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Guinea Pigs - Sight, Smell or Memory

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by

Macey Dennison

on 19 February 2016

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Transcript of Guinea Pigs - Sight, Smell or Memory

Overview
For my RAP Project, I observed guinea pigs solving three different mazes, four separate times, using different senses each time through the maze.

The guinea pigs first took a control time run, a run using their sight, a run using their sense of smell, and another run using their memory of the maze.

My hypothesis: I predicted that the guinea pigs would primarily use their sense of smell when escaping the maze to their favorite treat.
A guinea pigs sight has been studied on many different occasions and it has been discovered that guinea pigs have dichromatic color vision, meaning like humans they are limited to seeing the visible spectrum. However, guinea pigs do not have good depth perception, this is seen when the guinea pigs ran into the sides of the maze. Guinea pigs are experts at detecting movement around themselves, in an attempt to escape from predators and this is seen when Mocha froze in the maze because of fear.
Sight

Guinea Pig Eyes
A guinea pig's sense of smell is the main and most important sense of a guinea pig. Guinea pigs use their sense of smell for mating, recognizing foods, and recognizing others. Before testing my experiment I had to discover which treat my guinea pigs enjoyed the most, unanimously the decision was spinach leaves. By using spinach leaves to motivate the guinea pigs, I was most effective with achieving optimum results.
Smell
Structure
A guinea pigs brain weighs approximately four grams and is the learning center for a guinea pig. Researches have found that guinea pigs cannot remember events relative to one another, meaning that the longer the time between the two events occurred, the weaker the memory becomes. A guinea pig can also remember in kinesthetic terms, also known as muscle memory.
Guinea Pig Memory
Guinea Pig Brain
The Mazes
After building the maze, the guinea pigs all took a control time with no variables.
The next run involved testing the guinea pig sight; to do this I placed neon green tape on the floor through the correct path.
The next run involved testing the guinea pig smell; to do this I rubbed spinach leaves violently against the floor and walls through the correct path.
The next run involved testing the guinea pig memory; to do this I placed the guinea pigs directly into the maze, with no other variables three days after seeing the maze for the first time.
The Experiment
Guinea Pigs - Sight, Smell or Memory?
Nostrils
A guinea pigs sense of smell is closely related to the sense of taste.
Maze 1
Maze 2
I used three simple maze designs and designed them using cardboard

Maze 3
The Guinea Pigs
Mocha
Chestnut
Karma
All are approximately 1 year old and females
The Data
See Paper
My data throughout the three trials concluded that my hypothesis was incorrect and that guinea pigs used their kinesthetic memory to assist them through the maze. Some ways that I could have improved my experiment were a larger sample size and reducing the amount of noise while performing my experiment.
Conclusion
In conclusion, the guinea pigs used kinesthetic memory to work their way through the maze the fastest.
Guinea Pig Eye
Full transcript