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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
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...
September 3, 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)...
September 1, 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...
August 30, 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...
August 30, 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...
August 21, 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...
August 21, 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...
August 14, 2018: Animal Cognition
Andrew Robins, Amira A Goma, Lucie Ouine, Clive J C Phillips
We report a range of lateralized coping strategies adopted by large social groups of cattle in response to mild challenges posed by humans of varying degrees of familiarity. At either 14 or 18 pens at a commercial feedlot, with 90 to 200 cattle in each, we conducted a series of video recorded 'pressure tests'. 'Frontal' pressure tests involved walking from a position perpendicular to the concrete feed bunk of a given pen, towards the geometric centre of the line of feeding cattle. 'Bunk-side' pressure tests involved experimenters walking closely past a pen of feeding cattle in one direction, before returning in the opposite direction shortly afterwards...
July 13, 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
Kate Farmer, Konstanze Krüger, Richard W Byrne, Isabell Marr
Many studies have been carried out into both motor and sensory laterality of horses in agonistic and stressful situations. Here we examine sensory laterality in affiliative interactions within four groups of domestic horses and ponies (N = 31), living in stable social groups, housed at a single complex close to Vienna, Austria, and demonstrate for the first time a significant population preference for the left side in affiliative approaches and interactions. No effects were observed for gender, rank, sociability, phenotype, group, or age...
September 2018: Animal Cognition
Orsolya Kanizsár, Paolo Mongillo, Luca Battaglini, Gianluca Campana, Miina Lõoke, Lieta Marinelli
Knowledge about the mechanisms underlying canine vision is far from being exhaustive, especially that concerning post-retinal elaboration. One aspect that has received little attention is motion perception, and in spite of the common belief that dogs are extremely apt at detecting moving stimuli, there is no scientific support for such an assumption. In fact, we recently showed that dogs have higher thresholds than humans for coherent motion detection (Kanizsar et al. in Sci Rep UK 7:11259, 2017). This term refers to the ability of the visual system to perceive several units moving in the same direction, as one coherently moving global unit...
September 2018: Animal Cognition
Yin Qi, Daniel W A Noble, Jinzhong Fu, Martin J Whiting
A key question in cognition is whether animals that are proficient in a specific cognitive domain (domain specific hypothesis), such as spatial learning, are also proficient in other domains (domain general hypothesis) or whether there is a trade-off. Studies testing among these hypotheses are biased towards mammals and birds. To understand constraints on the evolution of cognition more generally, we need broader taxonomic and phylogenetic coverage. We used Australian eastern water skinks (Eulamprus quoyii) with known spatial learning ability in three additional tasks: an instrumental and two discrimination tasks...
July 2018: Animal Cognition
Katarzyna Majecka, Dariusz Pietraszewski
Object permanence is the ability to represent mentally an object and follow its position even when it has disappeared from view. According to Piaget's 6-stage scale of the sensorimotor period of development, it seems that object permanence appears in Stage 4 and fully develops in Stage 6. In this study, we investigated the ability of some species of monkeys (i.e. pig-tailed macaque, lion-tailed macaque, Celebes crested macaque, barbary macaque, De Brazza's monkey, L'Hoest's monkey, Allen's swamp monkey, black crested mangabeys, collared mangabeys, Geoffroy's spider monkey) to track the displacement of an object, which consisted of a reward hidden under one of two cups...
July 2018: Animal Cognition
William A Roberts, Hayden MacDonald, Ka Ho Lo
The ability to compute probability, previously shown in nonverbal infants, apes, and monkeys, was examined in three experiments with pigeons. After responding to individually presented keys in an operant chamber that delivered reinforcement with varying probabilities, pigeons chose between these keys on probe trials. Pigeons strongly preferred a 75% reinforced key over a 25% reinforced key, even when the total number of reinforcers obtained on each key was equated. When both keys delivered 50% reinforcement, pigeons showed indifference between them, even though three times more reinforcers were obtained on one key than on the other...
July 2018: Animal Cognition
Christoph D Dahl, Christa Wyss, Klaus Zuberbühler, Iris Bachmann
One model of signal evolution is based on the notion that behaviours become increasingly detached from their original biological functions to obtain a communicative value. Selection may not always favour the evolution of such transitions, for instance, if signalling is costly due to predators usurping signal production. Here, we collected inertial movement sensing data recorded from multiple locations in free-ranging horses (Equus caballus), which we subjected to a machine learning algorithm to extract kinematic gestalt profiles...
July 2018: Animal Cognition
M K Stow, A Vernouillet, D M Kelly
The ability to restrain a prepotent response in favor of a more adaptive behavior, or to exert inhibitory control, has been used as a measure of a species' cognitive abilities. Inhibitory control defines a spectrum of behaviors varying in complexity, ranging from self-control to motoric self-regulation. Several factors underlying inhibitory control have been identified, however, the influence of neophobia (i.e., aversion to novelty) on inhibitory control has not received much attention. Neophobia is known to affect complex cognitive abilities, but whether neophobia also influences more basic cognitive abilities, such as motoric self-regulation, has received less attention...
July 2018: Animal Cognition
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