Azure-winged Magpies Cyanopica cyanus passed the tasks on the Uzgiris-Hunt scale of object permanence

Abstract

Object permanence is an important skill for cognitive development and is widely employed in comparative psychology. Developing full object permanence by animals is a dilemma to researchers. Similarly, the reasons for the A-not-B error sparked heated debate. To answer these questions, we tested eight hand-raised Azure-winged Magpies (Cyanopica cyanus) on Object permanence with Scale 1 tasks designed by Uzgiris and Hunt (Assessment in infancy: ordinal scales of psychological development, University of Illinois Press, Illinois, 1975). The results indicated that three of the eight Azure-winged Magpies passed all the tasks on Scale 1, providing evidence to support the inhibitory control hypothesis that explains A-not-B error. The current study indicated that the influence of social cues, experiential learning, and associative learning should be carefully considered. We recommend that giving different tasks to subjects of different ages may rule out lower-level factors in large studies. The current study will provide a base for future research on the object permanence of corvids.

Zusammenfassung

Azurelstern Cyanopica cyanus bewältigen die Aufgaben zur Objektpermanenz des Uzgiris-Hunt-Tests.

Objektpermanenz ist eine wichtige Fähigkeit für die kognitive Entwicklung, auf welche in der vergleichenden Psychologie an vielen Stellen zurückgegriffen wird. Die Ausbildung vollständiger Objektpermanenz bei Tieren stellt Forscher vor ein Dilemma. Gleichzeitig werden die Ursachen für den A-nicht-B-Suchfehler lebhaft diskutiert. Um diese Fragen zu beantworten, ließen wir acht handaufgezogene Azurelstern Cyanopica cyanus die Aufgaben zur Objektpermanenz (Stufe 1) nach Uzgiris und Hunt (1975) lösen. Die Ergebnisse zeigten, dass drei der acht Azurelstern alle Aufgaben der Stufe 1 bewältigen konnten, was die Impulskontrolle-Hypothese zur Erklärung des A-nicht-B-Suchfehlers unterstützt. Die vorliegende Arbeit macht deutlich, dass der Einfluss sozialer Signale sowie erfahrungsbasierten und assoziativen Lernens sorgfältig berücksichtigt werden müssen. Um untergeordnete Faktoren in großen Untersuchungsreihen auszuschließen, empfehlen wir, verschieden alten Versuchssubjekten verschiedene Aufgaben zu stellen. Diese Studie kann als Grundlage für zukünftige Forschungsarbeiten zur Objektpermanenz bei Corviden dienen.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31772470, J1210026). We thank Professor Cheng Huang for special venue support, Xinxin Wang, Yigui Zhang, and Yu Qin for taking care of the birds.

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Correspondence to Zhongqiu Li.

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The study was conducted according to the Ethics Review Committee of Nanjing University (No. 2009-116). All applicable international, national, and institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. This article does not contain any studies with human participants.

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Supplementary file1 Video 1 Task 3 of Boyce (AVI 1866 KB)

Supplementary file2 Video 2 Task 5 of Daniel (AVI 4172 KB)

Supplementary file3 Video 3 Task 8 of Daniel (AVI 3052 KB)

Supplementary file4 Video 4 Task 9 of Daniel (AVI 1915 KB)

Supplementary file5 Video 5 Task 15 of Boyce (AVI 8113 KB)

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Wang, L., Luo, Y., Maierdiyali, A. et al. Azure-winged Magpies Cyanopica cyanus passed the tasks on the Uzgiris-Hunt scale of object permanence. J Ornithol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10336-021-01856-2

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Keywords

  • Object permanence
  • Azure-winged Magpies
  • The A-not-B error
  • Neophobia
  • Associative learning