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Journal of Comparative Psychology
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.925
Citation Impact (citeScore): 2
Number of Followers: 5  
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ISSN (Print) 0735-7036 - ISSN (Online) 1939-2087
Published by APA Homepage  [74 journals]
  • On need, communication, and cooperation in rats (Rattus
    • Abstract: This article introduces the second issue of Volume 132 of the Journal of Comparative Psychology which continues the Featured Article Essays that began in the last issue. The article chosen for this issue is an article by Schweinfurth and Taborsky (2018) on how food-based need affects the communicative and cooperative behavior of Norway rats, Rattus norvegicus. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 10 May 2018 04:00:00 GMT
      Issue No: Vol. 132 (2018)
  • Hand preferences in two unimanual and two bimanual coordinated tasks in
           the black-handed spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi).
    • Abstract: Spider monkeys are interesting to study with regard to hand preferences, as they are one of the few primate species that lack a thumb and, thus, are unable to perform a precision grip. Further, being platyrrhine primates, they also largely lack independent motor control of the digits and, thus, have only limited manual dexterity. It was therefore the aim of the present study to assess hand preferences in black-handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) in 4 tasks differing in task demand: simple unimanual reaching for food and 3 versions of the widely used tube task, including 2 bimanual versions that differ from each other in the degree of fine motor control needed and a unimanual version that does not require coordinated action of the hands. We found that black-handed spider monkeys display significant hand preferences at the individual, but not at the population, level. This was true both in the 2 bimanual coordinated tasks and in the 2 unimanual tasks. Further, our results show that the majority of animals were consistent in the hand they preferred in these 4 tasks. Our findings only partially support the notion that task demand positively correlates with strength of hand preference. Finally, we found that the index finger was the most frequently used digit in all 3 tube tasks, although the animals also used other digits and 2- and 3-finger combinations to extract food from a tube. We conclude that limited manual dexterity does not prevent spider monkeys from displaying strong and consistent hand preferences at the individual level. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 10 May 2018 04:00:00 GMT
  • I scan, therefore I decline: The time course of difficulty monitoring in
           humans (homo sapiens) and macaques (macaca mulatta).
    • Abstract: The study of nonhumans’ metacognitive judgments about trial difficulty has grown into an important comparative literature. However, the potential for associative-learning confounds in this area has left room for behaviorist interpretations that are strongly asserted and hotly debated. This article considers how researchers may be able to observe animals’ strategic cognitive processes more clearly by creating temporally extended problems within which associative cues are not always immediately available. We asked humans and rhesus macaques to commit to completing spatially extended mazes or to decline completing them through a trial-decline response. The mazes could sometimes be completed successfully, but other times had a constriction that blocked completion. A deliberate, systematic scanning process could preevaluate a maze and determine the appropriate response. Latency analyses charted the time course of the evaluative process. Both humans and macaques appeared, from the pattern of their latencies, to scan the mazes through before committing to completing them. Thus monkeys, too, can base trial-decline responses on temporally extended evaluation processes, confirming that those responses have strategic cognitive-processing bases in addition to behavioral-reactive bases. The results also show the value of temporally and spatially extended problems to let researchers study the trajectory of animals’ online cognitive processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Mon, 16 Apr 2018 04:00:00 GMT
  • Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) communicate need, which elicits donation
           of food.
    • Abstract: Reciprocal cooperation has been observed in a wide range of taxa, but the proximate mechanisms underlying the exchange of help are yet unclear. Norway rats reciprocate help received from partners in an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma game. For donors, this involves accepting own costs to the benefit of a partner, without obtaining immediate benefits in return. We studied whether such altruistic acts are conditional on the communication of the recipient’s need. Our results show that in a 2-player mutual food-provisioning task, prospective recipients show a behavioral cascade reflecting increasing intensity. First, prospective receivers reach out for the food themselves, then they emit ultrasonic calls toward their partner, before finally showing noisy attention-grabbing behaviors. Food-deprived individuals communicate need more intensively than satiated ones. In return, donors provide help corresponding to the intensity of the recipients’ communication. This indicates that rats communicate their need, which changes the helping propensity of potential donors. Communication of need and corresponding adjustment of cooperation may be a widespread proximate mechanism explaining the mutual exchange of services between animals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Mon, 12 Mar 2018 04:00:00 GMT
  • Social basis of vocal interactions in western lowland gorillas (Gorilla g.
    • Abstract:
      Authors have raised the possibility of identifying primitive forms of conversational rules in monkeys: temporally ruled vocal interactions, call overlap avoidance, and socially based calling partner preferences. The question as to how these abilities have evolved in the primate lineage remains open to debate, particularly because studies based on apes are scarce and controversial. We studied a captive group of western lowland gorillas and tested the influence of caller characteristics and the type of bond between calling partners on vocal behavior based on the following: age, dominance, spatial proximity, sociopositive contact, and gaze. Four calling patterns that are call type dependent were identified: vocal interaction with and (more frequently) without call overlap, isolated calling, and repeated calling. Adult calls and grunts (contact calls) were predominant during vocal interactions, and the “response” delay was most often around half a second. The frequency of grunt dyadic exchanges was found to be linked to spatial proximity, gaze exchanges, and age proximity between calling partners. The dominance rank of callers determined the rate of contribution to these exchanges. These results show that some apes use rule-governed call exchanges and that these socially guided vocal interactions are more widespread than previously believed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Mon, 12 Mar 2018 04:00:00 GMT
  • Initial evidence for probabilistic reasoning in a grey parrot (Psittacus
    • Abstract: Research has shown that some forms of inferential reasoning are likely widespread throughout the animal kingdom (e.g., exclusion, in which a subject infers the placement of a reward by eliminating potential alternative sites), but other types of inferential tasks have not been extensively tested. We examined whether a nonhuman might succeed in an experiment based on probabilistic reasoning, specifically, the ability to make inferences about a sample based on information about a population. A Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus), previously trained to use English labels referentially to identify objects, observed a human researcher deposit 2 different types of items in a 3:1 ratio (e.g., 3 corks and 1 piece of paper) into an opaque bucket. One item was then randomly withdrawn while hidden from the parrot’s view. When asked to identify the still-hidden object, the parrot’s vocal responses tracked this 3:1 ratio over a large number of trials. Some levels of probabilistic reasoning therefore are not limited to humans, nonhuman primates, or even mammals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Mon, 12 Mar 2018 04:00:00 GMT
  • Emotional state and personality influence cognitive flexibility in horses
           (Equus caballus).
    • Abstract: Emotions are recognized as strong modulators of cognitive capacities. However, studies have mainly focused on the effect of negative emotions, with few investigating positive emotions. Recent studies suggest that traits of personality can modulate the effects of emotion on cognitive performance. This study aimed to assess whether emotional states differing according to their valence influenced the ability to achieve instrumental conditioning and learning flexibility and to determine the influence of personality. After being tested for their personality, 55 mares underwent acquisition and extinction procedures of instrumental conditioning in a box previously associated with negative events (e.g., novel and sudden stimuli; E−), positive events (e.g., food reward; E+), or no particular event (E⁰). This contextual conditioning induced contrasting behavioral and physiological responses during acquisition, indicating that E− horses were in a negative and E+ horses were in a positive emotional state. Although acquisition performance did not differ between groups, E+ horses showed a greater flexibility in the extinction phase of instrumental learning than E− and E⁰ horses. Furthermore, fearless personality was related to better acquisition and increased cognitive flexibility. This study demonstrates that horses were able to undergo contextual conditioning that induced negative or more positive emotional states and that this latter emotional state enhanced cognitive flexibility. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 08 Mar 2018 05:00:00 GMT
  • Use of redundant sets of landmark information by humans (H omo sapiens) in
           a goal-searching task in an open field and on a computer screen.
    • Abstract: Landmark-based goal-searching tasks that were similar to those for pigeons (Ushitani & Jitsumori, 2011) were provided to human participants to investigate whether they could learn and use multiple sources of spatial information that redundantly indicate the position of a hidden target in both an open field (Experiment 1) and on a computer screen (Experiments 2 and 3). During the training in each experiment, participants learned to locate a target in 1 of 25 objects arranged in a 5 × 5 grid, using two differently colored, arrow-shaped (Experiments 1 and 2) or asymmetrically shaped (Experiment 3) landmarks placed adjacent to the goal and pointing to the goal location. The absolute location and directions of the landmarks varied across trials, but the constant configuration of the goal and the landmarks enabled participants to find the goal using both global configural information and local vector information (pointing to the goal by each individual landmark). On subsequent test trials, the direction was changed for one of the landmarks to conflict with the global configural information. Results of Experiment 1 indicated that participants used vector information from a single landmark but not configural information. Further examinations revealed that the use of global (metric) information was enhanced remarkably by goal searching with nonarrow-shaped landmarks on the computer monitor (Experiment 3) but much less so with arrow-shaped landmarks (Experiment 2). The General Discussion focuses on a comparison between humans in the current study and pigeons in the previous study. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 08 Mar 2018 05:00:00 GMT
  • Through their eyes: The influence of social models on attention and memory
           in capuchin monkeys (Sapajus apella).
    • Abstract: The ability to learn socially is of critical importance across a wide variety of species, as it allows knowledge to be passed quickly among individuals without the need of time-consuming trial-and-error learning. Among primates, social learning research has been particularly focused on foraging tasks, including transmission dynamics and the demonstration characteristics that appear to support social learning. Less work has focused on the attentional salience of the information being viewed, especially in New World monkeys. We used a noninvasive eye-tracking paradigm previously used in human infants and great apes to examine the salience of social modeling for memory in capuchin monkeys. Like human infants and apes, capuchins were significantly more likely to remember an event that included a social model as opposed to a nonsocial model. This article provides some of the first evidence that capuchin memory is altered by the presence of a social model and presents a novel method for assessing cognitive capabilities in this species. Whether this “social memory bias” is shared across the primate order, or is present only in taxa that regularly rely on social information, is an important avenue for future research. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Thu, 08 Mar 2018 05:00:00 GMT
  • A ball is not a Kong: Odor representation and search behavior in domestic
           dogs (Canis familiaris) of different education.
    • Abstract: There has been a growing interest in the cognitive skills of domestic dogs, but most current knowledge about dogs’ understanding of their environment is limited to the visual or auditory modality. Although it is well known that dogs have an excellent olfactory sense and that they rely on olfaction heavily when exploring the environment or recognizing individuals, it remains unclear whether dogs perceive odors as representing specific objects. In the current study, we examined this aspect of dogs’ perception of the world. Dogs were presented with a violation-of-expectation paradigm in which they could track the odor trail of one target (Target A), but at the end of the trail, they found another target (Target B). We explored (a) what dogs expect when they smell the trail of an object, (b) how they search for an object, and (c) how their educational background influences their ability to find a hidden object, by comparing family dogs and working dogs that had passed exams for police or rescue dogs. We found that all subjects showed a flexible searching behavior, with the working dogs being more effective but the family dogs learning to be effective over trials. In the first trial, dogs showed measurable signs of “surprise” (i.e., further searching for Target A) when they found Target B, which did not correspond to the odor of Target A from the trail. We conclude that dogs represent what they smell and search flexibly, which is independent from their educational background. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Mon, 05 Mar 2018 05:00:00 GMT
  • Greater effort increases perceived value in an invertebrate.
    • Abstract: Expending effort is generally considered to be undesirable. However, both humans and vertebrates will work for a reward they could also get for free. Moreover, cues associated with high-effort rewards are preferred to low-effort associated cues. Many explanations for these counterintuitive findings have been suggested, including cognitive dissonance (self-justification) or a greater contrast in state (e.g., energy or frustration level) before and after an effort-linked reward. Here, we test whether effort expenditure also increases perceived value in ants, using both classical cue-association methods and pheromone deposition, which correlates with perceived value. In 2 separate experimental setups, we show that pheromone deposition is higher toward the reward that requires more effort: 47% more pheromone deposition was performed for rewards reached via a vertical runway (high effort) compared with ones reached via a horizontal runway (low effort), and deposition rates were 28% higher on rough (high effort) versus smooth (low effort) runways. Using traditional cue-association methods, 63% of ants trained on different surface roughness, and 70% of ants trained on different runway elevations, preferred the high-effort related cues on a Y maze. Finally, pheromone deposition to feeders requiring memorization of one path bifurcation was up to 29% higher than to an identical feeder requiring no learning. Our results suggest that effort affects value perception in ants. This effect may stem from a cognitive process, which monitors the change in a generalized hedonic state before and after reward. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)
      PubDate: Mon, 05 Mar 2018 05:00:00 GMT
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