Video: Integrated Learning And Decision Making (part 9)
2023 Author: Molly Page | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 22:49
How do cats make decisions? How, for example, do they choose between food of different nutritional values? How do they determine which victim is easier to catch?
Many of us have seen cats hesitantly standing on the doorstep and twitching their tails, apparently making a decision - to go out for a walk or stay at home. Are they trying to smell if something interesting is happening in the neighborhood, or are they weighing the pros and cons of whether it's worth going out on this chilly morning at all?
In examining how cats make decisions, scientists use object selection problems. In one set of experiments, cats were shown two different wooden cubes and were given a reward if the cat chose a particular cubic. If cats received a reward by choosing only one die, they quickly knew which die to choose. If the cats received a 50:50 reward, they chose each of the cubes the same number of times. If cats received a reward for one of the cubes in 90% of cases, then they chose it constantly in order to get the maximum number of rewards. If the ratio was 60:40, 70:30, or 80:20, the number of dice selected corresponded to the number of awards received. The mechanism is actually very simple: most cats persist in responding to a stimulus, which in the previous attempt,they get food, and switch to another when their expectations are not met.
A cat's life is not just about instinct or choosing one of several options. Cats often have to make decisions based on complex stimuli or a combination of different stimuli. Catch it! to the stimulus "fluffy animal" will not lead to the desired result if the hunter is a domestic cat, and the fluffy animal is a cow (although there are cats that hunt cows). In nature, stimuli are usually complex and include characteristics such as size, shape, brightness, color, movement, sound, and smell. That is, a cat should reason something like this: "a fluffy animal of a suitable size, it can be attacked without a threat to its own life, and it should taste good." This combination of traits arises from the fact that the prey usually has a protective coloration or uses other means to avoid getting into the teeth of the predator. In tests, cats were asked to choose between objects,which differed in only one feature, for example, or color, or shape. How would they react to more complex stimuli?
When conducting experiments to determine which of a pair of traits is more important for cats, three-month-old kittens were asked to choose rectangles that differed in shape and color. First, they were taught to choose a black rectangle that is horizontal. Then they were offered a choice of four pairs of objects. The objects in each pair differ either in color or in shape, but not both at the same time. Cats quickly realized that they were rewarded by choosing a colored, horizontally oriented object. They perceived both signs without making a preference between color and shape. In contrast, experiments show that rats tend to focus on either the color of an object or its shape.
It seems that cats pay more attention to whether the figure is open or closed. They learn to distinguish a circle from a U-shape faster than a circle from a triangle. And cats also take into account the ratio between the area of an object and the number of its sides. When presented with a series of triangles and circles, large and small, black and white, cats understood that it was the shape that mattered most. Regardless of whether cats were trained using pairs of triangles and circles of the same color and size, or using triangles and circles, which in different series of experiments were of different colors and sizes, cats equally quickly understood the importance of shape in choosing an object.
Related article Trial and error and learning through observation (part 10)
Cats can be taught to choose an object of a certain shape, color or size,but can they learn to choose an “unpaired” object - an object different from others? Chimpanzees quickly learn to choose a "unpaired" shape from three objects, two of which are the same. Cats are worse at this task. They spend more time and make more mistakes. Kittens of 5 months of age were taught to choose an “unpaired” object from three proposed ones, for example, 1 triangle and 2 circles were offered. Food was used as a reward. While they were offered the same objects, they chose the "unpaired" triangle. When the objects were changed to 2 triangles and 1 circle, the cats first chose one of the two triangles, but soon began to choose a circle, as they received a reward for this. There were 20 series of experiments, and, in general, the cats understood what a change had occurred, and one cat became a real star in this field. Combinations of a triangle - 2 circles and a circle - 2 triangles were offered in no particular order, and the smart kitty understood that one should choose an “unpaired” object, not an object of a certain shape. This cat has generalized the unpaired rule. Perhaps all the other cats understood the concept of unpaired, but simply did not want to cooperate with the researchers.
So do cats have a mind? Of course, they cannot think in our, human understanding of the word, but they have access to mental processing of the information entering the brain, on the basis of which they make a decision about their further actions
Many living beings, including ourselves, learn through trial and error. They try to do something and they fail. And the next time they come across the same problem, if they are smart enough, they will try a different way of solving it.Experimentally, intellectual abilities of this kind are often determined using various puzzles
Like humans, many older cats suffer from cognitive decline. This syndrome is called senile dementia.In the wild, cats rarely live long enough for this condition to manifest. Such animals simply will not be able to survive - the owners note that old cats are forgetful, can get lost, do not pay attention to potential danger
In the past, psychologists believed that behavior was influenced by the relationship between a stimulus (stimulus) and a response to it. These theories left no room for thought, consciousness, instinct, innate behavior, or a tendency toward a particular pattern of behavior
Initially, psychologists believed that cats, like humans, are born helpless and dependent, and develop the ability to learn with age. However, even “helpless” human babies learn the rules of existence in the physical world around them, and their innate language module acquires language. Num