The Western scrub-jay is native to the western United States, and, like squirrels and other food-caching animals, these birds readily store food for the future and recover their caches at a later date. It was already known that the jays can plan ahead and store food in places where they have learned they will be hungry the next morning and where they know the type of food will not be available. But a key issue had remained unresolved—namely, whether the birds can plan ahead in response to a motivation or desire they do not experience in the present. In other words: Can the birds know what they are going to want in the future?
In new research, appearing online on April 26th in the journal Current Biology, published by Cell Press, Sergio Correia, Tony Dickinson, and Nicky Clayton of the University of Cambridge, UK, used a phenomenon called “specific satiety” to address this issue. Like many other animals, when sated of one type of food, Western scrub-jays prefer to eat and store another type of food. Correia and colleagues used this effect to ask whether the birds prefer to store the food they want now or the food they think they will want when they come to recover their caches in the future. At the start of the experiment, the birds stored the food they desired at the time, but the birds switched to storing the food that was valuable at the time of recovery rather than the one they wanted to eat at the time of caching.
These experiments provide the first-ever evidence that animals can plan future actions not only on the basis of what they currently desire, but also on the basis of what they anticipate they will desire in the future. This is another striking example of how animals show features of intelligence that were once thought to be uniquely human.
Erin Doonan | EurekAlert!
Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine
13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
13.12.2017 | Life Sciences