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Doing business with a parrot
Date:3/13/2013

This press release is available in German.

Waiting: a clever move!

In the 70ties, self-control of human infants was investigated using the prominent 'Stanford Marshmallow Experiment': the children were presented with a marshmallow and were told they could either eat it now or wait and receive a second one if the first one was still intact after a time delay of several minutes. Interestingly, children that were able to wait for the delayed reward showed greater success in adult life than the ones that ate the first marshmallow right away. The ability to anticipate a delayed gain is considered cognitively challenging since it requires not only the capacity to control an direct impulse but also to assess the gain's beneficial value relative to the costs associated with having to wait as well as the reliability of the trader. Such abilities can be considered precursors of economic decision making and are rarely found outside humans. Only few, typically large brained animals, have been shown to be able to inhibit the consumption of an immediate food reward in anticipation for a bigger one for more than one minute.

Speculative trading of the Goffin cockatoos

A new study at the University of Vienna, on an Indonesian cockatoo species the Goffin's cockatoo which recently made headlines, showed notable results. "The animals were allowed to pick up an initial food item and given the opportunity to return it directly into the experimenter's hand after an increasing time delay. If the initial food item had not been nibbled by this time, the bird received another reward of an even higher preferred food type or of a larger quantity than the initial food in exchange" explains Isabelle Laumer, who conducted the study at the Goffin Lab at the University of Vienna. "Although we picked pecan nuts as initial reward which were highly liked
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Contact: Alice Auersperg
alice.auersperg@univie.ac.at
43-142-777-6101
University of Vienna
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2

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