Dolphins demonstrate coordinated cooperation

Kyoto University

Summary:

Researchers investigated the cooperative abilities of dolphins. Utilising a simplified Hirata Task, the team found that dolphins coordinated their behaviour to work together on a shared task. Specifically, the ‘initiator’ would wait on their partner and the ‘follower’ would coordinate their swimming speed to match the initiator’s behaviour.

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Cooperation is one of the most important abilities for any social species. From hunting, breeding, and child rearing, it has allowed many animals — including humans — to survive and thrive. As we better understand the details on how animals work together, researchers have been focusing on the degree of cooperation and the cognitive abilities required for such activity.

But much of the reporting comes from the observations of terrestrial animals, with comparably little data on aquatic species. One notable example is the dolphin. They are well known to operate in social groups — a group of dolphins is a pod — in a ‘fission-fusion society’, where groups merge and split over time. Previous studies have even suggested that dolphins may understand a partner’s role in cooperative tasks.

However, due to the complex mechanics of conventional experiments it was difficult to determine how this behaviour was characterised in dolphins.

Researchers at Kyoto University’s Primate Research Institute, Kindai University, and Kagoshima City Aquarium decided to investigate such behaviour by simplifying the previous experimental conditions. Their report was published in the journal PeerJ.

“In our investigation, we wanted to find out how bottlenose dolphins coordinate their cooperative behaviour. Our setup was the Hirata’s rope-pulling task: where two dolphins pull on opposite ends of a rope simultaneously to receive rewards.” explains first author Chisato Yamamoto.

The Hirata task, or the cooperative pulling paradigm, has been used to demonstrate that a significant number of animals — including chimpanzees, dogs, and elephants — have cooperative abilities.

And it appears dolphins are just as cooperative. In their test, the researchers first sent out the initiators in the direction of the task, then and after a few seconds a follower was sent. They observed that the initiator waited for their partner to reach the task, and the follower would coordinate their swimming speed to match the initiator’s behaviour.

“Having initiators and followers coordinate behaviour for a task has previously been observed in chimpanzees and orangutans,” continues Yamamoto. “But dolphins appear to be more flexible in their coordination, capable of changing their actions depending on where their partner is.”

Team leader Masaki Tomonaga explains that this coordination is likely rooted in their patterns of affiliative behavior, a method of social interactions that functions to reinforce social bonds with a group.

“Synchronized swimming in is one of these affiliative behaviours. How social characteristics influence cooperative systems may be one of the important questions that will reveal the evolution of cooperation in mammals.”

 

Punishment- For all animal trainers

Operant conditioning- Punishment

 

Many trainers believe punishment is the answer!!

Negative effect of punishment, weather is for dolphins, sea lions, dogs or human.

 

The side effects of punishment 

Punishment differs from negative reinforcement in that it aims to decrease the likelihood of the response occurring. Punishment is the introduction of an unpleasant stimuli such as a hit or yell, whereas negative reinforcement is taking away the unpleasant stimulus to increase the probability of the response occurring.

Potential punishers are any consequences which might lead to a decrease in the response. Some consequences may be punishing for some people, but not others.

Side-effects of punishment include aggression, frustration, avoidance learning, escape learning and learned helplessness. The punishment may not decrease the behaviour at all but teach the child to be aggressive or avoid the punishes. Sometimes the punishment ends up being positive reinforcement or only serves to satisfy the frustration of the punisher.

Effective punishment should address the subject’s actions and not the subject’s character. It should be related to the undesirable behaviour and it should consist of penalties or response cost (the removal of a reinforcer) rather than psychological or physical pain.

 

 

Alison.com

Animal Training- Behaviour Stages

Based on positive reinforcement, operant conditioning

Many trainers when they are training a new behaviour they believe that once the basics steps of a behaviour is thought the it’s completed or finished. This is contradictory as we clearly know that is more difficult to keep a behaviour continuously on shape than training it for first time.

When training animals for public interaction your behaviour must be at criteria in order to develop a quality service.

If you were a guest and you were having a unique experience such as an interaction with these animals. Which of these images you would you like to take with you?

This is the reason why in this case trainers and video department must work together and synchronised, so others could take with them the best memory ever!!!