8,055 research outputs found

    Citizen science as a new tool in dog cognition research

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    The work of Á.M. was supported by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA 01 031).Family dogs and dog owners offer a potentially powerful way to conduct citizen science to answer questions about animal behavior that are difficult to answer with more conventional approaches. Here we evaluate the quality of the first data on dog cognition collected by citizen scientists using the Dognition. com website. We conducted analyses to understand if data generated by over 500 citizen scientists replicates internally and in comparison to previously published findings. Half of participants participated for free while the other half paid for access. The website provided each participant a temperament questionnaire and instructions on how to conduct a series of ten cognitive tests. Participation required internet access, a dog and some common household items. Participants could record their responses on any PC, tablet or smartphone from anywhere in the world and data were retained on servers. Results from citizen scientists and their dogs replicated a number of previously described phenomena from conventional lab-based research. There was little evidence that citizen scientists manipulated their results. To illustrate the potential uses of relatively large samples of citizen science data, we then used factor analysis to examine individual differences across the cognitive tasks. The data were best explained by multiple factors in support of the hypothesis that nonhumans, including dogs, can evolve multiple cognitive domains that vary independently. This analysis suggests that in the future, citizen scientists will generate useful datasets that test hypotheses and answer questions as a complement to conventional laboratory techniques used to study dog psychology.Publisher PDFPeer reviewe

    Assumptions in Animal Cognition Research

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    Applied cognition research to improve sheep welfare

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    If a change is going to occur in the care and management of domestic sheep, there needs to be a collaborative effort across many disciplines. This review by Marino & Merskin of the literature on cognitive processing in domestic sheep is limited by the inherent bias of the authors, including the impracticable goal of eliminating sheep production. Animal welfare concerns about the management of commercial sheep are valid; however, in order to make a difference, we need to develop an application for this knowledge about cognitive abilities in sheep

    A lesson from robotics: Modeling infants as autonomous agents

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    While computational models are playing an increasingly important role in developmental psychology, at least one lesson from robotics is still being learned: modeling epigenetic processes often requires simulating an embodied, autonomous organism. This paper first contrasts prevailing models of infant cognition with an agent-based approach. A series of infant studies by Baillargeon (1986; Baillargeon & DeVos, 1991) is described, and an eye-movement model is then used to simulate infants' visual activity in this study. I conclude by describing three behavioral predictions of the eyemovement model, and discussing the implications of this work for infant cognition research

    Visual Expectations in Infants: Evaluating the Gaze-Direction Model

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    Schlesinger (in press) recently proposed a model of eye movements as a tool for investigating infants’ visual expectations. In the present study, this gaze-direction model was evaluated by (a) generating a set of predictions concerning how infants distribute their attention during possible and impossible events, and (b) testing these predictions in a replication of Baillargeon’s "car study" (1986; Baillargeon & DeVos, 1991). We find that the model successfully predicts general features of infants’ gaze direction, but not specific differences obtained during the possible and impossible events. The implications of these results for infant cognition research and theory are discussed

    Past, present and future in exercise-cognition research

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    Early research into the effects of acute exercise on cognition were atheoretical and of poor design. In the 1990s and 2000s, cognitive-energetical theories and the catecholamines hypothesis have been developed as rationales for effects of acute exercise on cognition. It was claimed that acute exercise was a stressor and as such would affect cognition in an inverted-U manner, the same as other stressors. However, the inverted-U effect was rarely supported. Later research has somewhat consistently shown that moderate intensity, short to moderate duration exercise induces improved cognitive performance. However, the effects of heavy exercise and long-duration, moderate intensity exercise treatments remain somewhat equivocal, except for autonomous tasks which are facilitated. Recent research suggests that undertaking exercise, while simultaneously carrying out a motor task, is more beneficial than simply exercising before undertaking the cognitive tasks. Research examining the effect of chronic exercise on cognition was also originally atheoretical and poorly designed. Improved research designs have led to some consistency in findings and the evidence for chronic exercise having a facilitative effect on cognition is fairly consistent but only a small to moderate improvement has been demonstrated. Human studies provide a prima facie case for brain derived neurotrophic factor being a mediator in the chronic exercise-cognition interaction and evidence from animal studies strongly supports this. Recent work provides support for claims that exercise, while simultaneously undertaking a motor task, is more beneficial than simply exercising

    A Precise Dispenser Design for Canine Cognition Research

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    Some forms of canine cognition research require a dispenser that can accurately dispense precise quantities of treats. When using off-the-shelf or retrofitted dispensers, there is no guarantee that a precise number of treats will be dispensed. Often, they will over-dispense treats, which may not be acceptable for some tasks. Here we describe a 3D-printed precise treat dispenser with a 59-treat capacity driven by a stepper motor drive and controlled by an integrated Raspberry Pi. The dispenser can be built for less than 200 USD and is fully 3D printable. While off-the-shelf dispensers can result in an error rate of 20–30%, the precision dispenser produces a 4% error rate. This lower error rate and the integrated Raspberry Pi allows for new possibilities for using treat dispensers across a range of canine research questions

    Establishing an infrastructure for collaboration in primate cognition research

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    Inferring the evolutionary history of cognitive abilities requires large and diverse samples. However, such samples are often beyond the reach of individual researchers or institutions, and studies are often limited to small numbers of species. Consequently, methodological and site-specific-differences across studies can limit comparisons between species. Here we introduce the ManyPrimates project, which addresses these challenges by providing a large-scale collaborative framework for comparative studies in primate cognition. To demonstrate the viability of the project we conducted a case study of short-term memory. In this initial study, we were able to include 176 individuals from 12 primate species housed at 11 sites across Africa, Asia, North America and Europe. All subjects were tested in a delayed-response task using consistent methodology across sites. Individuals could access food rewards by remembering the position of the hidden reward after a 0, 15, or 30-second delay. Overall, individuals performed better with shorter delays, as predicted by previous studies. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a strong phylogenetic signal for short-term memory. Although, with only 12 species, the validity of this analysis is limited, our initial results demonstrate the feasibility of a large, collaborative open-science project. We present the ManyPrimates project as an exciting opportunity to address open questions in primate cognition and behaviour with large, diverse datasets

    Towards Industrialized Conception and Production of Serious Games

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    Serious Games (SGs) have experienced a tremendous outburst these last years. Video game companies have been producing fun, user-friendly SGs, but their educational value has yet to be proven. Meanwhile, cognition research scientist have been developing SGs in such a way as to guarantee an educational gain, but the fun and attractive characteristics featured often would not meet the public's expectations. The ideal SG must combine these two aspects while still being economically viable. In this article, we propose a production chain model to efficiently conceive and produce SGs that are certified for their educational gain and fun qualities. Each step of this chain will be described along with the human actors, the tools and the documents that intervene

    Lower body design of the ‘iCub’ a human-baby like crawling robot

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    The development of robotic cognition and a greater understanding of human cognition form two of the current greatest challenges of science. Within the RobotCub project the goal is the development of an embodied robotic child (iCub) with the physical and ultimately cognitive abilities of a 2frac12 year old human baby. The ultimate goal of this project is to provide the cognition research community with an open human like platform for understanding of cognitive systems through the study of cognitive development. In this paper the design of the mechanisms adopted for lower body and particularly for the leg and the waist are outlined. This is accompanied by discussion on the actuator group realisation in order to meet the torque requirements while achieving the dimensional and weight specifications. Estimated performance measures of the iCub are presented
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