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The Thoughtful Animal

The Thoughtful Animal


Exploring the evolution and architecture of the mind
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Insights into the mind of a cat


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Apparently when something interests you, the best way to figure it out is to smack it really hard, and repeatedly. If you’re a cat, at least.
h/t @ferrisjabr

Jason G. Goldman About the Author: Dr. Jason G. Goldman received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at the University of Southern California, where he studied the evolutionary and developmental origins of the mind in humans and non-human animals. Jason is also an editor at ScienceSeeker and Editor of Open Lab 2010. He lives in Los Angeles, CA. Follow on . Follow on Twitter @jgold85.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. CRM-114 6:20 pm 08/15/2010

    I think hitting hard has to do with the perceived size of the thing. In contrast, a first encounter with a ping pong ball would be a light tap. A cat will tap a little puppy, but slug a big dog.

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  2. 2. Laura 3:51 am 08/16/2010

    I’m tempted to buy a treadmill just to see how my cats will react.
    Your YouTube link doesn’t seem to work any more, but I think this is the same video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeYKqRRKpDo

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  3. 3. Bob O'H 4:23 am 08/16/2010

    Damn, it’s been removed “due to terms of use violation”. Bum.

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  4. 4. Jason G. Goldman 1:35 pm 08/16/2010

    Thanks to Laura (@2), the evil cats are back messing with the treadmill.

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  5. 5. stripey_cat 3:57 pm 08/16/2010

    I saw a range of different touches – the poke and back off (which didn’t look like a hard strike to begin with) is the first, which makes sense if they’re expecting things to try to counterattack. I particularly liked the black-and-white cat trying to hold the belt back.

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  6. 6. dmk 9:26 pm 08/20/2010

    When in doubt, groom!

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