Piagetian object permanence and its development in Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius)
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- Zucca, P., Milos, N. & Vallortigara, G. Anim Cogn (2007) 10: 243. doi:10.1007/s10071-006-0063-2
Object permanence in Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius) was investigated using a complete version of the Uzgiris and Hunt scale 1. Nine hand-raised jays were studied, divided into two groups according to their different developmental stages (experiment 1, older jays: 2–3 months old, n = 4; experiment 2, younger jays: 15 days old, n = 5). In the first experiment, we investigated whether older jays could achieve piagetian stage 6 of object permanence. Tasks were administered in a fixed sequence (1–15) according to the protocols used in other avian species. The aim of the second experiment was to check whether testing very young jays before their development of “neophobia” could influence the achievement times of piagetian stages. Furthermore, in this experiment tasks were administered randomly to investigate whether the jays’ achievement of stage 6 follows a fixed sequence related to the development of specific cognitive abilities. All jays tested in experiments 1 and 2 fully achieved piagetian stage 6 and no “A not B” errors were observed. Performance on visible displacement tasks was better than performance on invisible ones. The results of experiment 2 show that “neophobia” affected the response of jays in terms of achievement times; the older jays in experiment 1 took longer to pass all the tasks when compared with the younger, less neophobic, jays in experiment 2. With regard to the achieving order, jays followed a fixed sequence of acquisition in experiment 2, even if tasks were administered randomly, with the exception of one subject. The results of these experiments support the idea that piagetian stages of cognitive development exist in avian species and that they progress through relatively fixed sequences.