The study of cognition in animals other than humans.

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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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2answers
108 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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898 views

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 being have free will and animals do not. The basis being animals will act accordingly to the nature of their ...
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519 views

What do the super-large brains of whales and elephants map to?

Elephants and whales have brains that are much larger than those of humans. It is presumed that much of their brain is used up for their larger bodies (after all, there is a allometric scaling between ...
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214 views

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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234 views

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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133 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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280 views

Does the ability to manipulate your environment affect the type of intelligence?

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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127 views

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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127 views

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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172 views

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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174 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 ...
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109 views

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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71 views

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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1answer
139 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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330 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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1answer
143 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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70 views

What are the most well-understood vocal animal languages?

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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244 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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119 views

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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1answer
98 views

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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273 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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422 views

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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354 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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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 ...