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Selected Publication:

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Type of publication: Journal Article
Type of document: Full Paper

Year: 2020

Authors: Rössler, T; Mioduszewska, B; O'Hara, M; Huber, L; Prawiradilaga, DM; Auersperg, AMI

Title: Using an Innovation Arena to compare wild-caught and laboratory Goffin"s cockatoos.

Source: Sci Rep. 2020; 10(1):8681

Authors Vetmeduni Vienna:

Auersperg Alice Isabel Marie
Huber Ludwig
Mioduszewska Berenika
O'Hara Mark Christopher
Rößler Theresa

Vetmed Research Units
Messerli Research Institute, Comparative Cognition

Project(s): Tool Manufacture in the Goffin´s cockatoo

Technical Innovativeness in the Goffin’s Cockatoo (Cacatua goffiniana)

The innovation problem: factors influencing innovative tool use in humaninfants and cockatoos

The ability to innovate, i.e., to exhibit new or modified learned behaviours, can facilitate adaptation to environmental changes or exploiting novel resources. We hereby introduce a comparative approach for studying innovation rate, the 'Innovation Arena' (IA), featuring the simultaneous presentation of 20 interchangeable tasks, which subjects encounter repeatedly. The new design allows for the experimental study of innovation per time unit and for uncovering group-specific problem-solving abilities - an important feature for comparing animals with different predispositions and life histories. We applied the IA for the first time to investigate how long-term captivity affects innovative capacities in the Goffin's cockatoo, an avian model species for animal innovation. We found that fewer temporarily-captive wild birds are inclined to consistently interact with the apparatus in comparison to laboratory-raised birds. However, those that are interested solve a similar number of tasks at a similar rate, indicating no difference in the cognitive ability to solve technical problems. Our findings thus provide a contrast to previous literature, which suggested enhanced cognitive abilities and technical problem-solving skills in long-term captive animals. We discuss the impact and discrepancy between motivation and cognitive ability on innovation rate. Our findings contribute to the debate on how captivity affects innovation in animals.

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