The question of animal awareness: evolutionary continuity of mental experience


Vocal behaviour in cattle: the animal’s commentary on its biological processes and welfare

The vocalizations of cattle provide conspecifics with meaningful information about the caller. If we can learn how to interpret this information correctly, it could be used to improve management and welfare assessment. Vocalization may be viewed as a subjective commentary, by an individual, on its own internal state. The vocal behaviour of cattle is potentially […]

The cocktail party problem: What is it? How can it be solved? And why should animal behaviorists study it?

Animals often use acoustic signals to communicate in groups or social aggregations in which multiple individuals signal within a receiver’s hearing range. Consequently, receivers face challenges related to acoustic interference and auditory masking that are not unlike the human cocktail party problem, which refers to the problem of perceiving speech in noisy social settings. Understanding […]

How cross-fostered chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes ) initiate and maintain conversations

This study systematically sampled typical attention-getting sounds and sign language conversations between each of 4 originally cross-fostered chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), still living freely, but now in a laboratory setting, and a familiar human interlocutor. Videotape records showed that when they encountered a human interlocutor sitting alone at his desk with his back turned to them, […]

Size matters: Impact of item size and quantity on array choice by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

The authors previously reported that chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes ) showed a striking bias to select the larger of 2 candy arrays, despite a reversed reward contingency in which the animals received the smaller, nonselected array as a reward, except when Arabic numerals were used as stimuli. A perceptual or incentive-based interference occurred that was […]

Attachment Behavior of Adult Dogs (Canis familiaris) Living at Rescue Centers- Forming New Bonds

In this study, 60 shelter dogs (Canis familiaris) were observed in the modified version of the Strange Situation Test, which has proved to be a useful method for studying dogs’ attachment behavior toward humans (J. Topal, A. Miklosi, V. Csanyi, & A. D6ka, 1998). Before testing, 40 dogs were handled 3 times for 10 min. […]

Responses of White-Faced Capuchins (Cebus capucinus) to Naturalistic and Experimentally Presented Food-Associated Calls

In the context of foraging, many animal species produce specific calls that attract others. Researchers hypothesize that these vocalizations function to inform others about food; however, few studies have investigated whether food-associated calls alone are sufficient to cause individuals to respond as if they have been informed about food. Playback experiments on white-faced capuchins (Cebus […]

Species identity and the temporal characteristics of fish acoustic signals

Analyses of the acoustic signals of fish show that fine-scale temporal patterns of signals are what vary among species. A growing body of research addressing the topic of species differences in fish acoustic signals suggests that these differences are related to mate choice or species isolation. However, little behavioral work has been done to determine […]

Referential Communication by Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Two experiments were conducted to assess the referential function of chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) gestures to obtain food. The chimpanzees received 1 trial per condition. In Experiment 1 (N 101), in full view of the chimpanzee, a banana was placed on top of 1 of 2 inverted buckets or was hidden underneath 1 of the buckets. […]

Frequency-range discriminations and absolute pitch in black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus), mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli), and zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata)

The acoustic frequency ranges in birdsongs provide important absolute pitch cues for the recognition of conspecifics. Black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus), mountain chickadees (Poecile gambeli), and zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) were trained to sort tones contiguous in frequency into 8 ranges on the basis of associations between response to the tones in each range and reward. […]