Basic 'Aesop's Fable' Task Completed by Crows

by Himabindu Venkatakrishnan on  March 27, 2014 at 5:57 PM Research News
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Among 6 basic water displacement tasks, crows completed 4, including preferentially dropping stones into a water-filled tube instead of a sand-filled tube, choosing sinking objects to floating ones, using solid objects rather than hollow objects, and dropping objects into a tube with a high water level rather than a low one. However, they failed two more challenging tasks, one that required understanding of the width of the tube, and one that required understanding of counter-intuitive cues for a U-shaped displacement task. According to the authors, results indicate crows may possess a sophisticated—but incomplete—understanding of the causal properties of volume displacement, rivalling that of 5-7 year old children.
 Basic 'Aesop's Fable' Task Completed by Crows
Basic 'Aesop's Fable' Task Completed by Crows

Sarah Jelbert added, "These results are striking as they highlight both the strengths and limits of the crows' understanding. In particular, the crows all failed a task which violated normal causal rules, but they could pass the other tasks, which suggests they were using some level of causal understanding when they were successful."

Source: Eurekalert

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