Animal Cognition

, Volume 19, Issue 5, pp 1043–1047 | Cite as

There’s no ball without noise: cats’ prediction of an object from noise

  • Saho Takagi
  • Minori Arahori
  • Hitomi Chijiiwa
  • Mana Tsuzuki
  • Yuya Hataji
  • Kazuo Fujita
Short Communication

Abstract

We used an expectancy violation procedure to ask whether cats could use a causal rule to infer the presence of an unseen object on hearing the noise it made inside a container and predict its appearance when the container was turned over. We presented cats with either an object dropping out of an opaque container or no object dropping out (turning-over phase) after producing either a rattling sound by shaking the container with the object inside, or no sound (shaking phase). The cats were then allowed to freely explore the experimental environment (exploration phase). The relation between the sound and the object matched with physical laws in half of the trials (congruent condition) and mismatched in the other half (incongruent condition). Inferring the presence of an unseen object from the noise was predicted to result in longer looking time in the incongruent condition. The prediction was supported by the cats’ behavior during the turning-over phase. The results suggest that cats used a causal-logical understanding of auditory stimuli to predict the appearance of invisible objects. The ecology of cats’ natural hunting style may favor the ability for inference on the basis of sounds.

Keywords

Cats Felis catus Inference Causal-logical understanding Expectancy violation method 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saho Takagi
    • 1
  • Minori Arahori
    • 1
  • Hitomi Chijiiwa
    • 1
  • Mana Tsuzuki
    • 1
  • Yuya Hataji
    • 1
  • Kazuo Fujita
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Graduate School of LettersKyoto UniversitySakyo, KyotoJapan

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