19 June 2009

So Cats really aren't as clever as dogs and psychologists?

Psychology lecturer Britta Osthaus has concluded that cats do not understand cause-and-effect connections between objects and is thus nit as bright as the average psychologist

She tested the thought processes of 15 of them by attaching fish and biscuit treats to one end of a piece of string, placing them under a plastic screen to make them unreachable and then seeing if the cats could work out that pulling on the other end of the string would pull the treat closer.

They were tested in three ways, using a single baited string, two parallel strings where only one was baited, and two crossed strings where only one was baited.
The single string test proved no problem, but unlike dogs no cat consistently chose correctly between two parallel strings. With two crossed strings, one cat always made the wrong choice and others succeeded no more than might be expected by chance.

Osthaus, of Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, said: "This finding is somehow surprising as cats regularly use their paws and claws to pull things towards them during play and hunting. They performed even worse than dogs, which can at least solve the parallel string task."

Quite clearly this experiment shows nothing of the sort. It fails to take account of the fact that cats know full well that nothing is worth doing that needs much effort. Ask any cat about the experiment and they will point out that that sooner or later they were going to get fed by the psychologist, so why waste important energy that could be better employed in a nice long rest.

I rest my case!

13 comments:

angus said...

Absolutely right, they say that Dogs have owners and cats have servants, at least my cat does.

James Higham said...

cats do not understand cause-and-effect connections between objects

That's completely true and I can give an example from two days ago. You could give thousands.

Dragonstar said...

I totally agree with you Jams! Now if the psychologist really wanted to test her hypothesis, she'd have to starve the cats into working for their food - and I've not met anyone who can survive the demands of a hungry cat (or even one that THINKS it's hungry) for very long.

Sean Jeating said...

Analogue to Schrödinger's Cat I suggest an experiment titled "Ted's Psychologist".

Bengbeng said...

haha.. i agree with your reasoning though it may be a cynical view of their research :)

ian said...

of all the problems of the world, we just HAVE to understand and sort out cat-dog-human behavior... interesting research agenda this psychologist has...

Renegade Eye said...

How many humans can even work that puzzle?

CherryPie said...

I think the psychologist needs to get another vocation in life!

hipparchia said...

cats apparently don't have very good visual acuity [the article doesn't say whether dogs have an advantage here], so maybe they just can't see the strings well enough to figure out which goes with what.

RJ Flamingo said...

I'm with you on this one, Jams! Why bother with one lousy bit on a string, when a bowl will be forthcoming anytime now? Seems to me, the only problem-solving cats have difficulty with, is getting us humans to hurry up! :-)

jams o donnell said...

Haha thanks everyone!

At the end of the day cats do not need to pull stings in an experiment,, why bother when they pull our strings!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Right you are, Jams. Besides, this experiment shows one closet feline hater. Needs some taking care of...

jams o donnell said...

A 3am stratch at the door methinks!