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Video: The Space-time Continuum Of The Cat (part 6)
In the brain of animals and humans, there are specialized modules that are responsible for performing specific tasks. For example, those species of animals that store for the winter have phenomenal spatial memory (and, accordingly, a large hippocampus - the part of the brain where memories are stored). London taxi drivers who need to remember a lot of routes and streets also have a relatively large hippocampus. People have a highly developed language module - young children can master a language with all its grammar just by listening to speech. Border Collies instinctively graze any object. When people try to evaluate an animal's intelligence, they often ignore innate abilities as having nothing to do with intelligence. However, instincts can require tremendous mental exertion.
Cats have a highly developed hunting instinct. Even when playing with toys, other cats or their owner, they demonstrate the skills of a natural hunter. What is hunting? This is the ability to track down prey, catch up with it and grab it. That is, the cat must know where a potential victim can be found, must catch up with it and thus coordinate the movements of its paws and jaws in order to grab it with lightning speed. All felines are constantly honing these skills. The hunting instinct is in the cat's brain.In a cat that has never hunted itself, the urge to catch up and grab prey can be stimulated by stimulating a certain part of the brain with an electrode implanted in it (like that poor robot cat described by Fernand Mary). Even if the cat is not hungry, it still responds to stimuli, no matter if it is electrodes or the sound and type of prey. In the wild, a cat cannot afford to miss the chance to catch its prey.
Many cat owners have watched their pets watch wildlife on TV. Most cats quickly categorize the TV in the same category as the window - the animal can be seen and heard, but cannot be reached.After looking behind the TV several times and examining the speakers, they realize that animals are sitting inside this box. After that, they do not bother hunting for an animal running away on TV, or at least they do not hope to catch anything, even if they try - because if you are a cat, it will not hurt you to be absolutely sure that there is no wildebeest hiding behind the TV like times of such size that it is convenient to eat with it. Interestingly, cats perceive the image of wildebeest on TV as potential prey. The secret is in the movement of this animal. Cats understand the difference between the movement of a living thing, such as a mouse or wildebeest on TV, and the movement of inanimate objects, such as a falling leaf or a rolling ball. In one experiment, cats were shown moving images on two computer screens.One of them consisted of 14 points and represented the outline of a walking or running cat. On the other screen, 14 points were simply moving randomly. The cat has always distinguished the movement of an animal (an animal is a potential prey) from the boring random movement of points. However, if the image of a running animal was turned upside down, the cat could no longer distinguish it from chaotic points. For a cat, an animal running upside down is nonsense. Unlike cats, modern artificial intelligence programs find it difficult to recognize a moving animal at points, even if it is located in the usual way.However, if the image of a running animal was turned upside down, the cat could no longer distinguish it from chaotic points. For a cat, an animal running upside down is nonsense. Unlike cats, modern artificial intelligence programs find it difficult to recognize a moving animal at points, even if it is located in the usual way.However, if the image of a running animal was turned upside down, the cat could no longer distinguish it from chaotic points. For a cat, an animal running upside down is nonsense. Unlike cats, modern artificial intelligence programs find it difficult to recognize a moving animal at points, even if it is located in the usual way.
The feline's famous instinct for landing on all four legs is known as the straightening reflex. During the experiments, small kittens were thrown from a height of 40 cm onto a soft surface. At the age of 1 month, kittens do not yet know how to control their bodies. This ability develops over the next 2 weeks and by one and a half months the kittens are constantly falling on their paws. While this is an inborn instinct, it needs constant training and is honed when curious kittens fall from tree branches or from the upper shelves of furniture. Cats with normal motor abilities, but with a certain brain disorder, lose the straightening reflex, and it is impossible to teach it, as observations show.
Adult cats have been trained to demonstrate their erect reflex during slow motion. After calculating the distance of their fall (it was the same each time), some "lazy" cats turned over only at the very last moment, demonstrating their exceptional sense of time, which will be discussed a little later.
Some animals have excellent spatial intelligence. They can find their way to a large number of fixed objects (trees or places where supplies are made) using the safest and most rational routes. In addition, some animals calculate their route in such a way as to visit the places with the most food first.
Cats hunt by adapting to circumstances and do not plan their movements in advance.Most likely, they do not calculate what kind of prey to hunt. Cats that live by their trade, such as stray cats, or those that live on farms, spend only a few hours a day hunting. Usually a hunting trip takes no more than half an hour. This was reflected in laboratory experiments, which showed that due to their egocentric mental map, cats have less developed spatial intelligence. Although they find it difficult to remember complex spatial relationships, they do a good job of determining a simple location. By remembering that prey (or food) is usually in a certain place, cats will return to that place over and over again. Moreover, they know the time when food appears. Cats can count the time very well, which is confirmed by the owners of furry alarm clocks.which cannot be disabled by pressing the button. Cats calculate how much time can be spent hunting and can distinguish time intervals with a high degree of accuracy. For a cat, the time between hunting trips and the energy expended on them is more important than the spatial relationship between the places where the food is.
Related article What is intelligence? (part 7)
Cats can tell the difference between sounds that are 4 and 5 seconds long. This means that they have an internal clock with a second precision.… In one experiment, cats were placed in boxes for either 5 or 20 seconds. When they were released from there, they were given a reward, which lay in the bowl on the left if the cat sat in the box for 20 seconds and in the bowl on the right if it was there for 5 seconds. If the cat went to the wrong bowl, it was counted as a mistake. During training, the exercise was repeated 400 to 1000 times (depending on the cat's abilities). 14 cats have been trained. After training, all 14 were able to choose the correct bowl more than 80% of the time. The researchers then shortened the 20-second window to see if cats could tell the difference between a long wait and a short wait. 7 cats were able to tell the difference between an interval of 5 seconds and an interval of 8 seconds. In another experiment, a cat had to press a lever a certain number of times to open a food tray.Once the cat has access to food, it can eat an unlimited amount.
First, you had to press the lever 40 times. As the number of clicks increased (up to 2560 times), cats began to eat less during the day in order to get a proper meal by opening the tray. The cats did not count how many times they had to press (we will dwell on the sense of number later), they simply pressed the lever until the tray opened. It took a lot of patience and persistence for a cat to hit 2560 times. Then the researchers began to change the number of times the lever was pressed each time. The cats calculated the average number of clicks to get food. The amount of food eaten was, on average, correlated with the number of lever presses over the course of a day or several days, but not with the number of presses required to obtain a certain portion.