Numerical Abstraction in Young Domestic Chicks Gallus gallusReport as inadecuate




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In a variety of circumstances animals can represent numerical values per se, although it is unclear how salient numbers are relative to non-numerical properties. The question is then: are numbers intrinsically distinguished or are they processed as a last resort only when no other properties differentiate stimuli? The last resort hypothesis is supported by findings pertaining to animal studies characterized by extensive training procedures. Animals may, nevertheless, spontaneously and routinely discriminate numerical attributes in their natural habitat, but data available on spontaneous numerical competence usually emerge from studies not disentangling numerical from quantitative cues. In the study being outlined here, we tested animals- discrimination of a large number of elements utilizing a paradigm that did not require any training procedures. During rearing, newborn chicks were presented with two stimuli, each characterized by a different number of heterogeneous for colour, size and shape elements and food was found in proximity of one of the two stimuli. At testing 3 day-old chicks were presented with stimuli depicting novel elements for colour, size and shape representing either the numerosity associated or not associated with food. The chicks approached the number associated with food in the 5vs.10 and 10vs.20 comparisons both when quantitative cues were unavailable stimuli were of random sizes or being controlled. The findings emerging from the study support the hypothesis that numbers are salient information promptly processed even by very young animals.



Author: Rosa Rugani , Giorgio Vallortigara, Lucia Regolin

Source: http://plos.srce.hr/



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