Questions tagged [animal-cognition]

The study of cognition in animals other than humans.

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Could the Mirror Test results simply be a product of "itching" caused by mirror neurons?

Most of the critiques of the Mirror Self-Recognition (MSR) test are aimed at false negatives - animals might still be self aware even if they do not pass the test for a wide number of reasons. However,...
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Curt Richter's rat hope experiment: Why did the first nine rats survive for days?

I can understand the part that the experimenter saved the rat just before it was about to die and then the rat lasted longer for the next drowning. But I do not understand what it means that before ...
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Does my cat ever "want" something or its behavior is mostly reactive?

A few days ago I and my spouse were trying to convince our male cat to come and sit next to us on the sofa. Our cat seemed undecided between staying and coming and my spouse mentioned that he does ...
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What Classical Conditioning says about multiple or multimodal stimuli?

I would like to know if classical conditioning somehow predicts/approaches scenarios where multiple or multimodal stimuli associate with a response. I do not have much knowledge on the topic, but it ...
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How was the infant IQ test applied to Koko?

Apparently, a Gorilla named Koko took a number of IQ tests and scored an average of 80, their full range of scores being 70 to 95. The test used was the Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale. I don't ...
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Do animals look for new ways to keep themselves motivated? [closed]

Humans tend to find ways to keep themselves motivated and happy. What about animals? Do they feel down and look for new ways to motivate themselves?
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Why do larger animals need bigger brains?

For example, we can assume that the average house cat is equally intelligent as the average tiger. The average tiger is about 100 times heavier than the average house cat. But its brain is also bigger ...
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In non-human animals, does general intelligence apply?

In humans, there is this concept of general intelligence, which says that if someone is smarter than you then they are smarter than you at all activities that rely on intelligences. Do other animals ...
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Different plasticity mechanisms in different species

Are the neural plasticity mechanisms behind learning essentially the same across different species? For instance, is STDP assumed to be a standard mechanism in almost anything with a brain, or is it ...
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Do animals have a critical period for language similar to humans?

I have wondered this question for awhile, and I thought it would be appropriate to ask on here. Particularly, is there any evidence showing that animals exposed to human language during their ...
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Do animals know about choices?

A mouse goes through a maze and gets to a T-junction. Does it "know" there is a choice to be made between left and right or does it just continue following it's nose? Perhaps using some heuristics? ...
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Could human decision making have evolved from food finding?

One of the things human's do (and possibly other animals) is consider various options, imagine what they would be like, and then make a choice. This is called a "tree search". For example, "should I ...
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Upper Bounds on Rat Maze Complexity

Suppose you make a rat run through a maze to find it's food. Every day, you put the rat into the same maze. The first few times this rat has to run the maze, it will probably take a little while to ...
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Do my cats really know I exist?

I wonder if my cat really knows me as an individual or just a mysterious connected object that somehow has hands and legs attached to a body. When I pet him, does he know that this action originates ...
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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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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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3 votes
1 answer
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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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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?

Small animals, such as a fly, snail, or little sea crab, have to cope with physical processes that proceed much faster in relation to their size than they do for bigger animals. Therefore, I wonder, ...
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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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2 votes
4 answers
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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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2 votes
1 answer
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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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Have IQ-type measures been tried for other animals?

Despite the obvious difficulties pertaining to definition and measurement, and the various controversies surrounding the use of IQ-type scores in human beings, it seems unquestionable that there are ...
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10 votes
3 answers
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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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10 votes
3 answers
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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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10 votes
1 answer
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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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12 votes
2 answers
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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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24 votes
4 answers
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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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3 votes
3 answers
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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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5 votes
1 answer
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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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7 votes
4 answers
256 views

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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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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10 votes
5 answers
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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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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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