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1245930.  Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:17 pm Reply with quote

A lot of our worldview is based on the concept of discrete objects.

Animals can't all do it - babies develop it at an early age.

But presumably this is more about human psychology than some fundamental truth.

What other animals understand objects?

1246023.  Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:16 pm Reply with quote

Depends what you mean by 'understand', surely?

1246224.  Mon Aug 21, 2017 2:17 am Reply with quote

That is true - I was referring here to object persistence - there have been experiments done on dogs that show they cannot maintain memory of an object once it is hidden from them (although can still find it via smell).

1246231.  Mon Aug 21, 2017 3:58 am Reply with quote

My friend's dogs almost certainly recognise guns as discrete objects. Whenever I am staying on the farm, if I emerge with a gun in my hand (perhaps a worryingly common occurence!) at least one of them will be at my side until I put it away, at which point I become uninteresting to them.

I am interested in how they establish that the dog does not remember an object, they can't ask them about it, showing them a picture of the object would be of limited use, what else do they do?

1246309.  Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:19 am Reply with quote

Interesting. Looking into this more, it seems my tutors at university were running on outdated information. Or I remembered it wrong, which is equally likely.

A study last year found that "although dogs are good at visible displacement tasks, in which an object disappears into a container, they can also understand an invisible displacement, in which the container holding the object is moved. Furthermore, we have found that dogs are able to show considerable memory for the invisibly displaced object."

I did wonder if I'd mis-remembered some experiments about early child development... but it turns out we're also pretty quick to develop object permanence.


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