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13

For instance, the same behavior was also shown in orang-utan and dog. Already two years after the study by Skinner (1947) mentioned in the news article, Kellogg (1949) gave a review of some of the experimental results, but advocates a less anthropomorphic interpretation: Kellogg, W. N. (1949) 'Superstitious' behavior in animals. Psychological Review, Vol ...


11

With whales in particular, they don't even have arms or legs, so I wouldn't expect them to have large regions of the brain devoted to, say, fine-motor skills. Ah, but they also have a complete three dimensions to move in, unlike us humans who only have about 2.5 dimensions to move in. Also, they have a number of different "limbs": tail, multiple fins, ...


11

Sure. For example, working memory can be assessed using the delayed match to sample task. Here are examples from monkeys, rats, pigeons, and bees. The problem with comparing them is that the actual stimuli used for each species are different (e.g. odors for bees, shapes for monkeys) and this is known to affect the results. In humans, if you run similar ...


10

I wouldn't worry about "running out" of room in our brain. We often forget things just because we don't need to know them, similar to . There are plenty of human savants that display apparently "unlimited" capacities of certain forms of memory, such as Hyperthymesia where one has a seemingly perfect amount of recall of autobiographical details (not to be ...


8

The interface between the brain and the hand is not like a USB computer port, and we don't unplug the biological arm and plug in a mechanical one instead. We implant electrodes to just a tiny fraction of the neurons in M1 (about a hundred, out of millions), and use their signals to control the mechanical arm. So the answer is yes. The monkeys don't lose any ...


8

According to Hal Herzog, humans are the only animals that keep pets. Other animals have also kept pets however it was not under natural settings. These other "pet" relationships were observed in zoos, controlled experiments. etc. One the main reasons Herzog notes that humans are the only animals to keep pets is the idea of culture. Humans have evolved to ...


7

Sure, visual working memory capacity has been assessed in humans, chimps and mac using a change-detection tasks and trail-making tasks. For example, the chimp Ayumu at Kyoto University easily outperforms all humans and a simple number sequencing task. In the task, the numbers 1-n appear briefly on the screen in random positions and then the numbers must be ...


7

First, the concept of optimality of a learning curve is not well defined. You can measure at least 3 different aspects of learning: Speed of learning Time before extinction Performance at peak Of course, there may be other measures as well, and any combination of such measure may also be a legitimate measure for certain uses. Conditioned Taste Aversion ...


7

The conclusions drawn in Inoue & Matsuzawa's (2007) study, which seems to be available here, are suspect. First off, the sample sizes (6 chimp, 9 human subjects) are simply too small to draw good inferences about working memory, at least about human working memory, but as I imagine chimps are somewhat expensive subjects, c'est la vie. Secondly, and more ...


7

No. Different parts of the brain are responsible for different functions, and the brain would not spontaneously reorganize based only on a improved WM. Memory is a huge factor in intelligence, and improving WM would likely result in increased scores on intelligent tests, and in general is a good thing. References: Increased prefrontal and parietal ...


7

But what about a human empathizing with less humanoid animals? Empathic responding towards humans is generalized to other species. The greater the similarity of the species towards humans, the larger is the empathic response. The findings support the notion that there is a relationship between human empathy directed towards other humans and human ...


7

It is not that we are just generally smarter then animals, but we posses cognitive tools of a different kind that they don't. Two of them are language and the ability to simulate the future. Regarding language, there is a wide consensus today that human language has some unique complexities that no animal form of communication has (see Pinker's "The ...


6

High working memory is associated with greater ability to learn meanings of abstract symbols, such as is required to do mathematics. I would be highly skeptical of a claim that there is a trade-off between WM and general intelligence. Ian M. Lyons, Sian L. Beilock, Beyond quantity: Individual differences in working memory and the ordinal understanding ...


6

Yes. See contra-freeloading or (for humans) ikea effect. Contrafreeloading: (verb) The behavior in which animals offered the choice between eating food provided to them for free or working to get that food would eat the most food from the source that required effort. This term was created in 1963 by animal psychologist Glen Jensen. Jensen ran a study on ...


5

If non-human animals do have intelligence too, why is their intelligence not as advanced as humans? Notions like “advanced” or “better” really have no place in evolutionary thinking. Again, evolutionary fitness is about self-reproduction and success compared to whatever competition is present at any moment. There is no force “optimizing” species to meet ...


5

Let's first be clear that we didn't evolve from monkeys/apes/etc. That's a common misconception. Evolution states that we and monkeys/apes/etc. evolved from a common ancestor. Same with fish. If you go back far enough, we and fish share a common ancestor... we did not, however, evolve from today's Salmon or Macaque. That being said, the origin of ...


5

Try an internet search on animal learning probability. Although that might not be what you want because it sounds like you specifically want insight as opposed to learning in general. Your particular example is problematic because you're inferring far too much on the subjects part. They might prefer B because they just want more of anything offered. The ...


5

Determining sample size for an animal experiment is no different than in research with human subjects. What you need to know is the effect size, the significance level and the power (which is the probability that the test detects a significant effect assuming that there is one). The tricky part is getting the effect size (for an interesting discussion have a ...


5

Like any simple-seeming cognitive sciences question, it is important to start with a series of disclaimers. It might seem like human intelligence or intelligence more generally is an intuitive concept, but once you start to explore your intuition or look at historic definitions of intelligence, you see that intelligence is a very ill-defined and slippery ...


5

It seems that it is still a matter of debate whether animals are capable of mind wandering. For instance, there are a lot of publications about foresight, a future directed instance of mind wandering. Much of it comes from one group, e.g., Suddendorf T, Corballis MC. (2007) The evolution of foresight: What is mental time travel, and is it unique to ...


5

The first question is, what is normal human sexual behavior. The answer to this changes over time. For example, a hundred years ago masturbation was thought to cause physical degeneration and be a sin, today it is perceived as healthy, even recommended. Research shows that adolescent girls who masturbate have more and stronger orgasms as adults. So, if anal ...


4

I think what is happening is a balance of evolutionary cost and resource cost. Evolutionary cost is the amount of "effort" that natural selection spends refining a feature. Effort that could be spent refining other features, such as making it a more efficient swimmer, etc....so it is by no means free. If you can get the same capabilities with less ...


4

We are driven by this need to find answer to our questions. Many questions arise from one's mind by experiencing new events or feelings, or having to sort out a cognitive dissonance. An example of this would be the need for victims to find the guilty. When we can’t immediately gratify our desire to know, we become highly motivated to reach a concrete ...


4

My answer to this question would be pretty straightforward. From a neurobiological standpoint, sex causes the release of various pair-bonding influencing hormones oxytocin, vasopressin and dopamine. These "feel good" hormones promote bonding and basically encourage the couple to stay together. The more the pair have sex, the more these hormones get ...


3

This type of research is fairly new in the animal domain, so I guess it would be difficult to find a review unless you use keywords for specific cognitive functions and a species (e.g. "decision making" AND "rat"). This link is probably of interest: Rats match humans in decision making that involves combining different sensory cues Also note that rats ...


3

Transexuality is a very social (and human) phenomena that's directly a consequence of how we define it as a society and indirectly a consequence of having distinct male/female ideologies. Humans can be born as an ambiguous sex. We have a wide spectrum of hermaphrodites from androgen insensitivity syndrom (i.e. genetically "male" but can be legally "female" ...


3

This is indeed possible, but I haven't seen it done experimentally for reasons other than feasibility. Namely, since the exact same signal controls both arms, the amount of interesting learning to be had is significantly less than if the signal controls only one arm (e.g. tries to learn to pick up a banana with the mech arm whilst his real arm whacks him in ...


3

I believe these two beautiful articles target just what you are looking for: Niv, Y., Joel, D., Meilijson, I., & Ruppin, E. (2008). Adaptive Behavior Evolution of Reinforcement Learning in Uncertain Environments : A Simple Explanation for Complex... doi:10.1177/10597123020101001 Shafir, Reich, Tsur, Erev & Lotem, 2008: Perceptual accuracy and ...


3

Yes! Binocular rivalry has been studied in monkeys (Logothetis & Schall, 1990; Lehky & Maunsell, 1996) and extensively in cats (Fries, Roelfsema, Engel, König, & Singer, 1997; Sengpiel, Blakemore, & Harrad, 1995; Sengpiel, Blakemore, Kind, & Harrad, 1994; Sengpiel, Bonhoeffer, Freeman, & Blakemore, 2001; Varela & Singer, 1987; ...



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