Document Detail


New Caledonian crows reason about hidden causal agents.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22988112     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
The ability to make inferences about hidden causal mechanisms underpins scientific and religious thought. It also facilitates the understanding of social interactions and the production of sophisticated tool-using behaviors. However, although animals can reason about the outcomes of accidental interventions, only humans have been shown to make inferences about hidden causal mechanisms. Here, we show that tool-making New Caledonian crows react differently to an observable event when it is caused by a hidden causal agent. Eight crows watched two series of events in which a stick moved. In the first set of events, the crows observed a human enter a hide, a stick move, and the human then leave the hide. In the second, the stick moved without a human entering or exiting the hide. The crows inspected the hide and abandoned probing with a tool for food more often after the second, unexplained series of events. This difference shows that the crows can reason about a hidden causal agent. Comparative studies with the methodology outlined here could aid in elucidating the selective pressures that led to the evolution of this cognitive ability.
Authors:
Alex H Taylor; Rachael Miller; Russell D Gray
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2012-09-17
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America     Volume:  109     ISSN:  1091-6490     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-03     Completed Date:  2012-12-31     Revised Date:  2013-07-11    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7505876     Medline TA:  Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  16389-91     Citation Subset:  IM    
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. alexander.taylor@auckland.ac.nz
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MeSH Terms
Descriptor/Qualifier:
Animals
Cognition / physiology*
Crows / physiology*
New Caledonia
Problem Solving / physiology*
Tool Use Behavior / physiology*
Comments/Corrections
Comment In:
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jan 29;110(5):E336   [PMID:  23345454 ]
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jan 29;110(5):E337   [PMID:  23479782 ]
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jan 22;110(4):E273   [PMID:  23315084 ]
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jan 22;110(4):E274   [PMID:  23463876 ]

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine


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