Why do Dophins Play?

Play is an important aspect of dolphin life, perhaps even an essential one. Play provides opportunities for dolphin calves to practice and perfect locomotor skills, including those involved in foraging and mating strategies and behaviors. Play also allows dolphin calves to learn important social skills and acquire information about the characteristics and predispositions of members […]

General Intelligence as a Domain-Specific Adaptation

General intelligence (g) poses a problem for evolutionary psychology’s modular view of the human brain. The author advances a new evolutionary psychological theory of the evolution of general intelligence and argues that general intelligence evolved as a domain-specific adaptation for the originally limited sphere of evolutionary novelty in the ancestral environment. It has accidentally become […]

Rapid solving of a problem apparatus by juvenile black-throated monitor lizards (Varanus albigularis albigularis)

It is widely accepted that providing stimulus enrichment is an important part of the development and maintenance of behavior and well being in mammals. However, extending this idea to non-avian reptiles has barely been explored, certainly as an aid to cognitive development. Monitor lizards have a reputation for being highly curious and intelligent lizards, but […]

Individual variation in spontaneous problem-solving performance among wild great tits

Behavioural traits generally and cognitive traits in particular are relatively understudied in an evolutionary ecological context. One reason for this is that such traits are often difficult to characterize among large numbers of individuals, without the influence of diverse environmental effects swamping intrinsic individual differences. We conducted standardized assays on a natural population of great […]

How well do dingoes, Canis dingo, perform on the detour task?

The [`]detour task’ assesses spatial problem-solving abilities, requiring the subject to travel around a transparent barrier to obtain a reward. Recent studies have found that domestic dogs, Canis familiaris, generally perform poorly on this task, and fail to improve performance significantly after repeated trials or generalize problem-solving strategies when conditions are reversed. In contrast, wolves, […]

The challenge of challenge: Can problem solving opportunities enhance animal welfare?☆

Cognitive mechanisms are an important part of the organization of the behavior systems of animals. In the wild, animals regularly face problems that they must overcome in order to survive and thrive. Solving such problems often requires animals to process, store, retrieve, and act upon information from the environment—in other words, to use their cognitive […]

Great apes’ (Pan troglodytes, Pan paniscus, Gorilla gorilla, Pongo pygmaeus) understanding of tool functional properties after limited experience

Primates’ understanding of tool functionality has been investigated extensively using a paradigm in which subjects are presented with a tool that they must use to obtain an out-of-reach reward. After being given experience on an initial problem, monkeys can transfer their skill to tools of different shapes while ignoring irrelevant tool changes (e.g., color). In […]

Spontaneous discrimination of natural stimuli by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Six chimpanzees ( Pan troglodytes) were presented with pairs of color photographic images of 5 different categories of animals (cat, chimp, gorilla, tiger, fish). The subjects responded to each pair using symbols for “same” and “different.” Both within- and between-category discriminations were tested, and all chimpanzees classified the image pairs in accordance with the 5 […]

Cognitive style: problem solving by rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) reared with living or inanimate substitute mothers

Cognitive style, reflected in the generation of novel solutions and the use of identifiable response strategies in problem-solving situations, was contrasted in rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta) reared individually with either canine companions or inanimate surrogate mothers. Four experiments were conducted over a 5-year period, examining problem solving in relatively unstructured as well as more formal […]

Inhibitory Control and Response Selection in Problem Solving: How Cotton-Top Tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) Overcome a Bias for Selecting the Larger Quantity of Food

When presented with a choice between 1 and 3 pieces of food in a type of reversed contingency task, 4 cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) consistently chose the 3 pieces of food and received nothing, even though the choice of 1 piece would have yielded 3. However, in a task in which the tamarins received the […]