Video: Mental Plan Of The Cat - I'm In The Center (part 5)
2023 Author: Molly Page | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 22:49
Sometimes the cat's actions seem silly and unreasonable to us. To explain them, you need to understand how cats represent the world in their thoughts. The world of cats has three dimensions - width, length and height (shelves on the walls and tree branches are also included in it), and it also contains smells that indicate the boundaries of the territory or carry other information. In order to get from point A to point B, a cat may choose a roundabout path not because of its stupidity, but simply because it avoids territories belonging to other cats. And she is delayed on the way in order to leave her own mark indicating her presence, as well as containing all personal data - age, status and marital status. All this must be remembered, trying to understand how the cat sees the world around him.
The easiest ways to navigate the terrain are direct following to a visible target and a turn-by-turn routeusing various landmarks (turn left near the tree, right near the fence, etc.). Although such an orientation system can malfunction. If the landmark moves, then the animal will immediately be lost, which is very well known to owners of blind cats. (However, blind cats can find another mark, and thus reorient themselves). Cats use both methods by making a mental map of their environment. The more thoroughly the territory was surveyed, the more detailed this plan is. Mental plans help cats to take a shortcut, for example, go straight across the field, without going around it along the edge. If possible, cats prefer a shortcut to a goal invisible to the eye. If there are several options for a short path, they choose the one whose beginning coincides with the direction towards the goal - we ourselves do the same. The number of turns also affects route selection, but is less important than distance and initial direction. When it comes to finding a path, the cat receives information in a practical, not theoretical way.
French scientists studying comparative physiology, influenced by the theories of the psychologist Jean Piaget, who studies human development, became interested in how different species of animals develop their ideas about the "constant properties of an object" how animals are able to understand that an object that has disappeared from the field of vision continues to exist, can be found and does not change its properties.
Piaget noted that human children go through various stages in the process of understanding the laws of the physical world. If you hide a toy, then very young children immediately lose interest in it and do not try to find it - what they do not see does not exist. When a child grows up a little, he will already try to find the hidden object, but at the same time, not yet clearly understanding where exactly to look. Even if a child sees that someone is hiding a toy behind a screen, he, most likely, will not guess to look there, but will look for a toy in the place where he has already found it before. Having become even older, the child already understands that it is necessary to look behind the screen, and at the age of one and a half, the child can be aware of a number of "hidden movements". "Covert movement" is when someone hides a ball in a box, carries the box off the screen, and takes out the ball. Then he shows the empty box to the child. A child at this age is able to understand that the ball has remained behind the screen. Piaget called this the sixth stage of the concept of "constant properties of an object."
The concept of "constant object properties" is a useful skill for those animals that need to understand where the prey might have disappeared from sight. If a cat has lost sight of its prey, then first it looks for it near the place where it last saw it. Having received no result, the cat begins to inspect the nearest possible hiding places. Cats who are familiar with their territory know the most likely places for prey to sneak out to and look for them. Sometimes a cat cannot find a hidden toy simply because it is distracted by something more interesting. For example, knowing perfectly well that a toy is hidden under a napkin, cats will prefer to play with this napkin rather than looking for a toy that has already bored them. If the ball rolls behind a curtain that hangs down to the floor, cats will start playing with the fluttering fabric, as this is a new and more interesting entertainment.
In the past, psychologists believed that cats would never reach Stage 6 of the "constant object properties" concept. Cat owners have often disputed this claim, citing instances of a cat finding a toy that disappeared under the couch. More recent studies have shown that cats do indeed reach stage six. The cats were tested in their home, in a familiar environment, where screens were left for a week. During this time the cats got used to them and remembered that no toys were hiding behind them. First of all, cats were taught that when they touched a certain toy with their nose, they would get a treat. When the experiment begins, the owner holds the cat and two screens are placed in front of it. In front of the cat's eyes, the experimenter puts the toy in the box, then, behind one of the screens, slowly takes out the toy, and puts the empty box in front of the cat. The cat is released, and almost every time it goes exactly behind the screen where the toy was hidden. At each attempt, the screens move, are replaced by other screens, but the cat always gives the correct answer, proving that she not only learned the rules of the game, but was also able to draw conclusions: the object did not disappear forever, logically it should be behind the screen, because at first it was in box, then the box went behind the screen with it and appeared without it.then the box went behind the screen with him and appeared without him.then the box went behind the screen with him and appeared without him.
Another test. In front of the cat's eyes, the food is placed in a bowl, which is alternately hidden under three lids, after which the cat is shown an empty bowl. To prevent the cat from orienting itself by smell, the food remains in the experimenter's hand, and not under the last lid. In one test, as soon as the bowl was pulled out from under the last lid and shown to the cat that it was empty, the cat quickly went to that lid (and not to the experimenter's hand). She persistently pushed the lid until the place where the food should have been was completely free. Not seeing anything there, the cat stood on the lid and tried to turn it over for several minutes. When faced with prey that has sunk into the ground, a cat can be quite persistent (within reason).
More complex series of experiments were also carried out. In front of the cat's eyes, the toy was hidden behind one of the screens. Then they made various manipulations with the screens in order to confuse the cat and only after that they let her look for a toy. For example, in one test, a toy was hidden behind the far right of three screens. The cat's field of view was blocked for a second, and all the screens moved to the right at a distance equal to the distance between them. Or such a test: a cat looked into the room where the experiment was conducted, standing in the doorway. She saw how the toy was hidden, then her vision was blocked and the whole room, including the walls, moved to the right (except for the toy itself). Despite all these tricks, the cat unmistakably found the toy every time, using its absolute sense of space. The cat was looking for a toy not behind the far right screen, but behind the onewhich took its place. The cats' sense of space is self-centered. They remember where the toy was hidden in relation to their own fixed position, they are not interested in how the toy was related to landmarks in space.
Article on the topic Space-time continuum of a cat (part 6)
In a number of experiments, conditions were created when the cat could not use its egocentric ideas about space. In this case, the cats used landmarks. From the central doorway, the cats were seen hiding a toy. However, they could only enter the room through an L-shaped tunnel, entering it through a door that is either to the right or to the left of the one from which they were observing. These cats could not use the absolute perception of space, and found toys by spatial reference points. In the event of a conflict between egocentric perception and local landmarks, cats trusted their own coordinate system, in the center of which they were.
Forming a mental plan of the environment, the cat puts itself in its center, and not spatial reference points. This explains why cats do something that seems silly and incomprehensible to us. For example, why a cat can pull past the litter box, although she saw that you moved it a second ago, and why her habits are so strong. Setting up an egocentric coordinate system takes time, therefore, the litter box can be moved no more than 30 cm every day so that there is no embarrassment. And if you want to feed your cat in a new place, then first put two bowls for her - in the old place and in the new one. The old bowl can be removed after the cat gets used to eating in the new place. All this is done not because the cat is stupid, but because her perception of space does not coincide with ours.
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