Preliminary Investigation of Caprine Learning and Memory

Friday, 13 February 2015
Exhibit Hall (San Jose Convention Center)
Lydia N. Burcham, State Road, NC
This study examined the ability of five goats to learn through discrimination and observational learning. It also examined the goats’ ability for memory. The purpose of the study was to gain further knowledge in the area of caprine learning. Performance on each task was compared in a single subject design. The goats learned to discriminate between a black bucket and a white bucket. The overall learning increased from a 43% correct rate to a 98% correct rate over the course of the eight sessions. The goats maintained a 90% correct rate in the discrimination test when examining the long term memory from the learned tasks. The area of observational learning proved to be the highest level of skill for the goats tested. They began with an 87% success rate and were at a 100% success rate by the end of the testing sessions. These results indicate that caprines have a high capacity for learning and are certainly not deserving of the bad press they often receive.