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David Wojick
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How to do animal cognition research our way
One need not know anything about robotics to do the kind of research that I am describing here on this blog. The basic questions are these: 1. What decisions does the animal make in doing what it does? 2. What does the animal have to know or believe in orde...

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Why does the hawk screech?
The red-tailed hawk has a great cry, or call, or
whatever it is, which is something of a mystery. We hear it fairly often and
call it a shriek, but it is generally known as a scream or a screech. You can
hear it here: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Red...

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How to do animal cognition research
One need not know anything about robotics to do the kind of research that I am describing here on this blog. The basic questions are these: 1. What decisions does the animal make in doing what it does? 2. What does the animal have to know or believe in orde...

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Animal cognition research is not looking our way
 I have been poking around in the scientific literature on animal cognition and found several good reference collections. Here is the first:  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/cognition-animal/ This lengthy article on "Animal Cognition" recently came out in...

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Underestimating the flexibility of an instinct
We ran across the news report for an interesting study of bird nest building, which illustrates the common misconception that an instinct requires a rigid pattern of behavior. The title is "New study says birds learn how to build nests." See  http://www.bbc...

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Baby behavior
It is spring here in West Virginia, with the usual coming of lots of baby critters. Babies are a good place to look for complex and knowledgeable instinctive behavior because they have not had time to learn much. Recently I was struck by two such observatio...

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Instinctive specialized learning (in Phoebes and other critters)
We are watching a Phoebe rebuilding last year's nest on our Observatory (in a nice safe place by the way, another instinct). This rebuilding may well require different materials than building a nest from scratch, but the amazing thing we saw was where the b...

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Horse face communication is complex
The University of Sussex has done some great research on how horses communicate using facial expressions, just as humans do. In fact some of these expressions are similar between humans and horses. Others are different, such as the horse's use of its very m...

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Behavior based cognition: the Research Program
The previous three posts suggest that even trees exhibit cognition. In a way what we are doing here is a form of behaviorism. We are looking at behavior and asking what concepts and decision rules this behavior requires? Classical behaviorism, which is now ...

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Crown Shyness
The fact that trees do not rub on each other is known as "crown shyness." Google Scholar lists about 200 scientific journal articles using the term "crown shyness": http://scholar.google.com/scholar?as_sdt=1,49&q=%22crown+shyness%22&hl=en&as_vis=1 A nice li...
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