Across the animal kingdom, individuals face choices between patience and impulsivity. A classic case, confronted by all animals--humans included--is that between a small, immediate food reward and a delayed, but larger, reward. In such cases, impulsivity typically trumps patience as individuals fail to delay gratification. But what factors influence these decisions? Researchers have gained new insight into this question by showing that the particular ways in which animals exhibit patience and impulsivity differ from one context to another and may be closely related to the animals ecological niches and their everyday interactions with the natural world.
Credit: Jeff Stevens
Comparing two monkey species with very different food-gathering strategies, the researchers show that the species exhibit differing propensities toward patience and impulsivity, depending on the context of the choice being made--for example, whether the trade-off for reward is temporal (waiting for a reward) or spatial (traveling for a reward). The work is reported by Jeffrey Stevens, Marc Hauser, and colleagues at Harvard University.
Earlier work by others had demonstrated that two species of New World monkeys--cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) and common marmosets (Callithrix jacchus)--behave impulsively, only waiting between eight and twenty seconds to receive a threefold increase in food reward. Those results also showed a significant species difference: Marmosets waited almost twice as long as tamarins for the larger reward. This pattern is consistent with each species foraging adaptations: Marmosets primarily feed on tree exudates, a food that requires the patience to wait for sap to exude, whereas tamarins feed on insects, a food that requires quick, impulsive action. Yet it had been unclear whether this impulsivity depended on context.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung
International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering