Animal Cognition

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  • Bonobo Female Coalition Brutality
    Bonobos Make Love AND War
    Posted in: Mammals

    There is a common misconception that bonobos never fight; if tensions are running high, they have sex or rub their genitals together and everything’s just peachy. But bonobos do fight and they do form coalitions to support one another in aggressive interactions. […]

  • Horse communication with humans
    How do Horses Communicate with Humans?
    Posted in: Mammals

    When asked to think about how horses and humans communicate with each other, most people would likely conjure up the classic image of a rider on horseback, steering with reins and giving a kick to signal “Go!”. In this picture, the human is the communicator, the horse the receiver. The animal is expected to obey […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • 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 […]

  • Gibbonese Features Many Words
    Posted in: Mammals

    Is language only used by humans? Most linguists would say “yes”, especially given the complexity of human language. However, research is uncovering that many animals have far more sophisticated communication protocols than thus far assumed. Now, a newly published study shows that gibbons too have their own […]

  • yawns contagious in dogs
    Human Yawns are Contagious in Dogs Too
    Posted in: Mammals

    If you have a dog you probably know that dogs yawn now and then. But did you ever notice that they yawn as a response to your yawning? In humans this phenomenon is well known as “contagious yawning”, but recent research indicates that even dogs can “catch” human yawns. In 2008, Joly-Mascheroni et al. conducted […]

  • Hermit Crabs: Conga Line Cooperation
    Posted in: Invertebrates

    Trying to find a suitable home can be a battle, especially if you’re a hermit crab. These crabs have soft, vulnerable abdomens that they need to keep protected at all times by wearing abandoned snail shells. But as the crabs grow, they can find themselves living in cramped quarters. Once they’ve outgrown their shells, they need […]

  • Parrots big brains
    Social Complexity Gives Parrots Big Brains
    Posted in: Birds

    Parrots have rather large brains. In fact, relative to their body weight, their brain size-to-body size ratio is about the same as advanced primates like chimpanzees and orangutans. “Humans have these really big brains, but guess what, parrots have really big brains too. In fact, if you overlay a graph of brain size to body […]

  • sharks have personalities
    Study Shows Sharks Have Personalities
    Posted in: Fish

    In October 2014, the results of a study1 led by David M. P. Jacoby, Lauren N. Fear, David W. Sims, and Darren P. Croft of the University of Exeter and the Marine Biological Association of the UK (MBA) were published in the Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology journal. The study focused on captive populations of Small-spotted catsharks (Scyliorhinus canicula), and the results give strong […]

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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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