Animal Cognition

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  • Malinois Dog Running Through Water
    How Dogs Perceive Human Faces
    Posted in: Mammals

    When you have dogs, it’s easy to see that human faces are important to them. Surely, you’ve probably noticed the countless times in a day that your dog looks at your face: in the park, on the couch, when you are playing together. It’s very likely that dogs are the ultimate “human-stalker”, as they can […]

  • Primate Eyes
    Do animals have “Ah ha!” moments?
    Posted in: General, Main

    Do you know the feeling when you’ve been struggling with something for ages and suddenly the solution dawns on you? Eureka! What you’ve just done constitutes insight, the ability to use a mental representation of a problem and draw on past experience and knowledge to solve it. Are humans the only species that can do this? […]

  • primate personalities
    Primate Personalities
    Posted in: Mammals

    People who keep animals as pets will often talk about their pet’s personality – identifiable traits that appear to be displayed in a consistent manner across contexts and time. Although it was once considered anthropomorphic to talk about nonhuman animals as having a ‘personality’, today, studies dispute this view, with many researchers […]

  • Black Dog
    Dogs Recognize Human Emotions
    Posted in: Mammals

    Many dog owners can attest that their dogs appear to be “in tune” with their emotions, seeming to intuitively “know” when the owners are feeling depressed or irritable. While in the past plenty of people may have been quick to write this off as anthropomorphism, two recently published studies support the conclusion that it’s true: dogs […]

  • Rattlesnake Close Up
    Rattlesnakes are Surprisingly Social Animals
    Posted in: Interviews, Reptiles

    Melissa Amarello is one of the founders of Advocates for Snake Preservation, an organization committed to improving human tolerance of snakes and our peaceful coexistence with them. She studies their unique behaviors and mysterious social lives. Q: Your research focuses on the social behaviors of snakes. Few […]

  • Spear-Hunting Chimps
    Spear-Hunting Chimps
    Posted in: Mammals

    Fashioning spears and wielding them to hunt – these sound like typical activities of our human ancestors. But the surprising fact is that not only are tool-use and tool-building carried out by other animal species, they’re done in the context of hunting as well. Chimpanzees in the Fongoli savanna of Senegal have been observed

  • Claudia Wascher with Crow
    Corvid Researcher Claudia Wascher
    Posted in: Birds, Interviews

    Claudia Wascher is a behavioral biologist and postdoctoral researcher at the University of Valladolid, Spain. Her work is centered on corvid cognition and corvid intelligence. If you would like to learn more about her current work and past publications, please visit her website.   1: Your current research focuses on social cognition, cooperation, and vocal […]

  • Lizards are Flexible Problem-Solvers
    Posted in: Reptiles

    Research has revealed that lizards are surprisingly adept at solving novel problems, and in some tests, perform better than other animal species that are thought to be more cognitively advanced. The study was done at Duke University by biologists Manuel S. Leal and Brian J. Powell. After seeing an experiment […]

  • Brown Rat byanimals smarter than humans
    Can Rats Feel Empathy For Each Other?
    Posted in: Mammals

    As the go-to animal for biological and behavioral research, rats have long been the darlings of science. But only in recent years has their capacity for empathy started to get more attention. That’s not to say that research into rat empathy hasn’t been done in the past. In 1962, scientists George E. Rice and Priscilla Gainer presented individual […]

  • Shocked cat
    The Animals that Love Doing Drugs
    Posted in: General, Main

    Since time immemorial, humans have amused themselves through intoxication. Whether it was our cavemen ancestors chewing on hallucinogenic plants, medieval villagers unwinding with a cup of mead, or the hippies of the 60’s indulging in psychedelics, it’s safe to say that drug use is one of our oldest pastimes. However, humans […]

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Elephant looking in mirror
List of Animals That Have Passed the Mirror Test
Posted in: General, Main

The mirror test was developed by psychologist Gordon Gallup Jr.1 in 1970 as a method for determining whether a non-human animal has the ability of self-recognition. It’s also known as the “mark test” or “mirror self-recognition test” (MSR). When conducting the mirror test, scientists place a visual marking on an animal’s body, usually with scentless paints, […]

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altruism in chimpanzees
Altruism in Chimpanzees
Posted in: Main, Mammals

In 2005, Drs. Felix Warnecken and Michael Tomasello conducted a study on altruism in human infants and chimpanzees.1 Altruism is taking action to help someone else, even when that action won’t be reciprocated or otherwise benefit oneself. To put it simply, altruistic actions are motivated purely by the desire to […]

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Animal Cognition (.org) explores and covers research on the mental capacities of animals: how animals think, solve problems, understand concepts, communicate, and empathize.

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