Video: Features Of Learning At An Early And Old Age (part 3)
2023 Author: Molly Page | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 22:49
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. Numerous experimental studies carried out on kittens have shown that cats also have an innate brain capacity for learning.
Those who work with cats often note that kittens prefer to suck from a specific nipple of their mother. Kittens that are a few days old can be trained to favor one of two artificial teats, differing in texture, location and smell. Experiments with the use of an "artificial mother" consisting of a fluffy cover and two rubber nipples have shown that a two-day-old kitten can learn to distinguish which nipple comes from another, based only on its texture. After another day, he can already distinguish it by smell. If you combine several families of kittens, then babies can distinguish their own mother from other lactating females and from the "artificial mother".
Although the mother protects the babies from the dangers of the "big world", they need to learn quickly themselves. In the first week, kittens develop the ability to navigate. In the early days, if the kitten is put outside the "nest", it will simply crawl in circles. But a six-day-old kitten, still blind, can independently determine the direction to the "nest" by the smell of its mother or brothers and sisters. By the end of the first week, they can smell the "living part" of their cage from the rest of the space. At the age of two weeks, they can already orient themselves at a distance of three meters and begin to explore the world around them. At the age of 3-4 weeks, sense of smell is replaced by sight. The innate behavior that kittens exhibit is based on heredity, but this behavior can be changed by both short-term and long-term training.
The ability to learn is determined not by innate intelligence, but by behavioral development,that is, the ability to perceive exactly the information that is useful in real life, and use it. From the moment of birth, animals have certain priorities - one is considered more important than the other. Animals are motivated to study exactly what is more important to them (or at least not to be afraid of it, if the study has to be postponed until later). The experience gained at an early age interacts with natural instincts and forms the ability to continue learning. And cats have different personalities, which also influence the desire to learn. Character formation is associated with early life experiences. Kittens that grew up together with other animals, a vacuum cleaner, and other household items, with a large number of people, are more adapted to later life than kittens that were brought up in a quiet house with one owner.
Older cats are more difficult to train, illustrating the adage that it is impossible to teach an old dog new tricks. Many older cats suffer from the syndrome of cognitive dysfunction - senile feline decrepitude. Cats become disorientated easily, become forgetful, exhibit intrusive behavior, sleep poorly, may forget how to use the toilet, or suffer from urinary incontinence. At the molecular level, feline aging resembles Alzheimer's disease. A chemical called amyloid beta appears in the brain. This interferes with the normal passage of nerve impulses, and is also toxic to and kills nerve cells.
Article on the topic The world through the eyes of cats (part 4)
At an older age, even those cats that do not suffer from senile syndrome begin to perceive new information more slowly. Studies have shown that cats over 10 years old often fail to perceive Pavlov's basic associations, which young cats learn quickly. Pavlov's associations were called Pavlov's famous experiment on dogs, when dogs learned to associate a bell with feeding and then automatically salivated on a bell. Although older cats were awake and alert, and their perceptual nerves were delivering the correct signals to the brain, it did not process them as efficiently as younger cats. There is a connection between learning, brain activity, and sleep. The researchers found that different areas of the brain are in different sleep states at the same time. Sleep-regulating biochemicals accumulate in the brain during wakefulness and help start the sleep process. They are produced faster in parts of the brainwhich are very active while awake. The harder the brain works during the day, possibly performing some task, the more soundly this part of the brain will sleep at night.
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