Animal Intelligence

Animal Learning and Intelligence News -- ScienceDaily Read about the latest research on animal learning and intelligence, including studies on elephants, apes, birds and dogs.

  • Chimpanzee self-control is related to intelligence
    on February 8, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    As is true in humans, chimpanzees' general intelligence is correlated to their ability to exert self-control and delay gratification, according to new research. […]

  • Large-group living boosts magpie intelligence
    on February 7, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    Growing up in a large social group makes Australian magpies more intelligent, new research shows. […]

  • Brain training for old dogs: Could touchscreen games become the Sudoku of man’s best friend?
    on February 7, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    Spoiling old dogs in their twilight years by retiring them to the sofa and forgiving them their stubbornness or disobedience, doesn’t do our four-legged friends any good. Regular brain training and lifelong learning create positive emotions and can slow down mental deterioration in old age. Physical limitations, however, often do not allow the same sort of training as used in young dogs. In a new study, a team of researchers led by cognitive biologists propose computer interaction as a practical alternative. In the training lab, old dogs responded positively to cognitive training using educational touchscreen games. […]

  • Blueberry vinegar improves memory in mice with amnesia
    on December 20, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    Dementia affects millions of people worldwide, robbing them of their ability to think, remember and live as they once did. In the search for new ways to fight cognitive decline, scientists report that blueberry vinegar might offer some help. They found that the fermented product could restore cognitive function in mice. […]

  • Pigeons can discriminate both space, time
    on December 4, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Pigeons aren't so bird-brained after all. New research shows that pigeons can discriminate the abstract concepts of space and time, likely using a different region of the brain than humans and primates to do so. […]

  • Dogs mouth-lick to communicate with angry humans
    on November 28, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    New research has found that dogs lick their mouths as a response to looking at angry human faces, suggesting that domestic canines may have a functional understanding of emotional information. […]

  • Cool lizards are better at learning socially
    on November 22, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    Bearded dragons which are incubated in colder environments are better at solving cognitive tasks as adults than incubated in warmer temperatures, according to new research. Scientists tested the social learning abilities of bearded dragons which had been incubated in either an average of 30°C or 27°C and found that those from the colder incubation environment picked up new skills faster than their hotter counterparts. […]

  • Smiling human faces are attractive to dogs, thanks to oxytocin
    on November 20, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Researchers found that oxytocin made dogs interested in smiling human faces. It also made them see angry faces as less threatening. Associated with affection and trust, the hormone oxytocin is probably a key factor in the interaction between dogs and humans. […]

  • Sheep are able to recognize human faces from photographs
    on November 8, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    Sheep can be trained to recognise human faces from photographic portraits -- and can even identify the picture of their handler without prior training -- according to new research. […]

  • Chimpanzees shown spontaneously 'taking turns' to solve number puzzle
    on November 1, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    A new study has shown chimpanzees spontaneously taking turns to complete a number sequencing task. […]

  • Dogs are more expressive when someone is looking
    on October 19, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    Dogs produce more facial expressions when humans are looking at them, according to new research. […]

  • Whales and dolphins have rich 'human-like' cultures and societies
    on October 16, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Whales and dolphins (cetaceans) live in tightly-knit social groups, have complex relationships, talk to each other and even have regional dialects -- much like human societies. A major new study has linked the complexity of Cetacean culture and behavior to the size of their brains. […]

  • Kune Kune piglets possess social learning skills and have an astonishingly good memory
    on October 11, 2017 at 4:03 pm

    Pigs are socially competent and capable of learning. But the combination of these skills, learning by observing others, has been insufficiently studied so far. Exact copying and understanding of demonstrated actions -- highly developed learning abilities -- could not be proven. A new study with Kune Kune pigs, has now shown for the first time that pigs do learn from each other. The intelligent animals also possess remarkable long-term memory after internalizing a technique. […]

  • Bumblebees shed light on why some individuals are smarter than others
    on October 4, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    By examining the brains of bees trained to different tasks, the researchers found that the number of connections between nerve cells may hold the answer to questions about individual cognitive differences. Bees with a greater density of nerve connections (known as synaptic complexes) in a specific part of their brains had better memories and learned faster than bees with fewer connections in these areas. […]

  • Raccoons solve an ancient puzzle, but do they really understand it?
    on September 29, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    Scientists have been using an ancient Greek fable written by Aesop as inspiration to test whether birds and small children understand cause and effect relationships. A group of scientists have now extended this body of work to study raccoon intelligence. Their research uses the Aesop's Fable paradigm to assess if mammalian carnivores understand the principles of water displacement. […]

  • Clever cockatoos bend hooks into straight wire to fish for food
    on September 6, 2017 at 12:29 am

    Bending of a hook into wire to fish for the handle of a basket by crow Betty 15 years ago stunned the scientific world. Cognitive biologists studied tool making in an Indonesian cockatoo. Other than crows, cockatoos are not using tools in the wild. The birds manufactured hook tools out of straight wire without ever having seen or used a hook tool before. […]

  • The sniff test of self-recognition confirmed: Dogs have self-awareness
    on September 5, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    A new research study used a sniff-test to evaluate the ability of dogs to recognize themselves. The experiment confirms the hypothesis of dogs' self-cognition proposed last year. […]

  • Apes' abilities misunderstood by decades of poor science
    on August 31, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Hundreds of scientific studies over two decades have told us that apes are clever -- just not as clever as us. New analysis argues that what we think we know about apes' social intelligence is based on wishful thinking and flawed science. […]

  • Both chimpanzees and humans spontaneously imitate each other's actions
    on August 21, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    Decades of research has shown that apes, in spite of their proverbial aping abilities, are rather poor imitators, especially when compared to human children. Current theories hold that apes are worse imitators because they lack this social and communicative side of imitation. A new study has instead targeted the interactive side of imitation directly, and finds that the divide between humans and chimpanzees is less clear cut. […]

  • Successful guide dogs have 'tough love' moms, study finds
    on August 7, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Much has been written on the pitfalls of being a helicopter parent, one who insulates children from adversity rather than encouraging their independence. A new study seems to back up this finding -- in dogs. […]

  • Humans imitate in unique ways: Comparing children and bonobos
    on July 25, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    A new study compared children's capacity to imitate behavior with the same capacity of humans' closest living great ape relatives, the bonobos. The study found that bonobos do not copy actions as children do, which highlights the unique nature of human imitation. […]

  • A common underlying genetic basis for social behavior in dogs and humans
    on July 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Scientists have identified genetic changes that are linked to dogs' human-directed social behaviors and suggest there is a common underlying genetic basis for hyper-social behavior in both dogs and humans. […]

  • Squirrels have long memory for problem solving
    on July 13, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    Squirrels can remember problem-solving techniques for long periods and can apply them to new situations, researchers have discovered. […]

  • Cocoa and chocolate are not just treats -- they are good for your cognition
    on June 29, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Researchers have examined the available literature for the effects of acute and chronic administration of cocoa flavanols on different cognitive domains. It turns out that cognitive performance was improved by a daily intake of cocoa flavanols. […]

  • Real-time vapor analysis could improve training of explosive-detecting dogs
    on June 28, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    With a sense of smell much greater than humans, dogs are considered the gold standard for explosive detection in many situations. But that doesn't mean there isn't room for improvement. In a new study, scientists report on a new, more rigorous approach to training dogs and their handlers based on real-time analysis of what canines actually smell when they are exposed to explosive materials. […]

  • Piglets prefer new toys, behavior study shows
    on June 21, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    We can't help but be tempted by new things. We see it in a child's eyes when she opens a new toy, and feel it every time a new version of the iPhone is released. It turns out our preference for shiny, new things is pretty universal throughout the animal kingdom. Yes, even piglets prefer new toys. […]

  • Cockatoos keep their tools safe
    on May 16, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Only a few animal species such as New Caledonian crows or some primates have so far been found to habitually use tools. Even fewer can manufacture their own tools. Nevertheless, the Goffin's cockatoo, an Indonesian parrot, exhibit both abilities while seemingly lacking a genetic adaptation for tool use. Researchers have now shown yet another tool-related ability in these clever parrots. […]

  • How dogs interact with others plays a role in decision-making
    on April 24, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Dynamics between familiar dogs may influence their likelihood of learning from each other, new research shows. How dogs interact with others plays a big role in how they respond under conditions that require quick thinking. […]

  • Elephants' 'body awareness' adds to increasing evidence of their intelligence
    on April 12, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Asian elephants are able to recognize their bodies as obstacles to success in problem-solving, further strengthening evidence of their intelligence and self-awareness, according to a new study. […]

  • You spy with your little eye, dogs can adopt the perspective of humans
    on April 7, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Humans are able to interpret the behavior of others by attributing mental states to them (and to themselves). By adopting the perspectives of other persons, they can assume their emotions, needs and intentions and react accordingly. In the animal kingdom, the ability to attribute mental states (Theory of Mind) is a highly contentious issue. Cognitive biologists could demonstrate with a new test procedure that dogs are not only able to identify whether a human has an eye on a food source and, therefore, knows where the food has been hidden. They can also apply this knowledge in order to correctly interpret cues by humans and find food they cannot see themselves. […]