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Die Neugier des Kea: Kontext, Ursachen und Folgen

Abstract
Wider research contextHumans are a remarkably curious species. Our curiosity allows us to discover what is new, choose what information to attend to, and seek explanations by forming and testing hypotheses about our world. While human psychology has established a critical role of curiosity in our learning and decision making, we know surprisingly little about nonhuman curiosity, due in part to its complexity and the fragmented nature of existing research on this topic. These limitations can be overcome by examining curiosity from multiple angles, teasing apart its different components, including how these are expressed in various contexts, and what the behavioral and cognitive outcomes of curiosity are. Research questions/objectivesThis project offers one of the first systematic investigations of curiosity in nonhuman animals, the results of which will create a more coherent empirical framework for understanding this topic across species. Using the highly inquisitive kea parrot as a model species, and focusing on several types of curiosity, I aim to answer four major questions: 1) In what contexts does curiosity reveal itself? 2) What are the triggers of curiosity? 3) What is the function of curiosity?4) How is information gathered and used?Approach/methodsThe project outlines five behavioral studies designed to tease apart types of curiosity and the contexts in which they occur. Study 1 examines responses to novelty, and how they change depending on food availability. Study 2a examines whether curiosity is triggered by surprising events, and whether kea seek explanations about these events. Study 2b examines whether kea can discriminate between different types of information, and how this varies according to the cost of gathering information. Study 3 examines the function of curiosity in facilitating learning. Study 4 examines how kea change their exploration when they create novel effects, and whether they generate and test causal hypotheses about these effects. Level of originality/innovationCuriosity is widely accepted as playing a critical role in behaviour and cognition, but we still possess a surprisingly limited understanding of this phenomenon, how to best classify it, and how it operates in nonhuman animals. This project teases apart several types of curiosity and examines them from multiple overlapping angles, providing new data on how curiosity is expressed in different contexts, what triggers it, and how information is gathered and used. By applying this systematic approach within a single, diverse population with known life history and cognitive performance in a range of tasks, we can also gain insight into how it varies according to demographic variables and whether it correlates with other cognitive abilities. Primary researchers involvedThe applicant will be the Principal Investigator on the project, designing and carrying out all research, with data collection assistance from a student research assistant.
Kurzbezeichnung
Kea curiosity
Projektleitung
Lambert Megan
Laufzeit
01.02.22-31.01.26
Programm
FWF Einzelprojekte
Art der Forschung
Grundlagenforschung
Beteiligte Vetmed-Organisationseinheiten
Messerli Forschungsinstitut, Abteilung für Vergleichende Kognitionsforschung
Gefördert durch
FWF - Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung, Wien, Österreich

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