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Putting the cart before the horse: claims for mirror self-recognition in horses are unfounded

Abstract

The recent article by Baragli, Scopa, Maglieri, and Palagi (Anim Cogn https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-021-01502-7, 2021) that claims to demonstrate mirror self-recognition (MSR) in horses is not based on compelling evidence. We identify problems with their experimental procedures, data, and assertion about “demonstrating MSR at group level.” Examples of these problems include incomplete experimental design, absence of important control conditions, inappropriate terminology, suboptimal mark application procedures and coding of videos, ambiguity of videos presented as supporting evidence, and inconsistencies in data presentation and interpretation. It is not the case that their study “marks a turning point in the analytical technique of MSR exploration.”

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Correspondence to Gordon G. Gallup Jr..

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Gallup, G.G., Anderson, J.R. Putting the cart before the horse: claims for mirror self-recognition in horses are unfounded. Anim Cogn 25, 1–4 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-021-01538-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-021-01538-9

Keywords

  • Mirror self-recognition
  • Contingency testing
  • Self-directed responses
  • Mark test