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The overarching research question is to understand the principles of complex cognition by comparing different species that show cognitive complexity. One fruitful idea is to investigate the underlying cognitive mechanisms in vastly different animal groups such as corvids and great apes in order to understand if they also share similarities with such building blocks as they do with complex cognition. Such investigations of independently evolved cognitive skills can help us understand the principles of complex cognition. With this overarching question in mind, I work mainly with corvid birds as well as with parrots and great apes in their ability of self-control and prospective cognition. Self-control is a fundamental mechanism that plays role in various cognitive skills such as decision-making and planning, and we investigate it with the above-mentioned species using both motor self-regulation as well as intertemporal choice tasks. I also investigate the flexibility behind corvid planning skills by testing ravens (Corvus corax) in a non-caching context, using bartering and tool-use tasks. These experiments test the flexibility component because success in such tasks are hard to be explained by specific adaptations as those tasks are highly artificial. Documenting such flexibility component is important for the independent evolution of prospective skills as such skills have recenty been documented on great apes.

UKÄ subject classification

  • Humanities

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  • cognitive zoology


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