This work is based on my first phD project.
Cluster N is a region of the visual forebrain of nocturnally migrating songbirds that supports the geomagnetic compass of nocturnal migrants. Cluster N expresses immediate-early genes (ZENK), indicating neuronal activation. This neuronal activity has only been recorded at night during the migratory season. Night-to-night variation in Cluster N activity in relation to migratory behaviour has not been previously examined. We tested whether Cluster N is activated only when birds are motivated to migrate and presumably engage their magnetic compass. We measured immediate-early gene activation in Cluster N of white-throated sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) in three conditions: daytime, nighttime migratory restless and nighttime resting. Birds in the nighttime migratory restlessness group had significantly greater numbers of ZENK-labelled cells in Cluster N compared to both the daytime and the nighttime resting groups. Additionally, the degree of migratory restlessness was positively correlated with the number of ZENK-labelled cells in the nighttime migratory restless group. Our study adds to the number of species observed to have neural activation in Cluster N and demonstrates for the first time that immediate early gene activation in Cluster N is correlated with the amount of active migratory behaviour displayed across sampled individuals. We conclude that Cluster N is facultatively regulated by the motivation to migrate, together with nocturnal activity, rather than obligatorily active during the migration season.
THE SHORT TERM EFFECTS OF ACTION AND NON ACTION VIDEOGAME PLAY ON ATTENTION
This work is based on my undergraduate thesis at Algoma University in 2015.
Non videogame player scores on attentional tasks can improve after extended training with action videogames. Non videogame player scores on attentional tasks can also improve after extended training with non action videogames in some areas of attention. There has been less research performed with non action videogames and most research has focused on extended play. If the implication of video game training research is to improve attentional skills, then there must be research exploring the short term effects of video game play. I compared short term play in non action and action games. Participants either played a non action game or an action game, for either 10 or 30 minutes. An attentional blink task and visual search tasks were administered after play. Participants scored better on attentional blink after 30 minutes of action game play than after 30 minutes of non action videogame play. This implies that action games could improve attention more than non action games in a short term context.
DOMESTICATION AND COGNITIVE COMPLEXITY
Marino and Merskin (2019) list a number of tasks that sheep can perform well. As comparative psychologists, we are not surprised by these results. Indeed, many domesticated animal species show similar abilities.
COGNITIVE CONTINUITY IN COGNITIVE DISSONANCE
Zentall’s (2016) model of cognitive dissonance is compatible with cognitive continuity between humans and nonhumans. It may help explain cognitive dissonance-like behavior in many species, including humans. It is also consistent with Tinbergen’s (1963) ‘four whys’ in ethological explanation.
IT'S JUST EVOLUTION. COMMENTARY: A CRISIS IN COMPARATIVE PSYCHOLOGY: WHERE HAVE ALL THE UNDERGRADUATES GONE?
Abramson (2015) presents a series of arguments that support the notion that there is a crisis in comparative psychology. We have chosen to concentrate on one of his arguments, specifically the idea that comparative psychology is in crisis because nobody calls it comparative psychology anymore. Indeed, it seems that Abramson (2015) is concerned mostly with the name of the discipline, and not with the questions being asked.