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Operant conditioning in a self controlling test with a reinforcement delay in Pygmy Hippos (Hexaprotodon liberiensis)
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology.
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The curiosity whether or not animals have the characteristics of long term planning skills is fairly new. Some researchers agree that certain species have a form of episodic-like memory, in the terms of where, when and what. But the most difficult thing is to find out if these species have an aim for the future which involves what some call mental time travel. This study is a part of the discussion if the tests in long term planning and foresight can be explained by associative learning and the ability of self control in highly trained animals. Many self control and delay tasks have been conducted with laboratory animals such as rats, pigeons, monkeys and apes. Here we made a self control test with a reinforcement delay in pygmy hippos (Hexaprotodon liberiensis), an endangered species (listed as vulnerable at Cites, 2000), to extend the test among species. Also for trying to find out more about their cognitive skills, so we can better fulfil their needs in captivity. In this study, the female succeeded in 71,1 % (27 out of 38 trials) of the opportunities and the male in 84,2 % (32 out of 38 trials). To our knowledge this is the first study of learning and cognition in Pygmy hippos.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. , 20 p.
National Category
Other Biological Topics Ecology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-65616ISRN: LITH-IFM-A-EX--10/2378—SEOAI: diva2:397213
2010-12-16, 09:30 (English)
Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics
Available from: 2011-02-15 Created: 2011-02-13 Last updated: 2011-02-15Bibliographically approved

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Nauman, Laila
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Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology
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