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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    As I have six cats with different backgrounds, I could assess their reaction to foreign objects (by using objects they're very unlikely to have ever encountered before), in an attempt to help confirm or disprove this hypothesis. I'm just a little fuzzy on what *exactly/concretely* they mean with cross-context stability, and how to avoid it.
    What you are aiming to get out of your tests is a single possible conclusion. If you are looking at their reaction to new objects, you need to know it is because it is a new object, not because all objects are red, square shaped, smell good or anything.

    I believe by "cross-context stability", they mean a behavioural pattern exists across a range of contexts. This establishes it as something deeper and consistent within the creature, rather than something caused by a set circumstances. The thing they were telling you to avoid is having common factors between your objects or scenarios. If there is a common factor other than the one you intend (new object), then you do not know that common factor is not the cause of their behaviour instead. So you need a set of tests that have nothing in common except the thing you want to test for. If you see the same behaviour from the cat in all tests, you have a case for saying that thing determines the cat to behave in a certain way. If you do it for all the cats, you have a comparison between cats, and can look for trends there. The main thing is to have data that is meaningful and you can conclude something from with some certainty.
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  2. #12
    Senior Member Qre:us's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amargith View Post
    I'm just a little fuzzy on what *exactly/concretely* they mean with cross-context stability, and how to avoid it.
    Cross-context stability would mean that although they're all different things/stimuli, their underlying mechanism/process is the same, so, what you may interpret as 10 different reactions to 10 different stimuli, it might very well be that it's 1 base reaction for all 10 different things, as the underlying cause for all the reactions for all the 10 cases are the same.

    E.g., I can't fully recall now, it's been a while since my animal psych courses, but, there's a reason it's really easy to teach seals to balance a ball on their snout, but you can't do that with another snouted animal, or a beaver (I think) to do something-something...cuz it tapped into an evolutionary advantageous instinctual trait[s] of theirs.

    Maybe you want to narrow down a specific instintual behaviour of cats [e.g., hunting techniques] [specific is key in conducting a research]. And, find novel things that could still induce the patterns of behaviours you would see in any cats for hunting techniques. Then, you see if you work out all the likely variables influencing that response[s], and manipulate one, while keeping the rest the same, and so on, to see if there are differences, and if so, why that variable induced a difference. Or, whether it was a specific individuality of the cat.

    Repeated trials would be key as your sample size is 6. Use the subjects as a control for themselves.

  3. #13
    The High Priestess Amargith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qre:us View Post
    Cross-context stability would mean that although they're all different things/stimuli, their underlying mechanism/process is the same, so, what you may interpret as 10 different reactions to 10 different stimuli, it might very well be that it's 1 base reaction for all 10 different things, as the underlying cause for all the reactions for all the 10 cases are the same.

    E.g., I can't fully recall now, it's been a while since my animal psych courses, but, there's a reason it's really easy to teach seals to balance a ball on their snout, but you can't do that with another snouted animal, or a beaver (I think) to do something-something...cuz it tapped into an evolutionary advantageous instinctual trait[s] of theirs.

    Maybe you want to narrow down a specific instintual behaviour of cats [e.g., hunting techniques] [specific is key in conducting a research]. And, find novel things that could still induce the patterns of behaviours you would see in any cats for hunting techniques. Then, you see if you work out all the likely variables influencing that response[s], and manipulate one, while keeping the rest the same, and so on, to see if there are differences, and if so, why that variable induced a difference. Or, whether it was a specific individuality of the cat.

    Repeated trials would be key as your sample size is 6. Use the subjects as a control for themselves.
    Actually, what you're referring to with the seal is the fact that it's easier to teach for instance a predator to grab something with their mouth (like a ball), than a herbivore, as this is natural behavior to them (carrying prey). A seal balances fish on his nose and tosses them about like that, if I remember correclty. A beaver for instance, you'll be able to chew through a piece of rope to lift a door out of the way to the food


    Tnx to both of you for the clarification. I was thinking of maybe introducing different people, kids, adults, men, women that they don't know at all, and different objects that are unlikely to have ever been present in their lives (even with their diverse backgrounds). That way you can monitor the behavior 'any change in environment' brings about and see if there's a similarity. But I like your 'hunting example' too...

    I also thought of maybe doing research on somethign that's actually of value to me. I recently bought a new type of litter, one which is mixed with babypowder. I was goign to recommend it to one of my friends who's cats are peeing in the house (It's a great litter, one which most cats would prefer). However...my friend is pregnant, and i'm wondering if babypowder in the litter will not confuse the cats to go pee at places where babypowder is used once the baby is born. So..I figured it would be a cool research. You think it's doable?
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