Decisions involving the use of tools may require an agent to consider more levels of relational complexity than merely deciding between an immediate and a delayed option. Using a new experimental approach featuring two different types of tools, two apparatuses as well as two different types of reward, we investigated the Goffin cockatoos' ability to make flexible and profitable decisions within five different setups. Paralleling previous results in primates, most birds overcame immediate drives in favor of future gains; some did so even if tool use involved additional work effort. Furthermore, at the group level subjects maximized their profit by simultaneously considering both the quality of an immediate versus a delayed food reward (accessible with a tool) and the functionality of the available tool. As their performance levels remained stable across trials in all testing setups, this was unlikely the result of a learning effect. The Goffin cockatoos' ability to focus on relevant information was constrained when all task components (both food qualities, both apparatuses and both tools) were presented at the same time.
Animals Behavior, Animalphysiology Cockatoosphysiology Decision Making Female Learning Male Reward