Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Wanting Ahead: Birds Plan For Future Desires

Date:
April 27, 2007
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
For a long time, it had been argued that only humans can draw on past experiences to plan for the future, whereas animals were considered "stuck in time." However, it has become clear that some animals can indeed plan for future needs. Surprisingly, the most convincing examples of future planning are not derived from our closest relatives, the apes, but from a bird, the Western scrub-jay.

Western scrub-jay.
Credit: Karney, Lee/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

For a long time, it had been argued that only humans can draw on past experiences to plan for the future, whereas animals were considered "stuck in time." However, it has become clear that some animals can indeed plan for future needs. Surprisingly, the most convincing examples of future planning are not derived from our closest relatives, the apes, but from a bird, the Western scrub-jay.

Related Articles


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 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.

The researchers include Sιrgio P.C. Correia of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, UK and Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciκncia in Oeiras, Portugal; Anthony Dickinson and Nicola S. Clayton of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, UK.

The work was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Grant BB/D00033, and conducted within the United Kingdom Medical Research Council Co-operative Grant G9805862. This work adhered to University of Cambridge policies on animal husbandry and welfare.

Correia et al.: "Western Scrub-Jays Anticipate Future Needs Independently of Their Current Motivational State." Publishing in Current Biology 17, May 15, 2007. 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Wanting Ahead: Birds Plan For Future Desires." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070426145131.htm>.
Cell Press. (2007, April 27). Wanting Ahead: Birds Plan For Future Desires. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070426145131.htm
Cell Press. "Wanting Ahead: Birds Plan For Future Desires." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070426145131.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Former NFL Players Donate Brains to Science

Reuters - US Online Video (Mar. 3, 2015) — Super Bowl champions Sidney Rice and Steve Weatherford donate their brains, post-mortem, to scientific research into repetitive brain trauma. Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Alzheimer's Protein Plaque Found In 20-Year-Olds

Newsy (Mar. 3, 2015) — Researchers found an abnormal protein associated with Alzheimer&apos;s disease in the brains of 20-year-olds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) — Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) — Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins