References of "Osvath, Mathias"
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See detailGoffin's Cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana) Can Solve a Novel Problem After Conflicting Past Experiences
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; O'Hara, Mark; Carminito, Chelsea et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2021)

Novel problems often partially overlap with familiar ones. Some features match the qualities of previous situations stored in long-term memory and therefore trigger their retrieval. Using relevant, while ... [more ▼]

Novel problems often partially overlap with familiar ones. Some features match the qualities of previous situations stored in long-term memory and therefore trigger their retrieval. Using relevant, while inhibiting irrelevant, memories to solve novel problems is a hallmark of behavioral flexibility in humans and has recently been demonstrated in great apes. This capacity has been proposed to promote technical innovativeness and thus warrants investigations of such a mechanism in other innovative species. Here, we show that proficient tool—users among Goffin's cockatoos—an innovative tool—using species—could use a relevant previous experience to solve a novel, partially overlapping problem, even despite a conflicting, potentially misleading, experience. This suggests that selecting relevant experiences over irrelevant experiences guides problem solving at least in some Goffin's cockatoos. Our result supports the hypothesis that flexible memory functions may promote technical innovations. [less ▲]

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See detailGreat apes selectively retrieve relevant memories to guide action
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Johansson, Mikael; Osvath, Mathias

in Scientific Reports (2020)

Memory allows us to draw on past experiences to inform behaviour in the present. However, memories rarely match the situation at hand exactly, and new situations regularly trigger multiple related ... [more ▼]

Memory allows us to draw on past experiences to inform behaviour in the present. However, memories rarely match the situation at hand exactly, and new situations regularly trigger multiple related memories where only some are relevant to act upon. The flexibility of human memory systems is largely attributed to the ability to disregard irrelevant, but salient, memories in favour of relevant ones. This is considered an expression of an executive function responsible for suppressing irrelevant memories, associated with the prefrontal cortex. It is unclear to what extent animals have access to this ability. Here, we demonstrate, in a series of tool-use tasks designed to evoke conflicting memories, that chimpanzees and an orangutan suffer from this conflict but overcome it in favour of a more relevant memory. Such mnemonic flexibility is among the most advanced expressions of executive function shown in animals to date and might explain several behaviours related to tool-use, innovation, planning and more. [less ▲]

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See detailSocial context hinders humans but not ravens in a short-term memory task
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Osvath, Mathias

in Ethology (2019)

Using resources shared within a social group—either in a cooperative or a competitive way—requires keeping track of own and others’ actions, which, in turn, requires well-developed short-term memory ... [more ▼]

Using resources shared within a social group—either in a cooperative or a competitive way—requires keeping track of own and others’ actions, which, in turn, requires well-developed short-term memory. Although short-term memory has been tested in social mammal species, little is known about this capacity in highly social birds, such as ravens. We compared ravens (Corvus corax) with humans in spatial tasks based on caching, which required short-term memory of one's own and of others’ actions. Human short-term memory has been most extensively tested of all social mammal species, hence providing an informative benchmark for the ravens. A recent study on another corvid species (Corvus corone) suggests their capacity to be similar to the humans’, but short-term memory skills have, to date, not been compared in a social setting. We used spatial setups based on caches of foods or objects, divided into individual and social conditions with two different spatial arrangements of caches (in a row or a 3 × 3 matrix). In each trial, a set of three up to nine caches was presented to an individual that was thereafter allowed to retrieve all items. Humans performed better on average across trials, but their performance dropped, when they had to keep track of partner's actions. This differed in ravens, as keeping track of such actions did not impair their performance. However, both humans and ravens demonstrated more memory-related mistakes in the social than in the individual conditions. Therefore, whereas both the ravens’ and the humans’ memory suffered in the social conditions, the ravens seemed to deal better with the demands of these conditions. The social conditions had a competitive element, and one might speculate that ravens’ memory strategies are more attuned to such situations, in particular in caching contexts, than is the case for humans. [less ▲]

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See detailCognition in the fast lane: ravens’ gazes are half as short as humans’ when choosing objects
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Osvath, Mathias

in Animal Behavior and Cognition (2019)

Time cannot be directly perceived; instead, its flow is inferred from the influx of sensory information. To prevent sensory overload, attentional mechanisms split up information into processable units ... [more ▼]

Time cannot be directly perceived; instead, its flow is inferred from the influx of sensory information. To prevent sensory overload, attentional mechanisms split up information into processable units. This portioning remains imperceptible to the individual. However, the length of these units still influences the speed of perception and the speed at which behaviors are performed. Previous studies have focused on establishing the length of these units in various mammalian species – mainly humans – by measuring different types of behaviors, including gaze. However, no such studies have been conducted on birds. We measured duration of ravens’ (Corvus corax) single gazes towards selectable objects before a choice was made, and compared it with humans in a similar set up. The raven gaze durations were approximately half those of humans (which fell slightly short of previously established ranges). We hypothesize that these differences are mainly due to the much higher so-called flicker-fusion-frequency in birds, which makes their vision faster in the sense that it picks up more information per time unit than mammalian vision does. We further discuss that the speed of perception might influence the general speed of cognitive processing in more complex tasks as well, and suggest that the addition of a temporal component in comparative cognitive studies might be informative. [less ▲]

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See detailCats Parallel Great Apes and Corvids in Motor Self-Regulation – Not Brain but Material Size Matters
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Osvath, Mathias

in Frontiers in Psychology (2018)

The inhibition of unproductive motor movements is regarded as a fundamental cognitive mechanism. Recently it has been shown that species with large absolute brain size or high numbers of pallial neurons ... [more ▼]

The inhibition of unproductive motor movements is regarded as a fundamental cognitive mechanism. Recently it has been shown that species with large absolute brain size or high numbers of pallial neurons, like great apes and corvids, show the highest performance on a task purportedly measuring this mechanism: the cylinder task. In this task the subject must detour a perpendicularly oriented transparent cylinder to reach a reward through a side opening, instead of directly reaching for it and bumping into the front, which is regarded as an inhibitory failure. Here we test domestic cats, for the first time, and show that they can reach the same levels as great apes and corvids on this task, despite having much smaller brains. We tested subjects with apparatuses that varied in size (cylinder length and diameter) and material (glass or plastic), and found that subjects performed best on the large cylinders. As numbers of successes decreased significantly when the cylinders were smaller, we conducted additionally two experiments to discern which properties (length of the transparent surface, goal distance from the surface, size of the side opening) affects performance. We conclude that sensorimotor requirements, which differ between species, may have large impact on the results in such seemingly simple and apparently comparable tests. However, we also conclude that cats have comparably high levels of motor self-regulation, despite the differences between tests. [less ▲]

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See detailThe detour paradigm in animal cognition
Kabadayi, Can; Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Osvath, Mathias

in Animal Cognition (2018)

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 ... [more ▼]

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 learning, inhibitory control and route planning. Due to the relative ease of administrating detour tasks, the paradigm has lately been used in large-scale comparative studies in order to investigate the evolution of inhibitory control. Here we review the detour paradigm and some of its cognitive requirements, we identify various ecological and contextual factors that might affect detour performance, we also discuss developmental and neurological underpinnings of detour behaviors, and we suggest some methodological approaches to make species comparisons more robust. [less ▲]

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See detailCylinder size affects cat performance in the motor self-regulation task
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Osvath, Mathias

in Applied ethology 2017 (2017, August)

We tested domestic cats in the so-called cylinder task, and found that they perform better if the cylinder is larger. We also found that their highest performance parallels that of great apes and corvids ... [more ▼]

We tested domestic cats in the so-called cylinder task, and found that they perform better if the cylinder is larger. We also found that their highest performance parallels that of great apes and corvids, which are known as the best performing animals on this task. The cylinder task is used to test animals’ motor self-regulation: the inhibition of unproductive, but prepotent, movements in favour of productive movements that require a slight detour. Recently a large- scale study tested 36 species on this task and found that absolute brain size correlate with the performance; with great apes as top performers. Another study showed that corvids perform as good as great apes despite having smaller absolute brain size. We questioned whether average brained animals has as poor motor self-regulation as suggested, as it appears highly maladaptive; instead the results could be a reflection of the sensorimotor set-up of different species in relation to the materials used. No cats has yet been tested on the task. As ambush and sneak hunters, cats would arguably have high levels of motor self-regulation, but on the other hand their brain size and neuronal numbers are not above average in mammals. Eight adult domestic cats were tested in four versions of the task. We manipulated the size and materials to test whether that influenced performance: two large cylinders (16 cm diameter) out of glass and plastic respectively, and two small cylinders (9 cm diameter) of the same two materials. Each of the four conditions had two phases with a 24-hour delay in between. Each phase consisted of 10 consecutive trials. On the first day, a subject learned to retrieve a reward from an opaque cylinder. Next day, the cat was tested on a transparent cylinder. A retrieval of the reward without touching the cylinder’s front counted as a successful trial. The success rate differed between conditions, and reached 98.75% in the ‘big glass’ condition, and 97.5% in the ‘big plastic’ condition, and 83.75% in the ‘small glass’, and finally 73.75% in the ‘small plastic’ condition. Two-Factor ANOVA for two within variables revealed a significant main effect of the cylinder size on the success rate [F(1,7)=64.06, P<0.001]. Neither a main effect of the material nor an interaction effect of size and material was statistically significant. The size effect was seen in all subjects. Failure rates did not decrease over time in any condition, so no learning curve was detected. Our results show that cats parallel great apes and corvids in the cylinder task as long as it is 16 cm in diameter and made of glass, despite their average mammalian neural characteristics. There are several possible explanations such as that a bigger size allows for more options of retrieval (e.g. mouth or paw), and/or requires less precise retrieval; it could also be that the distance to the reward is perceived as different. This calls into question whether the large-scale study took into account the sensorimotor architecture of each species, and more importantly, whether the task always measures motor self-regulation. [less ▲]

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See detailCats parallel great apes and corvids in motor self-regulation, but size matters
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Osvath, Mathias

Poster (2017)

We tested domestic cats in the cylinder task, and found that they perform better ifthe cylinder is larger. We also found that their highest performance parallels that ofgreat apes and corvids, which are ... [more ▼]

We tested domestic cats in the cylinder task, and found that they perform better ifthe cylinder is larger. We also found that their highest performance parallels that ofgreat apes and corvids, which are known as the best performing animals on this task.The cylinder task is used to test animals’ motor self-regulation. Recently a large-scalestudy tested 36 species on the task and found that absolute brain size correlatedwith the performance; with great apes as top performers. Another study showedthat corvids perform as good as great apes despite having smaller absolute brainsize. We questioned whether average brained animals have as poor motor self-regulation as suggested, as it appears highly maladaptive; instead the results couldbe a reflection of the sensorimotor set-up of different species in relation to thematerials used. No cats have been tested on the task before.Eight adult domestic cats participated in four versions of the task. We manipulatedthe size and materials, with two large (18.5 cm diameter) and two small (9.5 cmdiameter) cylinders, out of glass and plastic respectively. Each condition comprisedof two phases. First, a subject learned to retrieve a reward from an opaque cylinder(5 trials), and after a 24-hour delay was tested on a transparent cylinder (10 trials). Aretrieval of the reward without touching the cylinder’s front counted as a successfultrial.The success rate differed between conditions, and was highest (98,75) for the “smallplastic” condition. There was a significant main effect of the cylinder size on thesuccess rate [F(1,7)=64.06, p <0.001]. We discuss these results, as they call intoquestion whether the large-scale study took into account the sensorimotor architecture of each species, and more importantly, whether the task alwaysmeasures motor self-regulation. [less ▲]

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See detailAffective forecasting in an orangutan: predicting the hedonic outcome of novel juice mixes
Sauciuc, Gabriela-Alina; Persson, Tomas; Baath, Rasmus et al

in Animal Cognition (2016)

Affective forecasting is an ability that allows the prediction of the hedonic outcome of never-before experienced situations, by mentally recombining elements of prior experiences into possible scenarios ... [more ▼]

Affective forecasting is an ability that allows the prediction of the hedonic outcome of never-before experienced situations, by mentally recombining elements of prior experiences into possible scenarios, and pre-experiencing what these might feel like. It has been hypothesised that this ability is uniquely human. For example, given prior experience with the ingredients, but in the absence of direct experience with the mixture, only humans are said to be able to predict that lemonade tastes better with sugar than without it. Non-human animals, on the other hand, are claimed to be confined to predicting—exclusively and inflexibly—the outcome of previously experienced situations. Relying on gustatory stimuli, we devised a non-verbal method for assessing affective forecasting and tested comparatively one Sumatran orangutan and ten human participants. Administered as binary choices, the test required the participants to mentally construct novel juice blends from familiar ingredients and to make hedonic predictions concerning the ensuing mixes. The orangutan’s performance was within the range of that shown by the humans. Both species made consistent choices that reflected independently measured taste preferences for the stimuli. Statistical models fitted to the data confirmed the predictive accuracy of such a relationship. The orangutan, just like humans, thus seems to have been able to make hedonic predictions concerning never-before experienced events. [less ▲]

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