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  • Training methods based on punishment compromise dog welfare, study finds
    on December 17, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    After aversive training, dogs had a lower behavioral state (higher stress and anxiety), a new study has found. If aversive methods were used in high proportions, that persisted even in other contexts.

  • Nervous systems of insects inspire efficient future AI systems
    on November 5, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    Study explores functions of fruit fly's nervous system in food seeking / results valuable for the development and control of artificial intelligence.

  • Social life as a driving factor of birds' generosity
    on October 22, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    Taking a look at generosity within the crow family reveals parallels with human evolution. Working together to raise offspring and increased tolerance towards group members contribute to the emergence of generous behavior among ravens, crows, magpies and company. Biologists found that the social life of corvids is a crucial factor for whether the birds act generously or not.

  • Battling with neighbors could make animals smarter
    on October 6, 2020 at 1:12 pm

    From ants to primates, 'Napoleonic' intelligence has evolved to help animals contend with the myriad cognitive challenges arising from interactions with rival outsiders, suggest researchers.

  • First rehoming of laboratory dogs in Finland successful but required a great deal of work
    on October 5, 2020 at 2:15 pm

    Researchers monitored the success of rehoming 16 laboratory beagles in 2015-2018. The study revealed that the development of house training skills could be supported by care arrangements at the laboratory animal facilities.

  • Primate brain size does not predict their intelligence
    on September 25, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    A research team has systematically investigated the cognitive abilities of lemurs, which have relatively small brains compared to other primates. Conducting systematic tests with identical methods revealed that cognitive abilities of lemurs hardly differ from those of monkeys and great apes. Instead, this study revealed that the relationship between brain size and cognitive abilities cannot be generalized and it provides new insights into the evolution of primates.

  • How researchers look at the bird brain in action
    on September 18, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    How do birds make decisions and which brain regions are particularly active when they solve tasks? Researchers are investigating these questions. So far, only anesthetized birds and therefore passive experiments could be examined using the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Thus, the examination of brain processes during active tasks was not possible. Now the researchers have constructed an experimental set-up which allows them to carry out fMRI examinations on awake pigeons and thus also investigate cognitive processes for the first time.

  • Key brain region was 'recycled' as humans developed the ability to read
    on August 4, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    A new study offers evidence that the brain's inferotemporal cortex, which is specialized to perform object recognition, has been repurposed for a key component of reading called orthographic processing -- the ability to recognize written letters and words.

  • Big brains and dexterous hands
    on July 24, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Primates with large brains can master more complex hand movements than those with smaller brains. However, fine motor skills such as using tools can take time to learn, and humans take the longest of all. Large-brained species such as humans and great apes do not actually learn more slowly than other primates but instead start later, researchers have shown.

  • More than one cognition: A call for change in the field of comparative psychology
    on July 14, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    Researchers argue that cognitive studies in comparative psychology often wrongly take an anthropocentric approach, resulting in an over-valuation of human-like abilities and the assumption that cognitive skills cluster in animals as they do in humans. The authors advocate for philosophical and procedural changes to the discipline that would lead to a better understanding of animal minds and the evolution of multiple forms of cognition.

  • Light drinking may protect brain function
    on June 30, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Light to moderate drinking may preserve brain function in older age, according to a new study.

  • In the wild, chimpanzees are more motivated to cooperate than bonobos
    on June 24, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Scientists investigated cooperation dynamics in wild chimpanzees (Tai, Ivory Coast) and bonobos (LuiKotale, DCR) using a snake model. While chimpanzees cooperate to defend their territory, bonobos do not. The study reveals no differences in both species' social intelligence but supports theories linking territoriality and in-group cooperation in humans since chimpanzees were more motivated to cooperate by informing others of a threat as compared to bonobos.

  • Baboon model could aide in Alzheimer's disease interventions
    on June 11, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    Scientists recently published findings indicating the baboon could prove to be a relevant model to test therapeutics and interventions for neurodegenerative diseases, such as early stage Alzheimer's and related dementias.

  • Extended parenting helps young birds grow smarter
    on June 1, 2020 at 12:03 am

    The current study analyzes social and life-history data from several thousand songbirds, including 127 corvids, the family that includes jays, crows, ravens, and magpies. Results show that corvids are unusual in having larger brains and 'extended childhoods,' where parents provide the young with a safe haven to learn and practice skills they need to survive as adults. These findings shed light on how extended parenting in humans facilitated the evolution of our extraordinarily large brains.

  • Origins of human language pathway in the brain at least 25 million years old
    on April 20, 2020 at 4:55 pm

    The human language pathway in the brain has been identified by scientists as being at least 25 million years old -- 20 million years older than previously thought.

  • Diet may help preserve cognitive function
    on April 14, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    According to a recent analysis of data from two major eye disease studies, adherence to the Mediterranean diet - high in vegetables, whole grains, fish, and olive oil -- correlates with higher cognitive function.

  • Does consuming fruit during pregnancy improve cognition in babies?
    on March 4, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    A new study explores in greater depth the effect on infant cognition of drinking fruit juice while pregnant.

  • Bees recognize that six is more than four
    on March 2, 2020 at 3:37 pm

    A new study at the University of Cologne proves that insects can perform basic numerical cognition tasks. Their neuronal network can also be used to perform successful machine learning.

  • Researchers Were Not Right About Left Brains, Study Suggests
    on February 14, 2020 at 7:43 pm

    Brain imprints on cranial bones from great apes and humans refute the long-held notion that the human pattern of brain asymmetry is unique, according to new research.

  • Elephants' unique interactions with their dead
    on February 6, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    Stories of unique and sentient interactions between elephants and their dead are a familiar part of the species' lore, but a comprehensive study of these interactions has been lacking -- until now. A recent review of documented field observations of elephants at carcasses reveals patterns of elephants' behavior toward their dead, regardless of the strength of former relationships with the deceased individual.

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