ABS 2022
Anticipating Events: Expectancy of Reward in Domestic Dogs (Canis familiaris) & Cats (Felis catus).
Melissa R Shyan-Norwalt, Katherine Murphy. Psychology Department, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Predatory species use different foraging strategies, depending on niche, prey type, & success probability. We tested three contradictory theories in domestic dogs & cats: Object Permanence (knowing an object (prey) still exists, even if no longer perceived). Expectancy of Reward (expect a specific reinforcer for a specific behavior because of prior pairings), and Learning Theory (reinforcement raises the likelihood of repeating behavior). Object Permanence predicts “go to where you last saw the prey hide.” Expectancy of Reward predicts “a low-value substitute increases frustration and search behaviors.” Learning Theory predicts “select the same choice, where you got reinforced” (Win/Stay). Thirty domestic dogs & five domestic cats were tested using a three-trial, two-choice Object Permanence task on 1) Visible Displacement, 2) Expectancy of Reward, 3) Win/Stay foraging strategy. For dogs, results support Object Permanence, Expectancy of Reward, and absence of Win/Stay. For cats, results were mixed: some showing Object Permanence & Expectancy of Reward; some showing Win/Stay. Results support others’ findings of flexible foraging strategies in dogs show, with cats are less so.