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Questions tagged [animal-cognition]

The study of cognition in animals other than humans.

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Is there any research on whether primates with sign language use same fronto-temporal language networks observed in humans?

I have been reading up on research carried out at Ev Fedorenko's MIT Language Lab on localising the high-level language processing regions in humans using fMRI and was wondering if any comparative ...
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Can't we teach other intelligent animals “complex” languages?

I assume I'm not the first person to think about this, but I find this idea very useful, and if it works it would really be a major breakthrough (IMO, more important than getting to space). Animals ...
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Other studies of animals with sign language

Dr. Francine Patterson taught a modified form of sign language to Koko, a western lowland gorilla. Much media attention has been focused on Koko, especially after her death, and Patterson herself ...
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Differences in Cognition, Theory of Mind and their criteria

I´m writing an essay about the ToM in animals. My Problem is that there are a few hints of ToM in animals but there are also some interferences. I tried to set up a conclusion which uses Morgan's Law ...
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Measure of sentience across the animal kingdom

I realize this is quite difficult but if we wanted to estimate the degree of sentience for a particular species what would be the best proxy in the brain? Would it be the number of cortical neurons or ...
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How to stain for orexin neurons in mice?

I am interested in studying possible depletion of orexin levels in the brains of some mice, and am wondering if anyone knows of a staining substance/technique for use on slices of fixed mouse brains ...
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Can animals develop mental disorders that are unique or similar to our own?

I just had a discussion with someone about mental illnesses in people (specifically talking about Capgraw delusion, alien hand syndrome, and walking corpse syndrome) and how some people's lives can be ...
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How to differentiate attentiveness, arousal and memory via gamma oscillations

I am planning an experiment using mice with in vivo extracellular recordings (and maybe also optogenetic stimulation). In these kinds of experiments, the mouse is getting a reward after executing a (...
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110 views

What, other than humans, can possess an IQ? [closed]

Dolphins and some birds (crows and parrots for example) are considered to be 'smart'. This made me thinking - What animals, other than humans, can possess an IQ, perhaps even at a very low level?
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Is there any animal, which knows it will die?

In light of the Cambridge Declaration of Consciousness, are there any animals, which are aware that they will die?
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John Calhoun's Mouse Utopia and Genetic Diversity

I learned about John Calhoun's Mouse Utopia experiment from this Youtube video. The corresponding 1962 paper isn't readily available. What I want to know is, did Calhoun account for genetic diversity ...
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What do chimpanzees do with fire in the wild, and can they be trained to manipulate burning objects?

It seems that most animals run away or avoid fire at all costs. This is especially apparent during wild fires. Humans, obviously, have figured out how to use fire as a tool. Are we the only known ...
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431 views

How to use EEG on dogs?

I need to take EEG readings on dogs for BCI and seizure prediction research. To do so do I need special equipment? Is there an accepted approach in terms of frequency, electrode size and placement, ...
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Is there a difference in the perception of time in animals of different size?

Do small animals see the events surrounding them as going faster or slower in comparison to bigger creatures, such as us humans? Are those surrounding events appear to happen at a different speed for ...
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120 views

Which animals are thought to possess some degree of a theory of mind?

Most dog owners would insist that their dogs have a strong theory of mind, and I have read abstracts that support this idea - for instance, a dog who knows better than to snatch a piece of forbidden ...
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How does an animal learn what a predator is?

A while ago I heard the following anecdote: "On some tropical island, explorers infested the island with rats that wrecked the native ecosystem. To get rid of rats, people introduced cats that ...
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Flow diagram of how information flows through the brain?

I am a Artificial Intelligence researcher with a interest in neuroscience. I was wondering if flow diagrams exist of the way information flows from sensory inputs through the parts of the brain (and ...
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If a human brain would be placed inside that of an animal: Could it talk?

Assumption: Animals can't talk 'human' because of their small(er) brain. Perhaps a strange thought, but I was really wondering: If we could place a human brain inside that of an animal: Would we be ...
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Why is it that only humans commit suicide?

Many animals do 'brave' things to protect their children or family, and some male spiders sacrifice themselves so that they can impregnate the females. However, humans commit suicide without ...
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Can animals think intuitively? [closed]

We agree that human beings have intuition - "the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning." And the level of intuition varies from people to people. Can ...
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Psychology of Sympathizing with Death

Why do we sympathize in general when we see something or someone dying even if we personally don't know it/them? Is there any species other than humans which sympathize with the death of its own ...
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Comparative functional neuroanatomy: humans & octopodes

Cephalopod brains are toroidal (high surface area to volume ratios!), with the esophagus passing through the, uh, donut hole; octopodes are very intelligent, particularly spatially. Where can I find ...
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Do animals have some kind of rudimentary personality types or preferences?

I'm looking at the Myers Briggs type indicator and am trying to understand if type/personality preferences are a human only construct. I'm talking about Introversion-Extraversion, Sensing or iNtuition,...
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Annoyance in animals

When my dog (an English Cocker Spaniel, for what its worth) is behind some glass (e.g. a glass door or a car window) and someone taps on the glass, even just a little bit, she gets into a fit of rage. ...
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Do beavers make dams purely by instinct?

Do beavers use cognitive moves, learning, memory or skill acquisition in their life to build better? Or do they simply repeat instinctive gestures and end up with stereotyped architecture always?
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Binocular rivalry in animals?

Are there any experiments on binocular rivalry in animals? (In humans, brain responses to Rubin's vase are for example well studied.)
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554 views

Have IQ-type measures been tried for other animals?

despite the obvious difficulties of definition and measurement, and the various controversies surrounding the use of IQ-type scores in human beings, it seems unquestionable that there are significant ...
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What causes a person to be curious, inquisitive and explorative?

Why do humans (primates) tend to be curious, inquisitive and explorative? They want to know things that they do not. They explore stuff in an attempt to find something new which makes them ...
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Non coitus sexual activity and the brain

Most animals will only engage in sexual activity that can result in reproduction. There are some exceptions; Bonobos, for instance, engage in a lot of sexual activity that does not involve coitus. ...
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Why are humans the only species to maintain relationships with other animals simply for pleasure?

In the wild, animals may share waterholes, and grazing areas. Some animals have symbiotic relationships one example being the hippopotamus and the oxpecker bird. The symbiotic relationships are based ...
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Does dopamine signal become stronger when goal distance is defined using time?

Howe et al (2013) found that a dopamine signal becomes stronger as a goal is approached. The experiment involved rats running in a maze. If the rats were close to solving the maze, the dopamine signal ...
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3answers
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What, if anything, sets humans apart from other species?

As I grew up, I was taught that the difference between humans and animals was that human beings have free will and animals do not. The basis is that animals will act accordingly to the nature of their ...
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How did the unique features of human intelligence evolve?

I have been debating the following topic with a friend. She argues that humans do not descend from chimpanzees or orang-utans, because if we did, such animals would share the same cognitive thinking ...
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How is sample size determined in animal research?

In human research, we define our universe and estimate the effect size we expect to observe, then we can draw the a sample of a given size. How is sample size determined for experiments in the animal ...
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Research on “probabilistic thinking” in non-human animals?

We all seem to have a "probabilistic sense", which manifests itself in certain types of expectations (e.g. even if one has never used a bow to shoot an arrow, one expects that hitting a small target ...
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548 views

Transsexuality in animals other than humans?

In some research papers, transsexuality is correlated with measurable differences in brain structure. For example: Zhou et al. (1995) inspected the central subdivision of the bed nucleus of the ...
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730 views

Does an exceptional working memory inhibit intelligence?

According to the Fox News article "Chimps Smarter Than Humans in Memory Test" chimps were able to significantly outperform humans in a simple working memory task. I quote one part of the article in ...
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284 views

Does empathy extend to animals?

I've read that humans are able to empathize with other humans, to feel as another person does, through mirror neurons. I'm guessing that they're able to empathize with primates too, as they share ...
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What are the most well-understood vocal animal languages? [closed]

There are many examples of animal language that involve vocal pattens or "grammar". For example, there is the the Bee dance, bird songs, whale songs, dogs. Bird vocalization includes both bird calls ...
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Does introducing an element of play, hunt, or competition make feeding more rewarding?

I have limited experience feeding wildlife, and while it's fun to watch and I'm sure fun for the wildlife too, I'm interested in just how much fun. Is there's any noticeable difference in the ...
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Which type of stimulus results in an optimal learning curve for rats and mice?

When using operant conditioning to train mice or rats, what type of stimulus is most effective? For example, does a negative reinforcement of a loud noise have a more profound effect than a negative ...
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Does teaching a bird an artificial task like eating from a feeder hurt its performance in the wild?

Can training a wild animal through operant conditioning somehow cause the animal to forget or be unable to perform tasks which it had perviously learned? Is it likely that training wild animals ...
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What research has been done on attachment types in other primates?

The most canonical experimental paradigm for studying human attachment styles is the Strange Situation leading to classifications such as Secure, Insecure-avoidant, and so on. What are the equivalent ...
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996 views

Do only humans spend a lot of time daydreaming (or having “stimulus-independent thoughts”)?

A paper Killingsworth et al., A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind, Science 12 November 2010: 932 (or a free pdf) starts with the following statement: Unlike other animals, human beings spend a ...
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Does the ability to manipulate your environment affect the type of intelligence? [closed]

There are several animals on earth that show certain kinds of intelligence. Some animals have extensions to manipulate their environment and some do not. Think of humans and squids (hand/extension ...
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330 views

Are there additional animal studies about superstitions?

In one particular case, Skinner decided to go random on his hungry pigeons. He dropped food into the box at completely random times, independent of any behavior on the part of the pigeons. But the ...
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How does goal-tracking and sign-tracking behaviour vary across species?

In Pavlonian (classical) conditioning, conditioned responses of an animal may vary. Some animals focus on the unconditioned stimulus (ie. food/location of food) while others may focus on the ...
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855 views

How do animals recognize other animals of their own species?

My motivation for this question is dog-based, but I suppose it would apply equally well to humans. How do animals recognize their own kind, particularly where there is large variation in appearance? ...
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553 views

Is it possible to measure the working memory of a non-human animal?

Is it possible to measure the working memory of a non-human animal? And if so, have there been any studies that have quantified the working memory of animals, and that have compared that to the ...
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What are the effects of implanting electrodes into the brains of monkeys?

If one implants electrodes into a monkey's brain in order to allow the monkey to control a mechanical arm, then is the monkeys able to move both it's natural and it's mechanical arms at once? What ...