Friday Faves September 19, 2014

Why would deer respond to human infant cries?

Two deer species have been found responding to distress cries of other species, including seals and humans. Why? These sounds all share some common sound structures and patterns, but the deer only responded when the frequency of non-deer cries was similar to that of their own infants. Structure and pattern may be a universal way to detect "someone is in danger" - and it may be helpful to know there is danger in the area, even if those making the calls are a different species. Read more here.

My Thumbnail

Dolphins give victory squeal

When dolphins complete a task successfully and get a fish, they let out a "victory squeal." But turns out the sound is not just for the fish! They also make the victory squeal when the trainer blows the whistle that tells them "good job! fish are coming" - showing the power of associative learning and signals (such as clickers and other secondary reinforcers) that indicate a reward is on the way. Learn more here!

My Thumbnail

Are Dogs Susceptible to the Placebo Effect?

Looks like...yes! Dogs that were given a tranquilizer for separation anxiety continued to experience reduced anxiety even when given a vitamin pill. It's possible that the dogs learned that taking a pill = feeling less anxious, and this effect continued even when the pill was inert. Fascinating! And again shows the power of associative learning!

My Thumbnail

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *