Perceptual Learning: Cortical Changes When Cats Learn a New Trick

Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, MA, USA.
Current biology: CB (Impact Factor: 9.57). 07/2010; 20(13):R557-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.05.004
Source: PubMed


A new study has found that the tuning properties of neurons in the primary visual cortex of cats change as they learn an orientation-discrimination task, casting new light on the neuronal basis of perceptual learning.

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    ABSTRACT: The domestic cat (Felis silvestris catus) has shared an intertwined existence with humans for thousands of years, living on our city streets and in our homes. Yet, little scientific research has focused on the cognition of the domestic cat, especially in comparison with human's other companion, the domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris). This review surveys the current status of several areas of cat cognition research including perception, object permanence, memory, physical causality, quantity and time discrimination, cats' sensitivity to human cues, vocal recognition and communication, attachment bonds, personality, and cognitive health. Although interest in cat cognition is growing, we still have a long way to go until we have an inclusive body of research on the subject. Therefore, this review also identifies areas where future research must be conducted. In addition to the scientific value of future work in this area, future research on cat cognition could have an important influence on the management and welfare of pet and free-roaming cats, leading to improved human-cat interactions.
    Animal Cognition 07/2015; 18(6). DOI:10.1007/s10071-015-0897-6 · 2.58 Impact Factor


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