The order of things: the evolution of sequential planning

Project: Other

Project Details


The ability to plan for events that is outside of the sensory scope is a central cognitive capacity for humans and this ability was long considered to be uniquely human. Recent studies have challenged this belief, by showing
great apes and crow birds can flexibly plan for a future event. However, it is still not known whether any nonhuman animal can reason flexibly about sequences of future events, and how animals conceive of time in relation
to future episodes. In this project, we will measure sequential planning and temporal reasoning abilities in ravens and great apes. We will implement novel non-verbal behavioural planning tasks to test whether apes and ravens
can represent the specific before-after relationships of different future events and plan accordingly to reach their goal. The project creates a new avenue
in animal planning research and it will substantially increase our understanding of the architecture of planning abilities in animals. As it will implement more fine-grained studies, it will also reveal whether apes and crow birds
are similar even in their details, which has implications for the understanding of the evolution of cognition
Effective start/end date2019/01/012023/12/31


  • Swedish Research Council


  • planning sequential planning