If you’ve ever spent time with cats, you’ve probably noticed that they love packing in small, convenient boxes. You might not know that they will also be sitting inside a 2D square diagram on the floor. Plus, a new study found that cats will automatically sit inside an optical illusion that appears to be just a square.
It is believed to be the first of its kind a study Engage volunteers to observe cats in their homes, a strategy to avoid what has historically been a major obstacle to studying feline knowledge in the laboratory – the uncooperative nature of cats.
“Cats are funny, cats are weird and weird and we love them for that. In some ways, they’re difficult to study, because we often rely on training models and cats aren’t very enthusiastic about training,” he says. Gabriella SmithThe study is being led by an animal behavior researcher currently working with the Alex Foundation, an avian cognition lab.
Although there is a lot of research on dog identification, Illness Scientists have tried to explore the inner world of cats. For example, no one knows exactly why cats have to sit inside small boxes.
“There are two informal theories as to why they’re in a box,” Smith says. And one of them is that cats crave Calm the stress on their bodies Reminds them of when they were little surrounded by classmates. Another reason is that cats are associated with potential shelters due to the way they create prey when hunting.
“But that doesn’t explain why it translated into a 2D shape on the ground,” Smith notes, explaining that the cat, for example, will also sit inside a square shape created on the floor with duct tape.
I was wondering how the cats would interact with what is known as Kanisa contour illusionThis uses the four shapes of Pac-Man to create a square look.
“Cats behave naturally when they are in a natural environment,” Smith notes, so she and her colleagues devised an experiment that allowed volunteers to test their cats at home in a standardized way and then send the results back.
Participants received brochures with instructions on how to print and cut paper shapes that could be attached to the floor to create three options: Kanizsa, actual square diagrams, and a control converted to Pac-Man shapes. The volunteers were instructed to videotap their cats when they encountered these stimuli on short six-day tests, while the volunteers wore sunglasses to inadvertently give the cats any eye signals.
While hundreds of people signed up for the experiment, the researchers eventually obtained complete data on just 30 cats. Their results? The cats chose to sit on the phantom square as they did in a real square style – rather than a non-square arrangement.
To the best of her knowledge, Smith says this is the first published study of feline perception that non-scientists have accepted to conduct experiments at home. Never be a researcher Christine Vitali Unity College agrees in Maine.
“Citizen science can be a useful way to reach a wide range of feline participants from all over the world,” says Vitale. “It’s also a great way for an owner to learn more about his cat’s behavior.”
However, he points to the number of people who have dropped out and says that future efforts in this direction may need to be shorter and easier to ensure that volunteers can complete all required tasks.
“This study is in line with previous research indicating that cats, like humans, are susceptible to various optical illusions,” Vitali adds. Past workFor example, show that cats engage in hunting behavior when they see an imaginary movement such as Turn the illusion of snakes.
There is even one a studyIt was performed in a laboratory in 1988 to examine the reactions of two cats to the same contour illusion used in Smith’s new experiment. Randolph BlakeCognitive neuroscientist, now at Vanderbilt University, did the work earlier. It included two kittens who were trained to touch their noses when they saw a square shape on a screen to earn a reward for food.
Blake says the cats did the task multiple times in a highly controlled environment, allowing scientific rigor to provide evidence that cats personally perceived the imaginary square.
In contrast, this latest study has the advantage of testing untrained cats in a more natural environment, although it provided less data because many of the participants left the study. Since cats are so short and close to the ground, Blake notes, you may have seen shapes on the ground from an angle that make cats less likely to perceive the illusion of a square as taller people.
However, he says the researchers were aware of the limitations of their findings, and says the study cleverly exploited the natural desire of domestic cats to occupy an enclosure.
Blake says I really appreciate and appreciate what they did, adding that he wonders what happened in the minds of feline monsters when they saw strange signs stuck to the ground and their owners were photographed with dark glasses.
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