This is Scientific American — 60-Second Science. I'm Jason Goldman.
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Psychologist Saho Takagi, a graduate student at Kyoto University in Japan, strolls into one of Japan's many cat cafes. These establishments allow customers to pay an hourly fee for the chance to cuddle some cats. They're popular in Japan because so many apartment buildings forbid pet ownership. But Takagi isn't a typical customer. She's not there for feline affection, but to probe their minds.
The psychology of domestic cats is still something of a mystery, despite our overwhelming familiarity with the critters. They have many skills, she tells me through an interpreter, that are not well known even to their owners.
Takagi and her colleagues wanted to see whether domestic cats have an intuitive understanding of cause-and-effect, but to make it a fair test, they decided to let the cats use their ears instead of only their eyes. Cats are ambush hunters, and rely on their sense of hearing to locate their prey.
The cats—30 of them, mostly from cat cafes, plus a few pets—were shown a series of demonstrations. For example, a researcher would shake a box, accompanied by the sound of an object bouncing around inside. Then the cat would be allowed to see inside the container.
If the cat expects to find a ball inside the box, it would stare longer if the box turned out to be empty, rather than if the ball was there as expected. Psychologists call this a "violation of expectation" response. If they expected a ball and were surprised not to find one—or vice versa—it suggests that cats have certain expectations about the physical realities of the world.
And the cats did stare longer at those containers that violated their expectations, as if to suggest that they realized that something in the situation was amiss. The findings were published in the journal Animal Cognition.
Takagi suspects that this ability might be related to cats'hunting skills. Despite years of domestication, we initially kept them around as a form of pest control, so it makes sense that cats would have retained their knack for hunting.
Next, Takagi wants to see just how much information domestic cats can extract about objects, like quantity or size, based on what they hear. Eventually, she hopes to do similar experiments with wild cats as well, to see whether her hunting hunch is right.
Thanks for listening the Scientific American — 60-Second Science Science. I'm Jason Goldman.
日本有多家猫咪主题咖啡馆，心理学家、日本京都大学研究生高木佐保走进其中一家咖啡馆 。在这些场所，顾客按小时付费，便可拥抱猫咪 。这些咖啡馆在日本非常流行，因为许多公寓楼禁止养宠物 。但是高木并不是一个典型的顾客 。她来到这里并不是为了获得猫咪的情感，而是来调查它们的想法 。
虽然我们非常熟悉小动物，但家猫的心理仍是一个未解之谜 。她通过一名翻译告诉我，猫咪们有许多连它们的主人都不太清楚的技能 。
高木和她的同事想了解家猫是否对因果关系有直观的理解，为了进行公平的测试，他们决定让猫咪用听觉来测试，而非仅仅靠视力 。猫咪属于伏击型猎人，可以依靠听觉来定位猎物 。
30只猫咪中，多数猫来自猫咪主题咖啡馆，还有几只是宠物物，这些猫进行了一系列展示 。举个例子，一名研究人员晃动一个盒子，里面的一个物体发出弹来弹去的声音 。然后让猫查看盒子的内部 。
如果猫咪期待在盒子里找到一个球，可是盒子却是空的，那相较于如它所料找到球的情况，它盯着盒子的时间要更长 。心理学家将这种反应称之为“期望悖反” 。如果它们期望会有一个球，但惊奇地发现并没有球——或反之——这表明猫对物理现实世界有一定的预期 。
而且，如果结果与它们的期望相反，那猫咪确实会盯着盒子更长的时间，就好像在说它们意识到了一些不正常的情况 。这项研究结果发表在《动物认知》杂志上 。
高木认为这种能力可能与猫的捕猎技能有关 。尽管经过了多年的驯化，但是我们最初将猫咪养在身边是作为“害虫防治”的一种形式，因此猫会保留捕猎本领这个观点是有道理的 。
接下来，高木想弄明白根据它们所听到的，家猫可以提取多少与物体有关的信息，这些信息包括数量或体积 。最后，她希望对野生猫科动物进行类似的实验，以观察她的狩猎预感是否正确 。
谢谢大家收听科学美国人——60秒科学 。我是杰森·古德曼 。
1. instead of 代替…；而不是…；
例句：The promotion of Russell instead of Sarah really made the sparks fly.
2. rely on 依赖；依靠；
例句：Don't rely on him to do anything he's just a talker.
3. turn out 原来是；结果发现；
例句：Even the best theory can turn out to be wrong.
4. vice versa 反之亦然；反过来也一样；
例句：Energy transmutes into matter and vice versa.
5. stare at 凝视；盯着看；
例句：He stared at me with sharp eyes.
6. as if 好像；仿佛；
例句：It seems as if he knows everything.
7. make sense (行为方式)有道理，合乎情理；
例句：In evolutionary terms, this correlation may make sense.