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Cognition and Perception Commons

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Animal Sentience Is Not Enough To Motivate Conservation, Irene M. Pepperberg 2019 Harvard University

Animal Sentience Is Not Enough To Motivate Conservation, Irene M. Pepperberg

Animal Sentience

Chapman & Huffman suggest that humans’ views of their own superiority are a source of their callousness toward the environment. I do not disagree but point to a number of other issues that must be addressed for conservation efforts to succeed.


Mirror Neurons And Humanity’S Dark Side, Gisela Kaplan 2019 University of New England,Armidale,Australia

Mirror Neurons And Humanity’S Dark Side, Gisela Kaplan

Animal Sentience

The last two decades have revealed brain mechanisms in birds and primates showing that, contrary to earlier prejudices, some birds can do things (cognitive and affective) on par with or even better than great apes and humans. The old dichotomies are breaking down; but the dark side is that these insights come at a time in the Anthropocene when humans have caused and continue to cause mass extinctions.


Octopus Intelligence: The Importance Of Being Agnostic, Piero Amodio 2019 University of Cambridge, UK

Octopus Intelligence: The Importance Of Being Agnostic, Piero Amodio

Animal Sentience

Mather’s (2019) provocative claim that octopuses have a mind hinges on the inference that their striking behavioural flexibility is evidence of “complex” cognitive abilities. I discuss alternative explanations — not to deny the possibility of complexity but to point out that current evidence does not allow us to draw firm conclusions. Only an agnostic approach will lead to the systematic investigation of octopus behaviour and ultimately, greater insights into the cognitive capacities of these fascinating creatures.


What We Don't Know About Cephalopods And How To Define It, Catia Correia Caeiro 2019 University of Lincoln, UK

What We Don't Know About Cephalopods And How To Define It, Catia Correia Caeiro

Animal Sentience

Despite the reputation of octopuses as intelligent animals, their cognitive abilities seem to be mostly unknown. This should be the starting point of a long process of scientific enquiry about these taxa, which must include discussions on operational definitions first and foremost. Discussing octopus mind might prove fruitless without more basic concepts. Some approaches are suggested here.


Who Needs A Mind When You Have Thousands Of Fingers?, Yoram Gutfreund 2019 The Technion

Who Needs A Mind When You Have Thousands Of Fingers?, Yoram Gutfreund

Animal Sentience

Mather’s target article aligns with a common tendency of granting the octopus a mind or consciousness. But what is the meaning of an octopus’s mind? Is it part of nature or is it observer-dependent, imputed to satisfy our own psychological needs? In this commentary, I build on my own experience with octopuses to challenge the notion that we can conclusively attribute a mind to an animal; and I question the scientific usefulness of doing so.


The Ingenuity Of Cephalopods, Angel Guerra 2019 ECOBIOMAR, Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas (CSIC)

The Ingenuity Of Cephalopods, Angel Guerra

Animal Sentience

I present a brief overview of the richness of cephalopod behavioral, neural and cognitive traits.


Keeping Hold Of Nurse, Andrew Packard 2019 Stanford University

Keeping Hold Of Nurse, Andrew Packard

Animal Sentience

Mather draws from a lifetime devoted to studying individual octopuses in the wild and in aquaria to combine a natural history account of their actions with an argument from design adopted from second-, often third-hand sources. The 'distributed' [decentralised] nervous system said to contrast with that of vertebrates – a premise largely accepted by Mather’s commentators so far – does not reflect the original literature on motor control, nor the facts of comparative anatomy, functional morphology and morphogenesis. Ontogeny is absent. With the help of some old or little-known illustrations from my own participant-observer experimental investigations, I will try here to ...


Sheeple? The Need For More Research On Sheep Cognition, Michael Colombo, Damian Scarf 2019 University of Otago

Sheeple? The Need For More Research On Sheep Cognition, Michael Colombo, Damian Scarf

Animal Sentience

Marino & Merskin (2019) provide a comprehensive review of the cognitive abilities of sheep. If research with other animals is any guide, there may be justification for the view that the abilities of sheep have been underestimated, and their review will likely stimulate more research into sheep cognition.


What Should We Do About Sheep? The Role Of Intelligence In Welfare Considerations, Heather Browning 2019 Australian National University

What Should We Do About Sheep? The Role Of Intelligence In Welfare Considerations, Heather Browning

Animal Sentience

Marino & Merskin (2019) demonstrate that sheep are more cognitively complex than typically thought. We should be cautious in interpreting the implications of these results for welfare considerations to avoid perpetuating mistaken beliefs about the moral value of intelligence as opposed to sentience. There are, however, still important ways in which this work can help improve sheeps’ lives.


What Every Shepherd Knows, Marthe Kiley-Worthington 2019 Centre d'Eco-Etho Recherche et Education.

What Every Shepherd Knows, Marthe Kiley-Worthington

Animal Sentience

The findings of the research reviewed by Marino & Merskin have been common knowledge to shepherds for millennia. Many of them are also evolutionary necessities for all mammals, especially social ones.


What Is In An Octopus's Mind?, Jennifer Mather 2019 Psychology, University of Lethbridge

What Is In An Octopus's Mind?, Jennifer Mather

Animal Sentience

It is difficult to imagine what an animal as different from us as the octopus ‘thinks’, but we can make some progress. In the Umwelt or perceptual world of an octopus, what the lateralized monocular eyes perceive is not color but the plane of polarization of light. Information is processed by a bilateral brain but manipulation is done by a radially symmetrical set of eight arms. Octopuses do not self-monitor by vision. Their skin pattern system, used for excellent camouflage, is open loop. The output of the motor system of the eight arms is organized at several levels — brain, intrabrachial ...


A Community Of Minds, Bennett L. Schwartz 2019 Florida International University

A Community Of Minds, Bennett L. Schwartz

Animal Sentience

Mather (2019) provides an excellent overview of the literature on octopus perception, cognition, memory, and behavior. Anyone interested in cephalopod cognition and brain organization will find her target article informative and interesting. In this commentary, I challenge the idea that an individual organism must have an individual mind. Given the structure of the octopus brain and their complex behavior, one must consider the possibility that an octopus is a community of minds rather than a single mind.


Farm Animals Are Not Humans In Sheep Clothing, Lorenz Gygax, Christian Nawroth 2019 Humboldt Universität zu Berlin

Farm Animals Are Not Humans In Sheep Clothing, Lorenz Gygax, Christian Nawroth

Animal Sentience

Research on the mental lives of farm animals is crucial to assess not only their physical but also their psychological wellbeing. Their current housing and handling practices are highly unlikely to meet their cognitive needs and demands, but our knowledge of their mental capacities is still limited. Although folk wisdom often refers to farm animals as dull and inflexible, recent studies show they have a rich interpretation of their environment and can solve complex problems. Yet an uncritical and anthropomorphic assessment of farm animal cognition and behaviour may lead to the attribution of an exaggerated amount of cognitive flexibility. Contrary ...


The Importance Of Research Applicability, Krista McLennan 2019 Chester University

The Importance Of Research Applicability, Krista Mclennan

Animal Sentience

Marino & Merskin’s (2019) review contains key information about the complexity of sheep and their intelligence level, but lacks practical application. The key to making any long-term changes to sheep welfare at an industry level is by generating research that is practically relevant to the sector. The practical application of research should be considered at the design stage and in consultation with producers. Additionally, thought needs to be given to how the practical application of the research will be transferred to those people directly involved in animal care (e.g., producers, stockpersons, etc.). Focusing on the practical relevance and application ...


Anthropocentrism: Practical Remedies Needed, Helen Kopnina 2019 The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Anthropocentrism: Practical Remedies Needed, Helen Kopnina

Animal Sentience

It is true that one of the harmful consequences of creating categories where one group is unique and superior to others is that it justifies discriminating against the inferior groups. And outright abuse of nonhuman animals is indeed morally unjustifiable. But what is to be done about it?


Caregivers Of Parents With Alzheimer’S Disease: Quality Of Life For Caregivers: Perspectives & Family Dynamics, Matthew Cornu 2019 University of Kentucky

Caregivers Of Parents With Alzheimer’S Disease: Quality Of Life For Caregivers: Perspectives & Family Dynamics, Matthew Cornu

Theses and Dissertations--Family Sciences

This study furthers Alzheimer’s family literature regarding the impact of caregiver attachment, readiness to provide care, and caregiver quality of life. A sample of 33 participants caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease in the state of Kentucky was recruited to complete a questionnaire for the study. The questionnaire consisted of an online survey about participants’ experiences and attachments growing up with their parents, their experiences becoming caregivers to their parents with Alzheimer’s disease, and participants’ current perspectives of their own quality of life. Positive perspectives in regards to quality of life among caregivers seem to be ...


Consonant And Dissonant Music Chords Improve Visual Attention Capture, Graham Spurrier 2019 Claremont Colleges

Consonant And Dissonant Music Chords Improve Visual Attention Capture, Graham Spurrier

CMC Senior Theses

Recent research has suggested that music may enhance or reduce cognitive interference, depending on whether it is tonally consonant or dissonant. Tonal consonance is often described as being pleasant and agreeable, while tonal dissonance is often described as being unpleasant and harsh. However, the exact cognitive mechanisms underlying these effects remain unclear. We hypothesize that tonal dissonance may increase cognitive interference through its effects on attentional cueing. We predict that (a) consonant musical chords are attentionally demanding, but (b) dissonant musical chords are more attentionally demanding than consonant musical chords. Using a Posner cueing task, a standard measure of attention ...


Changes In Color Guidance Over The Course Of A Complex Visual Search, Ryan Papargiris 2019 University of Massachusetts Amherst

Changes In Color Guidance Over The Course Of A Complex Visual Search, Ryan Papargiris

Masters Theses

When searching for an object, we store a mental representation of the target, which guides our search through the use of attention. The effectiveness of this search guidance varies depending on the task and the relationship between target and distractors. With a better understanding of how search guidance changes over time within a trial, we can better compare the differences between experimental conditions. Eye tracking data from a variety of search tasks were analyzed to determine how color guidance varied over the course of the trial. Color guidance for a given fixation was evaluated based on the distance in color ...


The Quest Of Vision: Visual Culture, Sacred Space, Ritual, And The Documentation Of Lived Experience Through Rock Imagery, Aaron Robert Atencio 2019 University of Montana

The Quest Of Vision: Visual Culture, Sacred Space, Ritual, And The Documentation Of Lived Experience Through Rock Imagery, Aaron Robert Atencio

Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers

This document will approach the multifaceted concepts that arise through the study of rock art and the cultivation of culture and belief through vision. Through this document the audience will encounter conceptual ideas regarding belief systems, ritual, experience, cognition, sacredness, and space/landscape — and how these are all essential dynamics that take place in the processes that cultivate the Shoshone visual culture. This document will employ an anthropological lens on the mentioned subject matters, while also approaching these concepts with an interdisciplinary curiosity of how they intermingle; creating a cohesive experience that focuses on these processes which empowered these people ...


A Hybrid Cognitive Architecture With Primal Affect And Physiology, Christopher L. Dancy 2019 Bucknell University

A Hybrid Cognitive Architecture With Primal Affect And Physiology, Christopher L. Dancy

Faculty Journal Articles

Though computational cognitive architectures have been used to study several processes associated with human behavior, the study of integration of affect and emotion in these processes has been relatively sparse. Theory from affective science and affective neuroscience can be used to systematically integrate affect into cognitive architectures, particularly in areas where cognitive system behavior is known to be associated with physiological structure and behavior. I introduce a unified theory and model of human behavior that integrates physiology and primal affect with cognitive processes in a cognitive architecture. This new architecture gives a more tractable, mechanistic way to simulate affect-cognition interactions ...


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