbaum
The ability to reason about probabilities has ecological relevance for many species. Recent research has shown that both preverbal infants and non-human great apes can make predictions about single-item samples randomly drawn from populations by reasoning about proportions. To further explore the evolutionary origins of this ability, we conducted the first investigation of probabilistic inference in a monkey species (capuchins; Sapajus spp.). Across four experiments, capuchins (N = 19) were presented with two populations of food items that differed in their relative distribution of preferred and non-preferred items, such that one population was more likely to yield a preferred item...
October 15, 2016: Animal Cognition
Paolo Mongillo, Elisa Pitteri, Pamela Sambugaro, Paolo Carnier, Lieta Marinelli
Dogs enrolled in a previous study were assessed two years later for reliability of their local/global preference in a discrimination test with the same hierarchical stimuli used in the previous study (Experiment 1) and with a novel stimulus (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, dogs easily re-learned to discriminate the positive stimulus; their individual global/local choices were stable compared to the previous study; and an overall clear global bias was found. In Experiment 2, dogs were slower in acquiring the initial discrimination task; the overall global bias disappeared; and, individually, dogs tended to make inverse choices compared to the original study...
October 13, 2016: Animal Cognition
Barbora Kubenova, Martina Konecna, Bonaventura Majolo, Petr Smilauer, Julia Ostner, Oliver Schülke
Social knowledge beyond one's direct relationships is a key in successfully manoeuvring the social world. Individuals gather information on the quality of social relationships between their group companions, which has been termed triadic awareness. Evidence of the use of triadic awareness in natural contexts is limited mainly to conflict management. Here we investigated triadic awareness in wild Barbary macaques (Macaca sylvanus) in the context of bridging interactions defined as male-infant-male interactions whereby a male (initiator, holder) presents an infant to another male (receiver, non-holder) in order to initiate an affiliative interaction with that male...
October 12, 2016: 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...
October 5, 2016: Animal Cognition
Helge Schlüns, Helena Welling, Julian René Federici, Lars Lewejohann
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) are prone to judge an ambiguous stimulus negatively if they had been agitated through shaking which simulates a predator attack. Such a cognitive bias has been suggested to reflect an internal emotional state analogous to humans who judge more pessimistically when they do not feel well. In order to test cognitive bias experimentally, an animal is conditioned to respond to two different stimuli, where one is punished while the other is rewarded. Subsequently a third, ambiguous stimulus is presented and it is measured whether the subject responds as if it expects a reward or a punishment...
October 3, 2016: Animal Cognition
Akane Nagano, Kenjiro Aoyama
In the present study, we investigated whether rats (Rattus norvegicus) could be trained to use tools in an experimental setting. In Experiment 1, we investigated whether rats became able to choose appropriate hook-shaped tools to obtain food based on the spatial arrangements of the tool and food, similar to tests conducted in non-human primates and birds. With training, the rats were able to choose the appropriate hooks. In Experiments 2 and 3, we conducted transfer tests with novel tools. The rats had to choose between a functional and non-functional rake-shaped tool in these experiments...
September 27, 2016: Animal Cognition
Elia Gatto, Tyrone Lucon-Xiccato, Beste Başak Savaşçı, Marco Dadda, Angelo Bisazza
A recent study found that guppies (Poecilia reticulata) can be trained to discriminate 4 versus 5 objects, a numerical discrimination typically achieved only by some mammals and birds. In that study, guppies were required to discriminate between two patches of small objects on the bottom of the tank that they could remove to find a food reward. It is not clear whether this species possesses exceptional numerical accuracy compared with the other ectothermic vertebrates or whether its remarkable performance was due to a specific predisposition to discriminate between differences in the quality of patches while foraging...
September 22, 2016: Animal Cognition
Juan M Toro, Marisa Hoeschele
Prosody, a salient aspect of speech that includes rhythm and intonation, has been shown to help infants acquire some aspects of syntax. Recent studies have shown that birds of two vocal learning species are able to categorize human speech stimuli based on prosody. In the current study, we found that the non-vocal learning rat could also discriminate human speech stimuli based on prosody. Not only that, but rats were able to generalize to novel stimuli they had not been trained with, which suggests that they had not simply memorized the properties of individual stimuli, but learned a prosodic rule...
September 22, 2016: Animal Cognition
Jaquelinne Pinheiro-da-Silva, Priscila Fernandes Silva, Marcelo Borges Nogueira, Ana Carolina Luchiari
The zebrafish is an ideal vertebrate model for neurobehavioral studies with translational relevance to humans. Many aspects of sleep have been studied, but we still do not understand how and why sleep deprivation alters behavioral and physiological processes. A number of hypotheses suggest its role in memory consolidation. In this respect, the aim of this study was to analyze the effects of sleep deprivation on memory in zebrafish (Danio rerio), using an object discrimination paradigm. Four treatments were tested: control, partial sleep deprivation, total sleep deprivation by light pulses, and total sleep deprivation by extended light...
September 19, 2016: Animal Cognition
Kirsty E Graham, Takeshi Furuichi, Richard W Byrne
In animal communication, signallers and recipients are typically different: each signal is given by one subset of individuals (members of the same age, sex, or social rank) and directed towards another. However, there is scope for signaller-recipient interchangeability in systems where most signals are potentially relevant to all age-sex groups, such as great ape gestural communication. In this study of wild bonobos (Pan paniscus), we aimed to discover whether their gestural communication is indeed a mutually understood communicative repertoire, in which all individuals can act as both signallers and recipients...
September 15, 2016: Animal Cognition
Harry Siviter, D Charles Deeming, Joanna Rosenberger, Oliver H P Burman, Sophie A Moszuti, Anna Wilkinson
Personality traits, defined as differences in the behavior of individual animals of the same species that are consistent over time and context, such as 'boldness,' have been shown to be both heritable and be influenced by external factors, such as predation pressure. Currently, we know very little about the role that early environmental factors have upon personality. Thus, we investigated the impact of incubation temperature upon the boldness on an oviparous reptile, the bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps). Eggs, from one clutch, were incubated at two different average temperatures within the normal range...
September 6, 2016: Animal Cognition
Kinsey H Philips, Megan E Kobiela, Emilie C Snell-Rood
While the effects of lead pollution have been well studied in vertebrates, it is unclear to what extent lead may negatively affect insect cognition. Lead pollution in soils can elevate lead in plant tissues, suggesting it could negatively affect neural development of insect herbivores. We used the cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) as a model system to study the effect of lead pollution on insect cognitive processes, which play an important role in how insects locate and handle resources. Cabbage white butterfly larvae were reared on a 4-ppm lead diet, a concentration representative of vegetation in polluted sites; we measured eye size and performance on a foraging assay in adults...
August 30, 2016: Animal Cognition
L Jacquin, C Dybwad, G Rolshausen, A P Hendry, S M Reader
Human-induced perturbations such as crude-oil pollution can pose serious threats to aquatic ecosystems. To understand these threats fully it is important to establish both the immediate and evolutionary effects of pollutants on behaviour and cognition. Addressing such questions requires comparative and experimental study of populations that have evolved under different levels of pollution. Here, we compared the exploratory, activity and social behaviour of four populations of Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata) raised in common garden conditions for up to three generations...
August 25, 2016: Animal Cognition
Dilara Berkay, David Freestone, Fuat Balcı
Endogenous timing uncertainty results in variability in time-based judgments. In many timing tasks, animals need to incorporate their level of endogenous timing uncertainty into their decisions in order to maximize the reward rate. Although animals have been shown to adopt such optimal behavioral strategies in time-based decisions, whether they can optimize their behavior under exogenous noise is an open question. In this study, we tested mice and rats in a task that required them to space their responses for a minimum duration (DRL task) in different task conditions...
November 2016: Animal Cognition
Jayden O van Horik, Nathan J Emery
Physical cognition has generally been assessed in tool-using species that possess a relatively large brain size, such as corvids and apes. Parrots, like corvids and apes, also have large relative brain sizes, yet although parrots rarely use tools in the wild, growing evidence suggests comparable performances on physical cognition tasks. It is, however, unclear whether success on such tasks is facilitated by previous experience and training procedures. We therefore investigated physical comprehension of object relationships in two non-tool-using species of captive neotropical parrots on a new means-end paradigm, the Trap-Gaps task, using unfamiliar materials and modified training procedures that precluded procedural cues...
November 2016: Animal Cognition
Jennifer R Laude, Carter W Daniels, Jordan C Wade, Thomas R Zentall
There is evidence that impulsive decision-making is associated with errors in timing. However, there has been little attempt to identify the putative mechanism responsible for impulsive animals' timing errors. One means of manipulating impulsivity in non-human animals is providing different levels of access to conspecifics. These preclinical models have revealed that social isolation increases impulsive responding across a wide range of tasks. The goal of the present study was to determine whether social isolation modulates time perception in pigeons by inducing more variability or a bias to underestimate the passage of time in temporal judgments...
November 2016: Animal Cognition
Stephanie L King, Simon J Allen, Richard C Connor, Kelly Jaakkola
Two recent papers by Kuczaj et al. (Anim Cognit 18:543-550, 2015) and Eskelinen et al. (Anim Cognit 19:789-797, 2016) claim to have demonstrated that (i) bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) cooperated to solve a novel task and (ii) vocal signals were important for coordinating these cooperative efforts. Although it is likely that bottlenose dolphins may share communicative signals in order to achieve a common goal, we suggest that this has not been demonstrated in the aforementioned studies. Here, we discuss the two main problems that preclude any definitive conclusions being drawn on cooperative task success and vocal communication from these studies...
November 2016: Animal Cognition
Yu-Ju Chen, Yuying Hsu
This study examined the relative importance of contest experience and size differences to behavioral decisions over the course of contests. Using a mangrove rivulus fish, Kryptolebias marmoratus, we showed that although contest experience and size differences jointly determined contest outcomes, they affected contestants' interactions at different stages of contests. Contest experience affected behavioral decisions at earlier stages of contests, including the tendency and latency to launch attacks, the tendency to escalate contests into mutual attacks and the outcome of non-escalated contests...
November 2016: Animal Cognition
Elizabeth C Kozak, George W Uetz
Cross-modal integration, i.e., cognitive binding of information transmitted in more than one signal mode, is important in animal communication, especially in complex, noisy environments in which signals of many individuals may overlap. Males of the brush-legged wolf spider Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz) use multimodal communication (visual and vibratory signals) in courtship. Because females may be courted by multiple males at the same time, they must evaluate co-occurring male signals originating from separate locations...
November 2016: Animal Cognition
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