How did they get here from there? Detecting changes of direction in terrestrial ranging
Speaker: Richard Byrne and Peter Jupp (School of Psychology, School of Mathematics & Statistics)
Cognitive mapping skills are crucial to many species of animal, but the difficulties of studying cognitive maps under field conditions have hampered scientific understanding of environmental cognition. Data on natural travel patterns are abundant and easy to record, but hard to interpret when travel goals can be inferred only retrospectively. We present a method of finding change points in an animal’s travel path, i.e. of deciding the point(s) at which the path became directed at a subsequently-reached location, for instance a feeding site. We illustrate how it can be tailored to particular problems, and how it can aid in determining the cognitive basis of route choice in animals.