Friday Faves March 21, 2014

Bees show scaffolded and social learning

Scientists had bees solve increasingly difficult "puzzle flowers" to get rewards. In a control group, they presented the hardest flower to the bee first, and the bee could not solve the problem. In a second study, naive bees watched experienced bees solve the puzzle, and then were able to solve it more quickly themselves. Read more here

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Is less sometimes more for dogs?

This study suggests that 9 out of 10 dogs would rather have a piece of cheese rather than a piece of cheese that is paired with carrots (or at least 9 of the 10 dogs in this study). A similar effect has been found in humans, where baseball card collectors prefer 6 perfect cards over 6 perfect cards that have been paired with 3 cards in "fair" condition. One suggestion is it is easier to determine "average value" of one thing when making decisions.

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Temperament testing in dogs? Helpful or harmful?

Temperament testing in shelter animals is often used as a "euthanasia test," even if that's not what the test was designed for. One shelter is facing a lawsuit after a dog that passed the SAFER test bit a child soon after adoption. In another news story, SAFER is being used to help a Toledo shelter make euthanasia decisions. A recent study (2012) found that "SAFER testing was unable to identify dogs with moderate aggression that could potentially be addressed with behavior modification." I see a full blog post coming on in the future! What do you think about temperament testing in shelter animals?

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2 thoughts on “Friday Faves March 21, 2014

  1. "Temperament testing" is a diagnostic tool - and not a predictive tool - as far as I am concerned. I have tested dogs that passed AFTER killing a human. And seen dogs that "failed" that have lived full and peaceful lives.

    1. Mikel Delgado

      Post author

      Jim, I agree with you completely. Unfortunately, most shelters use TT as a predictive tool...for many reasons, lack of time, resources, which case, is it useful at all?


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