Tag Archives: intelligence

cat tracks.

Standard

new research shows that cats track their owner’s movements

Cats are special and intelligent creatures, and a new study led by Dr. Saho Takagi at the University of Kyoto in Japan confirms this.

Takagi’s research reveals cats’ ability to track their owners as they move about the house, and show signs of a genuine surprise if their owners pop up where they don’t expect them.

These findings support the idea that cats retain a mental representation of their owners, even if they’re out of sight, which is a sign of higher cognitive processes that can include planning ahead and using imagination.

There have been studies in the past that suggested that cats search in the correct places if they see food disappearing and that they expect to see their owner’s face if they first hear their voice, but how these abilities were practiced in real life still evaded researchers. “It is [also] said that cats are not as interested in their owners as dogs are, but we had doubts about this point,” Takagi explained.

To explore cats’ cognitive capacities, Takagi and his team studied what happened when 50 domestic cats were individually shut inside a room while repeatedly hearing their owner calling their name from outside the room. Then, the cats were exposed to either a stranger’s voice or that of their owner coming from a speaker that was positioned inside the room they were in.

Human observers watched recordings of the cats’ reactions during the experiment and ranked the cats’ level of surprise based on their ear and head movements. It appeared that the cats only showed confusion and surprise when their owners’ voices were suddenly coming from the speaker inside the closed room, implying to the cats that their owners had somehow managed to teleport to get inside the room with them.

“This study shows that cats can mentally map their location based on their owner’s voice,” Takagi explained. “Cats have the ability to picture the invisible in their minds. Cats may have a more profound mind than is thought.”

That said, it’s not too much of a shock that cats possess these abilities. “That awareness of movement—tracking things they cannot see—is critical to a cat’s survival,” said Roger Tabor, a biologist, author, and presenter of the TV series Cats on BBC.

“A lot of what a cat has to interpret in its territory is an awareness of where other cats are. It is also important for hunting: how could a cat catch a field vole moving around beneath the grass if it couldn’t use clues, such as the occasional rustle, to see in its mind’s eye, where they are? A cat’s owner is extremely significant in its life as a source of food and security, so where we are is very important.”

 

“the moment I walk into a room,

i have kind of like the terminator’s tracking system for where the food is,

and i can get there immediately.

-mike birbiglia

 

 

 

Source study: Plos One- Socio-spacial cognition in cats: Mentally mapping owner’s location from voice

swiping left.

Standard

The octopus is one of nature’s smartest and most enigmatic creatures, seemingly able to engage in some of the more complex thought processes in nature while also taking advantage of its unique physical abilities. Recently, some angry cephalopods were discovered to be assaulting fish by striking them with an arm.

Their taste for violence doesn’t end there. A new study demonstrates that when an octopus wants to be left alone, it’s not above tossing the nearest object at the noggin of its target.

Researchers at the University of Sydney published their findings in the science journal bioRxiv, and it’s clear that octopuses have a low tolerance for unwelcome visitors. Observing them off the eastern coast of Australia, scientists witnessed octopuses hurling shells, algae, and other debris at other octopuses in an effort to warn them off.

Octopuses don’t “throw” objects the way a human might. Instead, they use their arms to position the object in front of their siphons, which can produce a jet stream of water that propels the material into their adversary.

This behavior has been observed before, but this new study shed some fresh light on their motivations. The footage obtained via GoPro cameras captured a number of female octopuses throwing shells at would-be male suitors, a kind of swiping left, using blunt force.

In these cases, the males were not always discouraged. One bachelor was hit 10 times but stuck around. Others attempted to dodge the projectiles. Octopuses can toss objects for other reasons. They may, for example, want to clean up their living space by removing clutter. In some cases, that unwanted clutter may also mean a pushy mate.

“you want trouble, you can get trouble” 

s. rotslach

 

 

credits:

Photo- S. Rotslach/Getty Images, Mental Floss/J. Rossen, Science Alert/ M. Starr, University of Sydney/bioRxiv

piaget. (repost-computer still in flux)

Standard

*Jean Piaget (1896-1980) in his office.

Shout out to all those who didn’t tidy their office before the start of the school year.

“simple solutions seldom are. it takes a very unusual mind to undertake analysis of the obvious.”

-alfred north whitehead

*Piaget’s (1936) theory of cognitive development explains how a child constructs a mental model of the world. He disagreed with the idea that intelligence was a fixed trait, and regarded cognitive development as a process which occurs due to biological maturation and interaction with the environment.

credit: modern language association

shhhh….

Standard

this is where it all began

my lifelong love and fascination

with the spy business

in this just-leaked satellite photo from the early 60’s

i was on assignment

and

my cover was

as a seven year old girl

posing casually out front

after a long day spent at the office

i feel quite sure no one suspected.

“i think I would have been a hopeless spy. i love telling stories and am almost entirely unable to keep a secret.”

-ben macintyre