The development of support intuitions and object causality in juvenile Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius)

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Davidson, Gabrielle L.
Miller, Rachael
Loissel, Elsa
Cheke, Lucy G.
Clayton, Nicola S.
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Nature Publishing Group
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Knowledge about the causal relationship between objects has been studied extensively in human infants, and more recently in adult animals using differential looking time experiments. How knowledge about object support develops in non-human animals has yet to be explored. Here, we studied the ontogeny of support relations in Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius), a bird species known for its sophisticated cognitive abilities. Using an expectancy violation paradigm, we measured looking time responses to possible and impossible video and image stimuli. We also controlled for experience with different support types to determine whether the emergence of support intuitions is dependent upon specific interactions with objects, or if reasoning develops independently. At age 9 months, birds looked more at a tool moving a piece of cheese that was not in contact than one that was in direct contact. By the age of 6 months, birds that had not experienced string as a support to hold up objects looked more at impossible images with string hanging from below (unsupported), rather than above (supported). The development of support intuitions may be independent of direct experience with specific support, or knowledge gained from interactions with other objects may be generalised across contexts.
Support relations , Eurasian jay , Support intuitions
Davidson, G., Miller, R., Loissel, E., Cheke, L. G. and Clayton, N. S. (2017) ‘The development of support intuitions and object causality in juvenile Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius)’, Scientific Reports, 7, 40062 (10pp). doi:10.1038/srep40062
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