History of the "Clever Hans", Training of animals...

History of "Clever Hans"

At the beginning of the XX century. The history of the "Clever Hans" (Figure 6.4) - a horse that demonstrated the ability to add numbers, extract roots, answer questions, etc.

Von Osteen with clever Hans

Fig. 61.4. In. background Austen with clever Hans

In the years 1900-1904. Baron V. von Austen, convinced of the incredible mental faculties of horses, taught several of them the distinction of colors, the alphabet and the account. Recognition of each letter or figure of a horse, denoted by the appropriate number of strokes of the hoof. A friend of the Austen background, the artist Redlich taught his dog in the same way. The most capable pupil of von Osten was Orlov trotter Hans, who produced quite complex arithmetic calculations, answered various questions, and sometimes spoke on his own initiative. So, the spouses Η. N. and A. F. Kotts, who specially came to meet him in 1913, told that after several relatively short answers to the questions Hans declared: "In the field I met the sweet lady Kral, who fed me."

His behavior was so impressive that it deceived not only the public, but even the members of special commissions, including Η. N. Ladyginu-Cotes. In the beginning, the members of the commission assumed that the owner, like an ordinary trainer of circus animals, gave the horse some hidden signals. However, as H. N. Ladygin-Kotts, surveys of working conditions of the horse by 13 experts under the guidance of the psychologist K. Stumif did not find any deception. They testified that Hans really "counts" and no hidden signals are given to him. Only much later, observers gradually noticed that Hans answers only those questions, the answer to which the experimenter himself knows. A special analysis, conducted by the psychologist O. Pfungst, showed that the animal reacts to the smallest involuntary (ideomotor) movements of the experimenter, for example, on body deflections of 2 mm, micromotion of eyebrows, facial expressions, etc. This involuntary signaling occurred, apparently, because of the emotional stress of a person, as the number of strokes of the hoof approached the desired one. Even the cardboard shield, which the experimenter tried to isolate from Hans, did not help: the animal still caught some clear signs to him to determine the correct answer.

To test his assumption, O. Pfungst specifically taught Hans to react to the micromovements he was already doing consciously, and demonstrated to the commission the mechanism and nature of the "mathematical abilities" this horse.

Training animals in vivo

The laboratory study of conditioned reflexes is carried out in purely artificial conditions, as much as possible protected from the effects of external stimuli, which can interfere with the experience and distort its results. The experimental chambers are made soundproof, there are no foreign odors, the chambers are protected from vibration, constant temperature, humidity, light, etc. are kept in them. For the development of conditioned reflexes, the most uncomplicated stimuli are usually selected: calls, whistles, light of an electric bulb, metronome knock, clean tones, tactile effects on certain areas of the skin.

At the same time, the world in which all living beings dwell is oversaturated with irritants. We are constantly hearing some sounds: the pictures change before our eyes; Always something smells; the skin receptors transmit to the brain information about the breezes of a warm breeze, a tingle of frost, an unpleasant sensation from the drop of a note dripping down on the face. Very rarely a situation arises when simple single stimuli inform us about the phenomena of the surrounding world.

So, for a wolf a deer is not only a complex of visual stimuli; about its presence, the predator is informed by the smell, the roar of a deer, the clatter of hooves, the crackling of twigs and branches, the rustle of the beast, the rustle of the grass and the alarming cry of the bird that flew away as it approached. That is why the conditioned reflexes of animals living in a habitual environment are usually developed for whole complexes of stimuli. The formation of animal behavior in a natural setting is a synthesis of behavioral acts typical of the species and individual experience of the animal acquired in the process of life under complex, ever-changing conditions.

The process of accumulation of individual experience by each animal begins almost from birth. Congenital behavior like a snowball builds up with acquired components, which are harmoniously integrated into instinctive behavior. It should be noted that the skills that the animal possesses during the course of life are formed at different rates, have different strengths, and arise under the influence of various stimuli. In addition to the well-studied types of conditioned reflexes under laboratory conditions, some others appear in natural conditions.

Thus, scientists distinguish the following types of training observed in a natural setting: natural conditioned reflexes, imprinting, or imprinting, mediated or imitating strong> training, as well as forms of training such as obligate and optional.

thematic pictures

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