Duration of cats' (Felis catus) working memory for disappearing objects
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- Fiset, S. & Doré, F.Y. Anim Cogn (2006) 9: 62. doi:10.1007/s10071-005-0005-4
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This study explored the duration of cats' working memory for hidden objects. Twenty-four cats were equally divided into four groups, which differed according to the type of visual cues displayed on and/or around the hiding boxes. During eight sessions, the four groups of cats were trained to locate a desirable object hidden behind one of the four boxes placed in front of them. Then, the cats were tested with retention intervals of 0, 10, 30 and 60 s. Results revealed no significant differences between the groups during training or testing. In testing, the cats' accuracy to locate the hidden object rapidly declined between 0 and 30 s but remained higher than chance with delays of up to 60 s. The analysis of errors also indicated that the cats searched as a function of the proximity of the target box and were not subjected to intertrial proactive interference. This experiment reveals that the duration of cats' working memory for disappearing objects is limited and the visual cues displayed on and/or around the boxes do not help the cats to memorize a hiding position. In discussion, we explore why the duration of cats' working memory for disappearing objects rapidly declined and compare these finding with those from domestic dogs. The irrelevance of visual cues displayed on and around the hiding boxes on cats' retention capacity is also discussed.