Animal Cognition

http://link.springer.com/journal/10071

List of Papers (Total 132)

Where’s the cookie? The ability of monkeys to track object transpositions

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...

Intuitive optics: what great apes infer from mirrors and shadows

There is ongoing debate about the extent to which nonhuman animals, like humans, can go beyond first-order perceptual information to abstract structural information from their environment. To provide more empirical evidence regarding this question, we examined what type of information great apes (chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans) gain from optical effects such as shadows and...

Cross-species referential signalling events in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris)

Referential gestures are used by a signaller to draw a recipient’s attention to a specific object, individual or event in the environment. These gestures have received much research attention in relation to human and non-human primates with great apes being shown to possess impressive gestural repertoires. Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) meanwhile provide an ideal non-primate...

Chimpanzees prioritise social information over pre-existing behaviours in a group context but not in dyads

How animal communities arrive at homogeneous behavioural preferences is a central question for studies of cultural evolution. Here, we investigated whether chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) would relinquish a pre-existing behaviour to adopt an alternative demonstrated by an overwhelming majority of group mates; in other words, whether chimpanzees behave in a conformist manner. In...

Individual identity and affective valence in marmoset calls: in vivo brain imaging with vocal sound playback

As with humans, vocal communication is an important social tool for nonhuman primates. Common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) often produce whistle-like ‘phee’ calls when they are visually separated from conspecifics. The neural processes specific to phee call perception, however, are largely unknown, despite the possibility that these processes involve social information. Here...

Thirty years of great ape gestures

We and our colleagues have been doing studies of great ape gestural communication for more than 30 years. Here we attempt to spell out what we have learned. Some aspects of the process have been reliably established by multiple researchers, for example, its intentional structure and its sensitivity to the attentional state of the recipient. Other aspects are more controversial...

Mechanisms underlying speech sound discrimination and categorization in humans and zebra finches

Speech sound categorization in birds seems in many ways comparable to that by humans, but it is unclear what mechanisms underlie such categorization. To examine this, we trained zebra finches and humans to discriminate two pairs of edited speech sounds that varied either along one dimension (vowel or speaker sex) or along two dimensions (vowel and speaker sex). Sounds could be...

Gestural acquisition in great apes: the Social Negotiation Hypothesis

Scientific interest in the acquisition of gestural signalling dates back to the heroic figure of Charles Darwin. More than a hundred years later, we still know relatively little about the underlying evolutionary and developmental pathways involved. Here, we shed new light on this topic by providing the first systematic, quantitative comparison of gestural development in two...

Sociability modifies dogs’ sensitivity to biological motion of different social relevance

Preferential attention to living creatures is believed to be an intrinsic capacity of the visual system of several species, with perception of biological motion often studied and, in humans, it correlates with social cognitive performance. Although domestic dogs are exceptionally attentive to human social cues, it is unknown whether their sociability is associated with...

Author Correction: Domestic horses (Equus caballus) prefer to approach humans displaying a submissive body posture rather than a dominant body posture

In the original publication, data availability text was incorrectly published. The correct text should read as below.

The detour paradigm in animal cognition

In this paper, we review one of the oldest paradigms used in animal cognition: the detour paradigm. The paradigm presents the subject with a situation where a direct route to the goal is blocked and a detour must be made to reach it. Often being an ecologically valid and a versatile tool, the detour paradigm has been used to study diverse cognitive skills like insight, social...

Do chimpanzees anticipate an object’s weight? A field experiment on the kinematics of hammer-lifting movements in the nut-cracking Taï chimpanzees

When humans are about to manipulate an object, our brains use visual cues to recall an internal representation to predict its weight and scale the lifting force accordingly. Such a long-term force profile, formed through repeated experiences with similar objects, has been proposed to improve manipulative performance. Skillful object manipulation is crucial for many animals...

The gesture ‘Touch’: Does meaning-making develop in chimpanzees’ use of a very flexible gesture?

In this bottom-up study of gesture, we focused on the details of a single gesture, Touch. We compared characteristics of use by three young chimpanzees with those of 11 adults, their interactive partners, housed in a semi-natural social group at the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute (KUPRI) in Japan. Five hundred eighty-one observations of the gesture Touch were...

Domestic horses (Equus caballus) prefer to approach humans displaying a submissive body posture rather than a dominant body posture

Signals of dominance and submissiveness are central to conspecific communication in many species. For domestic animals, sensitivities to these signals in humans may also be beneficial. We presented domestic horses with a free choice between two unfamiliar humans, one adopting a submissive and the other a dominant body posture, with vocal and facial cues absent. Horses had...

Are parrots poor at motor self-regulation or is the cylinder task poor at measuring it?

The ability to inhibit unproductive motor responses triggered by salient stimuli is a fundamental inhibitory skill. Such motor self-regulation is thought to underlie more complex cognitive mechanisms, like self-control. Recently, a large-scale study, comparing 36 species, found that absolute brain size best predicted competence in motor inhibition, with great apes as the best...

Great ape gestures: intentional communication with a rich set of innate signals

Great apes give gestures deliberately and voluntarily, in order to influence particular target audiences, whose direction of attention they take into account when choosing which type of gesture to use. These facts make the study of ape gesture directly relevant to understanding the evolutionary precursors of human language; here we present an assessment of ape gesture from that...

Cooperative problem solving in giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) and Asian small-clawed otters (Aonyx cinerea)

Cooperative problem solving has gained a lot of attention over the past two decades, but the range of species studied is still small. This limits the possibility of understanding the evolution of the socio-cognitive underpinnings of cooperation. Lutrinae show significant variations in socio-ecology, but their cognitive abilities are not well studied. In the first experimental...

A novel continuous inhibitory-control task: variation in individual performance by young pheasants (Phasianus colchicus)

Inhibitory control enables subjects to quickly react to unexpectedly changing external demands. We assessed the ability of young (8 weeks old) pheasants Phasianus colchicus to exert inhibitory control in a novel response-inhibition task that required subjects to adjust their movement in space in pursuit of a reward across changing target locations. The difference in latencies...

What’s in a voice? Dolphins do not use voice cues for individual recognition

Most mammals can accomplish acoustic recognition of other individuals by means of “voice cues,” whereby characteristics of the vocal tract render vocalizations of an individual uniquely identifiable. However, sound production in dolphins takes place in gas-filled nasal sacs that are affected by pressure changes, potentially resulting in a lack of reliable voice cues. It is well...

The mismeasure of ape social cognition

In his classic analysis, Gould (The mismeasure of man, WW Norton, New York, 1981) demolished the idea that intelligence was an inherent, genetic trait of different human groups by emphasizing, among other things, (a) its sensitivity to environmental input, (b) the incommensurate pre-test preparation of different human groups, and (c) the inadequacy of the testing contexts, in...

No evidence for self-recognition in a small passerine, the great tit (Parus major) judged from the mark/mirror test

Self-recognition is a trait presumed to be associated with high levels of cognition and something previously considered to be exclusive to humans and possibly apes. The most common test of self-recognition is the mark/mirror test of whether an animal can understand that it sees its own reflection in a mirror. The usual design is that an animal is marked with a colour spot...

How to stay perfect: the role of memory and behavioural traits in an experienced problem and a similar problem

When animals encounter a task they have solved previously, or the same problem appears in a different apparatus, how does memory, alongside behavioural traits such as persistence, selectivity and flexibility, enhance problem-solving efficiency? We examined this question by first presenting grey squirrels with a puzzle 22 months after their last experience of it (the recall task...

Post-weaning social and cognitive performance of piglets raised pre-weaning either in a complex multi-suckling group housing system or in a conventional system with a crated sow

We studied the social and cognitive performance of piglets raised pre-weaning either in a conventional system with a sow in a farrowing crate (FC) or in a multi-suckling (MS) system in which 5 sows and their piglets could interact in a more physically enriched and spacious environment. After weaning at 4 weeks of age, 8 groups of 4 litter-mates per pre-weaning housing treatment...

Judgement bias in pigs is independent of performance in a spatial holeboard task and conditional discrimination learning

Biases in judgement of ambiguous stimuli, as measured in a judgement bias task, have been proposed as a measure of the valence of affective states in animals. We recently suggested a list of criteria for behavioural tests of emotion, one of them stating that responses on the task used to assess emotionality should not be confounded by, among others, differences in learning...