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Ravens remember the nature of a single reciprocal interaction sequence over 2 days and even after a month

Müller, Alejandro J.; Massen, J. J.M.; Bugnyar, T. and Osvath, M. LU (2017) In Animal Behaviour 128. p.69-78
Abstract

To explain reciprocity, direct or indirect, several proximate mechanisms have been proposed, yet little attention has been given to the specific underlying cognitive mechanisms. Regardless of what proximate rules underlie reciprocity, some kind of memory would be paramount. Corvids in general, and ravens, Corvus corax, specifically, have been shown to possess an array of sophisticated cognitive mechanisms involved in memory. In this study, we tested the memory of nine ravens in an exchange paradigm where they could exchange a low-quality for a high-quality food item. Specifically, we tested whether they remembered who was a reliable ‘fair’ experimenter and who would not reliably exchange (the ‘unfair’ experimenter), and whether they... (More)

To explain reciprocity, direct or indirect, several proximate mechanisms have been proposed, yet little attention has been given to the specific underlying cognitive mechanisms. Regardless of what proximate rules underlie reciprocity, some kind of memory would be paramount. Corvids in general, and ravens, Corvus corax, specifically, have been shown to possess an array of sophisticated cognitive mechanisms involved in memory. In this study, we tested the memory of nine ravens in an exchange paradigm where they could exchange a low-quality for a high-quality food item. Specifically, we tested whether they remembered who was a reliable ‘fair’ experimenter and who would not reliably exchange (the ‘unfair’ experimenter), and whether they would subsequently choose to interact with the former when given the choice. In addition, we tested whether ravens that observed the initial seeding of information about who was ‘fair’ or ‘unfair’ could transform bystander information into first-person interactions, i.e. also preferring to interact with the ‘fair’ experimenter when given the choice. The results show that ravens with first-hand experience were more likely to interact with experimenters with whom they had had a positive previous experience, and that this memory lasted at least 1 month. In contrast, observers did not distinguish between the experimenters when given the choice to interact with them. Previous first-hand experience with the paradigm, however, seemed to help observers to be more successful in solving the task, albeit not significantly above chance. In sum, this study shows memory for direct reciprocity in ravens, and tentatively suggests memory for indirect reciprocity. Accordingly, these results provide hints for the underlying mechanism of memory in raven social interactions.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
animal memory, common ravens, cooperation, exchange paradigm, indirect reciprocity, reciprocity
in
Animal Behaviour
volume
128
pages
10 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85018455666
  • wos:000404576700009
ISSN
0003-3472
DOI
10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.04.004
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8d35c968-aec5-45d0-9f2c-f33408cd3b7d
date added to LUP
2017-05-17 13:30:30
date last changed
2017-09-18 11:36:04
@article{8d35c968-aec5-45d0-9f2c-f33408cd3b7d,
  abstract     = {<p>To explain reciprocity, direct or indirect, several proximate mechanisms have been proposed, yet little attention has been given to the specific underlying cognitive mechanisms. Regardless of what proximate rules underlie reciprocity, some kind of memory would be paramount. Corvids in general, and ravens, Corvus corax, specifically, have been shown to possess an array of sophisticated cognitive mechanisms involved in memory. In this study, we tested the memory of nine ravens in an exchange paradigm where they could exchange a low-quality for a high-quality food item. Specifically, we tested whether they remembered who was a reliable ‘fair’ experimenter and who would not reliably exchange (the ‘unfair’ experimenter), and whether they would subsequently choose to interact with the former when given the choice. In addition, we tested whether ravens that observed the initial seeding of information about who was ‘fair’ or ‘unfair’ could transform bystander information into first-person interactions, i.e. also preferring to interact with the ‘fair’ experimenter when given the choice. The results show that ravens with first-hand experience were more likely to interact with experimenters with whom they had had a positive previous experience, and that this memory lasted at least 1 month. In contrast, observers did not distinguish between the experimenters when given the choice to interact with them. Previous first-hand experience with the paradigm, however, seemed to help observers to be more successful in solving the task, albeit not significantly above chance. In sum, this study shows memory for direct reciprocity in ravens, and tentatively suggests memory for indirect reciprocity. Accordingly, these results provide hints for the underlying mechanism of memory in raven social interactions.</p>},
  author       = {Müller, Alejandro J. and Massen, J. J.M. and Bugnyar, T. and Osvath, M.},
  issn         = {0003-3472},
  keyword      = {animal memory,common ravens,cooperation,exchange paradigm,indirect reciprocity,reciprocity},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {06},
  pages        = {69--78},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Animal Behaviour},
  title        = {Ravens remember the nature of a single reciprocal interaction sequence over 2 days and even after a month},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.04.004},
  volume       = {128},
  year         = {2017},
}