[MARMAM] new publication on dolphin cognition

Adam A. Pack pack at hawaii.edu
Tue Mar 20 09:06:24 PDT 2007


Dear colleagues:

We are pleased to inform you of the following new publication on 
bottlenosed dolphin cognition.  For pdf reprints, please contact Dr. 
Adam Pack at pack at hawaii.edu. I am out with our field project 
studying Maui's humpback whales right now, so email contact is best.

Pack, A. A. & Herman, L. M. (2007).  The dolphin's (Tursiops 
truncatus) understanding of human gazing and pointing: Knowing what 
and where.  Journal of Comparative Psychology, 121, 34-45.

The authors tested whether the understanding by dolphins (Tursiops 
truncatus) of human pointing and head-gazing cues extends to knowing 
the identity of an indicated object as well as its location. In
Experiment 1, the dolphins Phoenix and Akeakamai processed the 
identity of a cued object (of 2 that
were present), as shown by their success in selecting a matching 
object from among 2 alternatives
remotely located. Phoenix was errorless on first trials in this task. 
In Experiment 2, Phoenix reliably
responded to a cued object in alternate ways, either by matching it 
or by acting directly on it, with each type of response signaled by a 
distinct gestural command given after the indicative cue. She never 
confused matching and acting. In Experiment 3, Akeakamai was able to 
process the geometry of pointing cues (but not head-gazing cues), as 
revealed by her errorless responses to either a proximal or distal 
object simultaneously present, when each object was indicated only by 
the angle at which the informant pointed. The overall results 
establish that these dolphins could identify, through indicative cues 
alone, what a human is attending to as well as where.

With aloha,

Adam A. Pack, Ph.D.
Vice President and Program Manager for Research and Education
The Dolphin Institute
P.O. Box 700694
Kapolei, HI  96709
V/F:  808-679-3690
email: pack at hawaii.edu
website: www.dolphin-institute.org
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