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The learning abilities of hamsters who have been showered with affectionFeatured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This experiment was performed to find out if hamsters that are shown human affection are able to learn more quickly compared to those that were not given any affection. The learning ability of each hamster was judged using a maze

Hypothesis

Hamsters that are shown human affection will be able to learn more quickly.

Scientific Terms

Emotions, environment

Background

Animals and emotions

Scientists still disagree if animals have emotions like we humans do. We all know that animals feel pain and care for their newborn, but we do not know if these acts are done out of emotion or instinct.

Animals that are domesticated at home, lab specimens, animals in our zoos and animals found in the wild may all respond differently in a certain environment.

Animals that are caged up in a zoo or a laboratory will not have much opportunity to interact with people and the outside world. This would have suppressed their curiosity and learning abilities. This may be very much like a child  who  does not go to school  to  interact with other children and who may therefore lose the interest or desire to learn.

On the other hand, animals that are kept as pets at home (if they are well taken care of) and those that live in the wild will have plenty of opportunities to interact with others and their environments. Their curiosity and learning abilities will be enhanced from practice and they are also livelier and healthier.
 

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Complexity level:
6
Project cost ($):
40
Time required:
5 days to prepare, 7 days for observation
Material availability:
Hamsters may be purchased at a pet store
Safety concerns:

Be careful when handling hamsters. Although they can be friendly, they do also bite when nervous or upset. Wear gloves to prevent injury.