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Data Learning Impulsivity from Learning and motor inhibitory control in crows and domestic chickens

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posted on 12.10.2021, 16:45 by Claudia A. F. Wascher, Katie Allen, Georgine Szipl
Cognitive abilities allow animals to navigate through complex, fluctuating environments. In the present study, we tested the performance of a captive group of eight crows, Corvus corone and 10domestic chickens, Gallus gallus domesticus, in the cylinder task, as a test of motor inhibitory control and reversal learning as a measure of learning ability and behavioural flexibility. Four crows and nine chickens completed the cylinder task, eight crows and six chickens completed the reversal learning experiment. Crows performed better in the cylinder task compared with chickens. In the reversal learning experiment, species did not significantly differ in the number of trials until the learning criterion was reached. The performance in the reversal learning experiment did not correlate with performance in the cylinder task in chickens. Our results suggest crows to possess better motor inhibitory control compared with chickens. By contrast, learning performance in a reversal learning task did not differ between the species, indicating similar levels of behavioural flexibility. Interestingly, we describe notable individual differences in performance. We stress the importance not only to compare cognitive performance between species but also between individuals of the same species when investigating the evolution of cognitive skills.