Navigation Links
Tracking feline memories on the move
Date:8/20/2007

When a cat steps over an obstacle with its front legs, how do its hind legs know what to do" A new study in the August 21st issue of Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press, reveals that it is the foreleg stepping movement itself that leaves a lasting impression. By comparison, feline memories of having just seen an obstacle proved rather fleeting.

Indeed, the researchers found that cats could remember having stepped over a hurdle for at least ten minutes. The findings suggest that cats working memories can extend much longer than earlier studies had shown, according to the researchers.

"We've found that the long-lasting memory for guiding the hind legs over an obstacle requires stepping of the forelegs over the obstacle," said Keir Pearson of the University of Alberta, Canada. The main surprise was how short lasting the visual memory on its own wasjust a few seconds when animals were stopped before their forelegs stepped over the obstacle.

The researchers examined the animals memories by stopping cats after their forelegs, but not their hind legs, had cleared an obstacle. They then distracted the animals with food and lowered the obstacle into the walking surface. The nature of the subsequent step revealed whether the animal remembered having stepped over the disappearing obstacle. To find out whether the cats remembered what they saw versus what they did, Pearsons group repeated the experiment, but this time they stopped the cats just before they made their first step.

The results revealed that when the animals stepped over the obstacle with the forelegs they remembered this action for a long time and stepped up with their hind legs to clear the necessary height. However, if the forelegs did not step over the obstacle, the memory of the obstacle was quickly lost; simply seeing that an obstacle lay in their path wasn't enough.

Animals, including humans, unconsciously keep track of the location of objects relative to the body as they move, and this tracking is largely dependent on signals associated with movement of the body, Pearson said.

Although it is not entirely clear how the four-legged stepping of cats relates to people, Pearson said such memories might play a role in humans ability to navigate objects in the darkfor example, when you move through a cluttered room in the light, turn out the light, and continue avoiding objects you can no longer see.

Rock climbers might experience a similar phenomenon, Pearson added. We have not tested this yet, but it is possible that the trajectory of the hands relative to potential impediments establishes a memory for guiding the trajectory of the feet in the absence of vision, he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Nancy Wampler
nwampler@cell.com
617-386-2121
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New Technique for Tracking Gene Regulators
2. Findings have implications for tracking disease, drugs at the molecular level
3. Radio-tracking associated with dramatic shift in water vole sex ratio
4. How satellite tracking revealed the migratory mysteries of endangered Atlantic loggerhead turtles
5. UQ researcher tracking key to healing the brain
6. Tracking the memory trace
7. Concern over fast tracking of new drugs
8. New way of tracking muscle damage from radiation
9. Tracking sperm whales and jumbo squid
10. Philandering female felines forgo fidelity
11. Disrupting Cocaine-memories To Battle Addiction
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2016)... Calif. , Feb. 2, 2016  Based ... market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes US-based Intelligent Retinal ... Frost & Sullivan Award for New Product Innovation. ... in North America , is ... the rapidly growing diabetic retinopathy market. The IRIS ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... , Feb. 1, 2016  Today, the first day ... announced plans to develop a first of its kind ... of IBM Watson. In the first application of ... (NYSE: IBM ), and Welltok will create a ... assessments with cognitive analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization ...
(Date:1/28/2016)... 28, 2016 Synaptics (NASDAQ: SYNA ), a leading ... second quarter ended December 31, 2015. --> ... fiscal 2016 increased 2 percent compared to the comparable quarter last ... fiscal 2016 was $35.0 million, or $0.93 per diluted share. ... for the first quarter of fiscal 2016 grew 9 percent over ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... Sunnyvale, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 09, 2016 ... ... will present its latest innovations on its free and validated Electronic Data Capture ... Booth #81 the Outsourcing in Clinical Trials West Coast 2016 Conference in San ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The American Academy of Thermology (AAT) has announced ... AAT Member Certification Qualification Course for Technicians via a two part webinar on July ... a detailed review of hardware, software, and camera setup/operations, aligns with the in-person member ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... , ... February 09, 2016 , ... ... Vice President for Public Policy for the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). ... groups to ensure their voices are heard throughout the drug regulatory review process. ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... , Feb. 9, 2016 This market research ... current and future prospects of the market in terms ... include companies engaged in the manufacture of microbiology culture ... summary with a market snapshot providing the overall information ... this report. This section also provides the overall information ...
Breaking Biology Technology: