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See detailAiding Reflective Navigation in a Dynamic Information Landscape: A Challenge for Educational Psychology
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Han, Areum UL; Hausen, Jennifer UL et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2022)

Open access to information is now a universal phenomenon thanks to rapid technological developments across the globe. This open and universal access to information is a key value of democratic societies ... [more ▼]

Open access to information is now a universal phenomenon thanks to rapid technological developments across the globe. This open and universal access to information is a key value of democratic societies because, in principle, it supports well-informed decision-making on individual, local, and global matters. In practice, however, without appropriate readiness for navigation in a dynamic information landscape, such access to information can become a threat to public health, safety, and economy, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown. In the past, this readiness was often conceptualized in terms of adequate literacy levels, but the contemporarily observed highest-ever literacy levels have not immunized our societies against the risks of misinformation. Therefore, in this Perspective, we argue that democratisation of access to information endows citizens with new responsibilities, and second, these responsibilities demand readiness that cannot be reduced to mere literacy levels. In fact, this readiness builds on individual adequate literacy skills, but also requires rational thinking and awareness of own information processing. We gather evidence from developmental, educational, and cognitive psychology to show how these aspects of readiness could be improved through education interventions, and how they may be related to healthy work-home balance and self-efficacy. All these components of education are critical to responsible global citizenship and will determine the future direction of our societies. [less ▲]

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See detailGeneralizing Solutions Across Functionally Similar Problems Correlates with World Knowledge and Working Memory in 2.5- to 4.5-Year-Olds
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Sahlström, Johan; Thorstensson, Klara et al

in Cognitive Development (2022)

Analogical transfer, denoting the ability to use an action that solved a given problem in order to successfully handle a seemingly different but functionally similar problem, requires well-developed self ... [more ▼]

Analogical transfer, denoting the ability to use an action that solved a given problem in order to successfully handle a seemingly different but functionally similar problem, requires well-developed self-regulation, as it draws on previous knowledge and demands selecting and shifting between relevant features while ignoring irrelevant ones. Thus, analogical transfer involves executive functions (EFs), yet the contribution of specific EFs is unclear, particularly during the development of the capacity before the age of 5. Here, for the first time, we investigated the contribution of world knowledge, working memory and set-shifting in 2.5- to 4.5-year-olds’ (N = 86) capacity to single-event analogical transfer in a simple, non-verbal, tool-use task. Analogical transfer was independent of age but was predicted by a measure of world knowledge and a measure of working memory across the age-span tested. Our results suggest that world knowledge and working memory underscore analogical transfer early in development. [less ▲]

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See detailExecutive functions in birds
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Greiff, Samuel UL

in Birds (2022)

Executive functions comprise of top-down cognitive processes that exert control over information processing, from acquiring information to issuing a behavioral response. These cogni- tive processes of ... [more ▼]

Executive functions comprise of top-down cognitive processes that exert control over information processing, from acquiring information to issuing a behavioral response. These cogni- tive processes of inhibition, working memory, and cognitive flexibility underpin complex cognitive skills, such as episodic memory and planning, which have been repeatedly investigated in several bird species in recent decades. Until recently, avian executive functions were studied in relatively few bird species but have gained traction in comparative cognitive research following MacLean and colleagues’ large-scale study from 2014. Therefore, in this review paper, the relevant previous findings are collected and organized to facilitate further investigations of these core cognitive processes in birds. This review can assist in integrating findings from avian and mammalian cognitive research and further the current understanding of executive functions’ significance and evolution. [less ▲]

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See detailSpotlight on Preschoolers: Early Flexibility in Problem Solving
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL

Presentation (2021, November 18)

In this paper, a novel theoretical framework is proposed to organize and integrate previous empirical findings on early development of analogical transfer. Transferring knowledge across situations is a ... [more ▼]

In this paper, a novel theoretical framework is proposed to organize and integrate previous empirical findings on early development of analogical transfer. Transferring knowledge across situations is a pivotal skill in dynamically changing environments that humans inhabit and shape. This ability drives human problem solving and innovativeness, as it allows for generalizing knowledge acquired in familiar, past solutions to any unfamiliar, present situation. The ability to detect common functional features and disregard other, functionally irrelevant information begins to develop in the first year of life, and markedly improves in toddlerhood and the preschool years. Although the ability to transfer knowledge across situations has been repeatedly investigated in toddlers and preschoolers over the last decades, these investigations lacked a unifying framework, obscuring the developmental timing of flexible problem solving. In this paper, a unifying framework is proposed and discussed in relation to previous findings, gaps in current state of knowledge and implications for concrete educational interventions. This framework builds on a distinction between “simple” and “complex” transfers. Although all generalization tasks require prioritizing relevant information over irrelevant information, the irrelevant information may play two different roles in transferring knowledge, namely, a distracting or a misleading one. Distracting information was consistently irrelevant under similar past circumstances and remains irrelevant in the present. Misleading information was relevant under similar past circumstances but is now irrelevant and therefore competes with the truly relevant information. Previous research suggests that the ability to disregard misleading information is more difficult, draws differently on executive functions and most likely develops later than the ability to disregard distracting information. The current paper furthers current understanding of how early the abilities critical to human behavioural flexibility develop. In the era of individual engagement in politics and social media, the ability to disregard misleading information is perhaps more important than ever before. Furthermore, focusing on individual problem-solving flexibility, promoted in the current project, has implications for changes in assessment of child’s achievement and progress in the schooling system. Since accumulating information is somewhat prioritized over operating on such information, continuity between problem solving at the preschool level and critical thinking in adolescence may not be secured. There is also little space for assessment of individual, not standardized development. Shifting the current emphasis toward individual flexibility could, at least to some extent, hinder grouping children into performing below, on and above average and promote focusing on individual course of development, both in typically and atypically developing children. [less ▲]

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See detailAnalogical Transfer despite Misleading Information in 2.5-5.5-year-olds
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL

Presentation (2021, November 11)

Analogical transfer is a pivotal skill early in life and has been repeatedly investigated by developmental psychologists. Recently, it was shown that already 2.5-year-olds are capable of such transfers ... [more ▼]

Analogical transfer is a pivotal skill early in life and has been repeatedly investigated by developmental psychologists. Recently, it was shown that already 2.5-year-olds are capable of such transfers, even with a 24-hour delay between two analogical situations [1; cf. 2, 3]. This ability, however, is poorly reflected in early curricula, failing to build upon early problem- solving flexibility. In this study, analogical transfer of relevant information despite irrelevant, distracting or misleading information is investigated in 2.5- to 5.5-year-olds. Children participate in a play session at day-care facilities and preschools, where they attempt to transfer relevant tool-use knowledge across two analogical problems despite a distracting or a misleading problem solved in between. Preliminary results suggest that 2.5-to-5.5-year-olds are capable of discarding both distracting and misleading information in analogical transfers. Further data collection should show whether this ability correlates with general intelligence, executive function, and bi-/multilingualism. [less ▲]

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See detailAnimal Law: Why do we need to work across disciplines?
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL

Presentation (2021, July 08)

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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 detailFlexibility in Problem Solving: Analogical Transfer of Tool Use in Toddlers Is Immune to Delay
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Lindström, Felicia; Lindblom Lovén, Marcus et al

in Frontiers in Psychology (2020)

Solving problems that are perceptually dissimilar but require similar solutions is a key skill in everyday life. In adults, this ability, termed analogical transfer, draws on memories of relevant past ... [more ▼]

Solving problems that are perceptually dissimilar but require similar solutions is a key skill in everyday life. In adults, this ability, termed analogical transfer, draws on memories of relevant past experiences that partially overlap with the present task at hand. Thanks to this support from long-term memory, analogical transfer allows remarkable behavioral flexibility beyond immediate situations. However, little is known about the interaction between long-term memory and analogical transfer in development as, to date, they have been studied separately. Here, for the first time, effects of age and memory on analogical transfer were investigated in 2-to-4.5-olds in a simple tool-use setup. Children attempted to solve a puzzle box after training the correct solution on a different looking box, either right before the test or 24 hours earlier. We found that children (N = 105) could transfer the solution regardless of the delay and a perceptual conflict introduced in the tool set. For children who failed to transfer (N = 54) and repeated the test without a perceptual conflict, the odds of success did not improve. Our findings suggest that training promoted the detection of functional similarities between boxes and, thereby, flexible transfer both in the short and the long term. [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 detailMemory for Problem Solving: Comparative Studies in Attention, Working and Long-term Memory
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL

Doctoral thesis (2019)

Living in a complex and dynamically changing environment requires accurate and timely behavioural responses that allow for adapting to such changes. Well-developed perceptual systems provide a continuous ... [more ▼]

Living in a complex and dynamically changing environment requires accurate and timely behavioural responses that allow for adapting to such changes. Well-developed perceptual systems provide a continuous flow of abundant and up-to-date information on the changes in the environment, and, thereby, allow for tailoring behavioural responses accordingly. However, issuing any behavioral response would not be possible, if it was not for information processing capacities that link one’s perception and action. Because the information processing capacities of humans and non-human animals are always limited, the available information must be sorted, selected and prioritised at all steps of information processing. The steps of information processing have different names, corresponding to their function. The processes, that support attending to and acquiring the information, belong to attention. The processes, that support working on the acquired input from the environment and comparing it with the information acquired in the past, belong to working memory. And finally, the processes, that supply and update the information acquired in the past for the use in the long term, belong to long-term memory. Attention, working and long-term memory work in concert to harness the flow of information, and to support rapid and flexible adaptation to the changes in the environment. This thesis comprises four empirical papers, in which some aspects of attention, working and long-term memory are compared across five species: the common raven (Corvus corax), the Goffin’s cockatoo (Cacatua goffiniana), the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii), the common chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and the human (Homo sapiens sapiens). In the first two studies, chimpanzees, an orangutan, and Goffin’s cockatoos are tested in a novel experimental setup that allows for measuring long-term memory flexibility. Arguably, such flexibility allows for drawing on overlapping past experiences to solve novel problems, even when these experiences conflict with one another. The results suggest that great apes and at least some Goffin’s cockatoos can overcome such conflicts and rely on less salient yet relevant rather than more salient yet irrelevant features of overlapping experiences. In the third study, ravens and humans are tested in a series of novel working memory tasks, completed individually or with a competing partner. Ravens perform better in the social than in the individual tasks, while the opposite is true for humans. Interestingly, ravens seem to handle the increasing difficulty of the task by keeping a steady success rate, perhaps revealing a flexible adaptation to varying demands on working memory in ecological conditions. In the fourth and final study, ravens and humans are tested in another experimental setup, which requires attending to a series of objects. Ravens’ gazes to the objects are half as short as humans’, suggesting a higher speed of perception, and perhaps of cognitive processing. [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 detailAltered video task: a non-verbal measure of what-who-where recall in young children
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Haman, Maciej

in Behaviour and Information Technology (2017)

This report aims to introduce, test and discuss a new method of measuring episodic memory in participants with highly restricted verbal abilities. Although an elicited/deferred imitation paradigm has ... [more ▼]

This report aims to introduce, test and discuss a new method of measuring episodic memory in participants with highly restricted verbal abilities. Although an elicited/deferred imitation paradigm has already proposed a successful method of measuring this capacity in infants as young as 6 months old [Bauer, Patricia J. 2006. “Constructing a Past in Infancy: A Neuro-Developmental Account.” Trends in Cognitive Sciences 10 (4): 175–181], it failed to include a measure of capacities crucial for episodic recall, that is: a sense of self, a sense of subjective time and autonoetic consciousness [Tulving, Endel. 2002. “Episodic Memory: From Mind to Brain.” Annual Reviews Psychology 53: 1–25]. We combined developmental and comparative approaches in the altered video task to allow for simultaneous measuring of episodic recall and autonoetic consciousness. Episodic recall was measured via presentation of non-modified and modified recordings of a personal past event after a 24-h delay. The 15-month-old infants were expected to watch the modified video significantly longer than the non-modified video, and so evince the differentiation between them. Alongside, the infants participated in a mirror-mark task (a standard measure of self-recognition) and in a real-time video task (a possible alternative for the mirror-mark task). Results for ‘what’ and ‘who’ were consistent with our expectations. All results, their implications and possible future directions are discussed. [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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See detailAltered video task in 15-month-olds: how to bridge the gap between Tulving’s definition and current methods?
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Haman, Maciej; Bobrowicz, Ryszard

in ICOM 6 program (2016, July)

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See detailAltered Video Task: A Promising Alternative for Elicited/deferred Imitation Task in Young Children
Bobrowicz, Katarzyna UL; Haman, Maciej; Bobrowicz, Ryszard

in Spink, Andrew; Riedel, Gernot; Zhou, Liting (Eds.) et al Proceedings of Measuring Behavior 2016 (2016, May)

The method presented in this paper is invented to address the problem of episodic memory in participants with highly restricted verbal abilities, 15-month-olds in this case. Here, we refer to episodic ... [more ▼]

The method presented in this paper is invented to address the problem of episodic memory in participants with highly restricted verbal abilities, 15-month-olds in this case. Here, we refer to episodic memory defined as a mind/brain system with three main responsibilities: to encode, to store and to recall individual memories. Episodic memory system requires three additional capacities, which make it uniquely human: a sense of self, a sense of subjective time, and autonoetic awareness [26]. Such approach is currently predominant both in developmental psychology and in cognitive zoology research. With a focus on developmental studies, we introduce a method, which aims to pair a measure of episodic memory and a measure of self-awareness. Episodic recall is measured via presentation of an original and a modified recording of a personal past event after a delay. The participant is expected to watch the unfamiliar video significantly longer than the familiar video, and so evince the differentiation between them. Alongside, the participant takes part in a mirror-mark task (a standard measure of self-recognition) and also in a real-time video task (a possible alternative for the mirror-mark task). Measuring of the recall is based on “what”-“who”-“where” aspects of the past event. Three modified videos are generated from the original one, and the modifications refer to: 1. a toy (“what”), 2. an experimenter (“who”) and 3. a setting (“where”). That is why this method also derives from cognitive zoology studies, where episodic memory is measured via behavioural signs of remembering “what”, “where” and “when” happened [9]. The “who” aspect is a common addition in case of highly social animals [23][24][25]. The most typical method of measuring episodic recall in human children, even as young as 6-month-olds [2, p. 175] is elicited/deferred imitation task. However, it does not involve measuring of any of the “uniquely human” capacities and can be only applied to these organisms, which can readily imitate human experimenter’s actions. Further, we also elaborate on the above-mentioned issues. We also discuss the results and possible improvements of the method implementation, for we actually tested it with a group of 15-month-olds. The results were statistically significant for the “who” and “what” aspects, but remained insignificant for the aspect of “where”. [less ▲]

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