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  Does absolute brain size really predict self-control? Hand-tracking training improves performance on the A-not-B task

Jelbert, S. A., Taylor, A. H., & Gray, R. D. (2016). Does absolute brain size really predict self-control? Hand-tracking training improves performance on the A-not-B task. Biology Letters, 12(2). doi:10.1098/rsbl.2015.0871.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-2A2F-E Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0000-2A30-B
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Jelbert, Sarah A., Author
Taylor, Alexander H., Author
Gray, Russell D.1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Linguistic and Cultural Evolution, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074311              

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 Abstract: Large-scale, comparative cognition studies are set to revolutionize the way we investigate and understand the evolution of intelligence. However, the conclusions reached by such work have a key limitation: the cognitive tests themselves. If factors other than cognition can systematically affect the performance of a subset of animals on these tests, we risk drawing the wrong conclusions about how intelligence evolves. Here, we examined whether this is the case for the A-not-B task, recently used by MacLean and co-workers to study self-control among 36 different species. Non-primates performed poorly on this task; possibly because they have difficulty tracking the movements of a human demonstrator, and not because they lack self-control. To test this, we assessed the performance of New Caledonian crows on the A-not-B task before and after two types of training. New Caledonian crows trained to track rewards moved by a human demonstrator were more likely to pass the A-not-B test than birds trained on an unrelated choice task involving inhibitory control. Our findings demonstrate that overlooked task demands can affect performance on a cognitive task, and so bring into question MacLean’s conclusion that absolute brain size best predicts self-control.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2016-02-032016
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: 4
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 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0871
Other: shh927
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Title: Biology Letters
  Other : Biol. Lett.
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: London, [England] : The Royal Society
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 12 (2) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 1744-9561
CoNE: /journals/resource/954925580128