Document Detail

Flexibility of cue use in the fox squirrel (Sciurus niger).
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18350324     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Recent work on captive flying squirrels has demonstrated a novel degree of flexibility in the use of different orientation cues. In the present study, we examine to what extent this flexibility is present in a free-ranging population of another tree squirrel species, the fox squirrel. We trained squirrels to a rewarded location within a square array of four feeders and then tested them on transformations of the array that either pitted two cue types against one cue type, the majority tests, or all cue types against each other, the forced-hierarchy test. In Experiment 1, squirrels reoriented to the two-cue-type location in all majority tests and to the location indicated by the visual features of the feeders in the forced-hierarchy test. This preference for visual features runs contrary to previous studies that report the use of spatial cues over visual features in food-storing species. In Experiments 2-5 we tested squirrels with different trial orders (Experiments 2 and 3), a different apparatus (Experiment 4) and at different times of the year (Experiment 5) to determine why these squirrels had chosen to orient using visual features in the first experiment. Like captive flying squirrels, free-ranging fox squirrels showed a large degree of flexibility in their use of cues. Furthermore, their cue use appeared to be sensitive both to changes in the test apparatus and the season in which we tested. Altogether our results suggest that the study of free-ranging animals over a variety of conditions is necessary for understanding spatial cognition.
Anna S Waisman; Lucia F Jacobs
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2008-03-19
Journal Detail:
Title:  Animal cognition     Volume:  11     ISSN:  1435-9456     ISO Abbreviation:  Anim Cogn     Publication Date:  2008 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-09-09     Completed Date:  2009-02-17     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9814573     Medline TA:  Anim Cogn     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  625-36     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Psychology, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720-1650, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Psychological
Discrimination Learning*
Recognition (Psychology)*
Sciuridae / psychology*
Space Perception
Spatial Behavior*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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