Unformatted text preview: Animal Cognition (And you humans thought you were so special...) North Pacific Giant Octopus, Enteroctopus dofleini Why study animal cognition? To better understand the proximate mechanisms of cognition. To better understand the ultimate function of cognition. Can conduct experiments that are simply not feasible in humans (lifecycle constraints, ethical issues, etc.) Fosters a greater sense of admiration, respect, and kinship with the rest of life on earth. The Black Box
Behaviorists: Simple associative connections (learning) are formed by conditioning Trialanderror is the basic component of complex rational behavior StimulusResponse! Peering into the Black Box
Tolman's Rats 1) Had two groups of rats run a maze Group 1: Received a food reward every day for completing the maze Group 2: Did not receive food reward Peering into the Black Box Time to run maze (minutes) Day Peering into the Black Box
Tolman's Rats 1) Had two groups of rats run a maze 2) 3) On the 7th day, he gave the second group food, too Tested performance on the 8th day Group 1: Received a food reward every day for completing the maze Group 2: Did not receive food reward What was the performance of the rats in Group 2 on the 8th day? Peering into the Black Box Time to run maze (minutes) Day Peering into the Black Box
"Latent learning": a form of learning that is not immediately expressed in an overt response Knowledge isn't revealed until you ask for it!! Umwelt!
Animals see the world very differently than we do!! Umwelt!
Umwelt: An organisms' unique sensory/ perceptual world. The German word umwelt means "environment" or "surrounding world" Animal behaviorists coopted the term Helps us to understand the meaningful aspects of the world for the organism Umwelt! Asking the right questions. How can we design studies that ask questions in ways that the animal can actually understand the task and respond? How can we design specific tasks to be relevant to the animal? "The question for cognitive scientists has changed from what sets humans apart, to what animals reveal about the building blocks of higher cognition."
University Marc Hauser, Harvard What traits distinguish humans from other animals? What traits distinguish humans from the (rest) of the animal kingdom? Making and using tools Morality Lying/Deception Culture/ Cultural transmission "Mental time travel" (thinking and reasoning about past and future) Art / Music Language Tool Use?!?
Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes The use of an external object as a functional extension of mouth, beak, hand, or claw, in the attainment of an immediate goal. van LawickGoodall, 1970 Tool Use?!?
Birds can do it, too! New Caledonian crow, Corvus moneduloides Morality?!?
In a token exchange game with an experimenter: Equality: two monkeys exchanged token for a cucumber Inequality: one monkey exchanged token for cucumber and its partner exchanged same token for a grape (more preferred) Monkeys refused to cooperate if they witnessed their partner receive a preferred reward for the same effort (Bronson & de Waal, 2003) Capuchin monkey, Cebus apella Morality?!?
The authors suggest that this is due to inequity aversion, i.e. they have a sense of fairness and respond negatively to unequal distributions of resources But these findings are very controversial! Deception?!?
Intentional deception: when one individual attempts to actively and cognitively manipulate what another experiences Chimpanzee, Pan troglodytes Deception?!?
Deception is a (deceptively) hard task! Must be able to take perspective of another individual (perspectivetaking hypothesis) Must know that what that individual sees/knows is different than what the deceiver can see Actively manipulate what the other individual experiences Theory of mind? Deception?!? When competing with humans in a task, chimpanzees chose to approach a contested food item via a route hidden from the human's view (Hare et al., 2006) NonSocial Control Face and chest in one direction Occluded Condition Culture?!?
In Britain in the 1940s, a cultural phenomenon swept through the countryside...
...the foil caps on bottles of delivered milk were being torn off by birds before people could retrieve the bottles. By the early 1950s, the entire Blue Tit population (>1 million birds) had learned how to removed the foil caps. Blue Tit, Cyanistes caeruleus Culture?!?
In 1953, scientists were observing Japanese macaques on a small island. They provided food (sweet potatoes) to the monkeys by dropping it onto the ground. Imo, a young female, started washing her potatoes--a completely novel behavior! Within 5 years, 75% of juveniles were also washing their potatoes and the tradition continued after Imo's death. Japanese Macaque, Macaca Culture?!?
Cultural transmission transfer and acquisition of information through social learning and teaching What about learning vs. teaching? Imitation, copying, etc. Teaching from teacher/tutor to a pupil "Mental time travel"?!?
Episodic memory: explicit memory of autobiographical events Some cognitive psychologists have suggested that only humans possess the ability to think about past events or reason about future events i.e. "Animals are stuck in time." (Shettleworth, U. of Toronto) "Mental time travel"?!?
Scrub jays cache food for future consumption Food is stored over a wide area and may be retrieved in hours or months Must keep track of the cache site, perishability of food, social context, season, etc. Western Scrub Jay, Aphelocoma californica Scrub jays remember the "what, where, when" of their food caches "Mental time travel"?!?
Jays were allowed to cache perishable and nonperishable foods If a short time elapsed between, then they recovered the perishable food If a long time had passed, they recovered the nonperishable food Art?!? Satin Bowerbird, Ptilonorhynchus violaceus Vogelkop Gardener Bowerbird, Amblyornis Art?!? Bowers are considered to be the most elaborately decorated structures erected by an animal other than humans Individual males vary in their preferences of the color and placement of objects Males frequently steal objects from other males' bowers Bower styles may be partly learned Preferences also vary geographically, suggesting that bower styles may be culturally transmitted Language?!? Language?!? Language?!?
Features of human languages: Arbitrariness Cultural transmission Discreteness Displacement Duality Metalinguistics Productivity No experimental evidence has shown a nonhuman animal to be proficient in all of these areas... ...YET. Source: Emery et al. Science. 2004. Recommended Courses
Neurobiology & Behavior Introduction to Behavior (BIONB 2210, 2211) Human Social Behavior and Evolution (BIONB 3310, Spring) Animal Communication (BIONB 4260, Spring) Mechanisms of Animal Behavior (BIONB 4350, Spring) Psychology Introduction to Biopsychology (PSYCH 2230, Fall) Hormones and Behavior (PSYCH 3220, Spring) Neuroethology (PSYCH 4240, Fall) ...
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