Advertisement

Animal Cognition

, Volume 21, Issue 3, pp 433–439 | Cite as

Spatial perseveration error by alpacas (Vicugna pacos) in an A-not-B detour task

  • José Z. AbramsonEmail author
  • D. Paulina Soto
  • S. Beatriz Zapata
  • María Victoria Hernández Lloreda
Short Communication

Abstract

Spatial perseveration has been documented for domestic animals such as mules, donkeys, horses and dogs. However, evidence for this spatial cognition behavior among other domestic species is scarce. Alpacas have been domesticated for at least 7000 years yet their cognitive ability has not been officially reported. The present article used an A-not-B detour task to study the spatial problem-solving abilities of alpacas (Vicugna pacos) and to identify the perseveration errors, which refers to a tendency to maintain a learned route, despite having another available path. The study tested 51 alpacas, which had to pass through a gap at one end of a barrier in order to reach a reward. After one, two, three or four repeats (A trials), the gap was moved to the opposite end of the barrier (B trials). In contrast to what has been found in other domestic animals tested with the same task, the present study did not find clear evidence of spatial perseveration. Individuals’ performance in the subsequent B trials, following the change of gap location, suggests no error persistence in alpacas. Results suggest that alpacas are more flexible than other domestic animals tested with this same task, which has important implications in planning proper training for experimental designs or productive purposes. These results could contribute toward enhancing alpacas’ welfare and our understanding of their cognitive abilities.

Keywords

Camelids Spatial cognition Response inhibition Inhibitory control 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Research reported in this study was partly supported by a Postdoctoral Scholarship FONDECYT No. 3140580 to J.Z. Abramson. We would like to thank the Gulmué Alpaca Breeding center for their willingness to facilitate the location and the animals for the study. We are grateful to Javier Perez de Arce for his enormous help with the handling of the animals, and the preparation of the experiment, and all the team that has cooperated with the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declared that they have no conflicts of interest with respect to their authorship and/or the publication of this article.

Ethical standards

This research adhered to the legal requirements of the country (Chile) in which the work was carried out and all institutional guidelines.

Supplementary material

10071_2018_1170_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (246 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 246 kb)

Supplementary material 2 (MP4 67367 kb)

References

  1. Bari A, Robbins TW (2013) Inhibition and impulsivity: behavioral and neural basis of response control. Prog Neurobiol 108:44–79CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Benítez V, Borgnia M, Cassini MH (2006) Ecología nutricional de la vicuña (Vicugna vicugna): un caso de estudio en la Reserva Laguna Blanca, Catamarca. In: Investigación, conservación y manejo de vicuñas. (Ed B. Vilá. – MACS Proyect), pp 51–67Google Scholar
  3. Brando S (2012) Animal learning and training. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 15(3):387–398CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bray E, MacLean E, Hare B (2013) Context specificity of inhibitory control in dogs. Anim Cogn 17(1):15–31CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Brucks D, Marshall-Pescini S, Wallis LJ, Huber L, Range F (2017) Measures of dogs’ inhibitory control abilities do not correlate across tasks. Front Psychol 8:849CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  6. Grassberger M, Sherman R, Gileva O (2013) Biotherapy—history, principles and practice, 1st edn. Springer, New York, pp 240–249Google Scholar
  7. Hare B, Woods V (2013) The genius of dogs, 1st edn. Oneworld Publications, RichmondGoogle Scholar
  8. Hare B, Brown M, Williamson C, Tomasello M (2002) The domestication of social cognition in dogs. Science 298(5598):1634–1636CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Jelbert SA, Taylor AH, Gray RD (2016) Does absolute brain size really predict self-control? Hand-tracking training improves performance on the A-not-B task. Biol Lett 12(2):20150871CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  10. Lund K, Maloney S, Milton J, Blache D (2012) Gradual training of alpacas to the confinement of metabolism pens reduces stress when normal excretion behavior is accommodated. ILAR J 53(1):E22–E30CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Mahoney S, Charry AA (2005) The use of alpacas as new-born lamb protectors to minimise fox predation. Ext Farming Syst J1:65–70Google Scholar
  12. MacLean E, Hare B, Nunn C et al (2014) The evolution of self-control. Proc Natl Acad Sci 111(20):E2140–E2148CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  13. Marín JC, Zapata B, González BA, Bonacic C, Wheeler JC, Casey C, Bruford MW, Palma RE, Poulin E, Alliende MA, Spotorno ÁE (2007) Sistemática, taxonomía y domesticación de alpacas y llamas: nueva evidencia cromosómica y molecular. Rev Chil Hist Nat 80(2):121–140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Marshall-Pescini S, Virányi Z, Range F (2015) The effect of domestication on inhibitory control: wolves and dogs compared. PLoS ONE 10(2):p.e0118469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Morand-Ferron J, Cole EF, Quinn JL (2015) Studying the evolutionary ecology of cognition in the wild: a review of practical and conceptual challenges. Biol Rev 91(2):367–389CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Nawroth C, Von Borell E, Langbein J (2014) Exclusion performance in dwarf goats (Capra aegagrus hircus) and sheep (Ovis orientalis aries). PLoS ONE 9(4):p.e93534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Osthaus B (2017) A-Not-B problem. In: Vonk J, Shackelford T (eds) Encyclopedia of animal cognition and behavior. Springer, Cham, pp 1–5Google Scholar
  18. Osthaus B, Marlow D, Ducat P (2010) Minding the gap: spatial perseveration error in dogs. Anim Cogn 13(6):881–885CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Osthaus B, Proops L, Hocking I, Burden F (2013) Spatial cognition and perseveration by horses, donkeys and mules in a simple A-not-B detour task. Anim Cogn 16(2):301–305CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Polgár Z, Miklósi Á, Gácsi M (2015) Strategies used by pet dogs for solving olfaction-based problems at various distances. PLoS ONE 10(7):p.e0131610CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wang H, Gallagher S, Byers S, Madl J, Gionfriddo J (2013) Retinal ganglion cell distribution and visual acuity in alpacas (Vicugna pacos). Vet Ophthalmol 18(1):35–42CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Wheeler JC (1995) Evolution and present situation of the South American Camelidae. Biol J Linnean Soc 54(3):271–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Psiquiatría, Centro Interdisciplinario de Neurociencias, Facultad de MedicinaPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Centro de Estudios AvanzadosUniversidad de Playa AnchaValparaisoChile
  3. 3.Facultad de Ciencias, Escuela de Medicina VeterinariaUniversidad MayorSantiago de ChileChile
  4. 4.Departamento de Metodología de las Ciencias del Comportamiento, Facultad de Psicología, Campus de SomosaguasUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain
  5. 5.Grupo UCM de Psicobiología Social, Evolutiva y ComparadaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain

Personalised recommendations