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Thread: Ravens don't like to be cheated

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    Ravens don't like to be cheated

    from Science

    No one likes a con artist. People avoid dealing with characters who have swindled them in the past, and—according to new research—birds avoid those people, too. Ravens, known more for their intelligence, but only slightly less for their love of cheese, were trained by researchers to trade a crust of bread for a morsel of cheese with human partners. When the birds then tried to broker a trade with “fair” and “unfair” partners—some completed the trade as expected, but others took the raven’s bread and kept (and ate) the cheese—the ravens avoided the tricksters in separate trials a month later. This suggests that ravens can not only differentiate between “fair” and “unfair” individuals, but they retain that ability for at least a month, the researchers write this month in Animal Behavior.
    Link to the Journal

    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 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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    In other words, they got cheesed off and held a grudge.
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    Wonder if cats remember that long?
    Crows and ravens seem remarkably smart/retentive for their brain size.

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    So after being cheated out of both bread & cheese the raven cries out "Never More!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Squink View Post
    Crows and ravens seem remarkably smart/retentive for their brain size.
    I've wondered for a while if brain size, or even brain size to body size ratio, is really a good predictor of intelligence.

    However, how social the animal is, does seem to correlate well with intelligence, though I don't know which is the cause and which is the effect, or if it is more complex than a simple cause-effect relationship.
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    In a similar remarkable experiment, crows quickly learned to recognize a particular mask on a human and continued to dislike it years later. Even young crows hatched after the initial experiment recognized the mask, having apparently learned from their elders.
    http://www.nwf.org/news-and-magazine...ing-faces.aspx
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    Cut the jokes, folks, save them for Fun & Games, or at least until we've had some normal conversation about science. You know, what this board is for.

    This isn't the first amazing story about raven or crow behavior and learning abilities. Fascinating every time. What I haven't read about (and I haven't worked through this paper yet) is control checks. How wel do other species of birds do? Is the crow family so much smarter than others, or just the best studied and thus the best subjects for studies like these? What about hawks and such?
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    Quote Originally Posted by slang View Post
    Is the crow family so much smarter than others, or just the best studied and thus the best subjects for studies like these? What about hawks and such?
    Good questions.

    This is completely anecdotal, but people I talk to that work with such birds (like people at the wildlife rehab center that is part of the park where I volunteer) say that hawks and owls are actually kind of dumb, and the "wise old owl" myth has almost no basis in reality. The hawks and owls seem quite content to sit on their perches all day and do nothing, whereas the crow and the two turkey vultures have all sorts of enrichment (toys) or they get bored.
    Last edited by Swift; 2017-Jun-12 at 06:57 PM. Reason: stupid typo
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    Humans are very social and reciprocal, yet we seem to respond to cheating much more forgivingly or forgetfully than ravens. Or at least, we seem very easy and eager to be convinced that we were never cheated at all. Many humans even seem to take it as a personal affront if someone suggests they have been cheated; the more obvious the cheat, the greater the defensiveness about it.

    I guess ravens don't really value (or know?) if they are made to look foolish to other ravens. They just want their food.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squink View Post
    Wonder if cats remember that long?
    Crows and ravens seem remarkably smart/retentive for their brain size.
    It turns out bird brains have smaller scale neurons so they pack more in and they also operate faster than ours. Dogs or rather wolves were recently shown to have a sense of fair play and this counters the theory that dogs learned that from living with humans. However domestic dogs do learn to put up with more unfairness, like for example not sharing all the meals.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I've wondered for a while if brain size, or even brain size to body size ratio, is really a good predictor of intelligence.

    However, how social the animal is, does seem to correlate well with intelligence, though I don't know which is the cause and which is the effect, or if it is more complex than a simple cause-effect relationship.
    Current thinking seems to be that increased cognitive abilities are a significant benefit for social species, that it takes a lot of brain power, relatively speaking, to navigate all the relationships and interactions of a social group and that therefore there is selection pressure for increased cognitive abilities in social species.

    That doesn't necessarily answer the which came first question though. That is likely one of those questions that is impossible to know with any confidence, except maybe that neither one came first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrell View Post
    Current thinking seems to be that increased cognitive abilities are a significant benefit for social species, that it takes a lot of brain power, relatively speaking, to navigate all the relationships and interactions of a social group and that therefore there is selection pressure for increased cognitive abilities in social species.

    That doesn't necessarily answer the which came first question though. That is likely one of those questions that is impossible to know with any confidence, except maybe that neither one came first.
    also that increased cognitive ie consciousness may be associated with mobility. This is basically to better find distributed food. and to find distributed mates. but especially food as mating can use unique signalling while food may be trying to avoid you.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I've wondered for a while if brain size, or even brain size to body size ratio, is really a good predictor of intelligence.

    However, how social the animal is, does seem to correlate well with intelligence, though I don't know which is the cause and which is the effect, or if it is more complex than a simple cause-effect relationship.
    With birds it is different. Their flight needs have resulted in a different system of intelligence to overcome size ratio issues found typically in mammals. I suspect it is analogous to having smaller memory hard wired into a computer and a bulky hard drive - not a perfect analogy but still.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I've wondered for a while if brain size, or even brain size to body size ratio, is really a good predictor of intelligence.

    However, how social the animal is, does seem to correlate well with intelligence, though I don't know which is the cause and which is the effect, or if it is more complex than a simple cause-effect relationship.

    I once saw a documentary in which they were comparing animals on the basis of intelligence. They would build puzzles for the various critters and watch them try to solve.

    To make it short crows (same as raven? idk) crows crushed it. They were solving Rube Goldberg style puzzles in seconds that I honestly doubt I could solve without looking harder at it than the crow did.

    After watching that show I now welcome our new Raven overlords. All must bow.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Hypmotoad View Post
    ...

    After watching that show I now welcome our new Raven overlords. All must bow.
    If you like a show, but as science fiction with a fair dash of mythology, with birds as overlords, try the French made movie "Immortal". One of my favourites, watched it again, and again. It's not for everyone, even your average sci-fi fan, which is one of the reasons I like it so much.

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    I saw that too--what Stargate should have been. Planetary Traveler (1997) is also nice.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    I saw that too--what Stargate should have been. Planetary Traveler (1997) is also nice.
    Thanks for that reference. I checked it out, it was interesting. As a result, I noticed that someone on youtube was having a go at remaking another French classic "Fantastic Planet". I hope whoever it is sees the project through even though the renderings of the original are now set in stone as masterful. Immortal Ad Vitam has thus far received moderate reception. A bit like Blade Runner, I'm predicting in time it will be regarded as a masterpiece.

    "Nikopol: [language]

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    : Coming from a human, remarks like that don't carry much weight.
    Deserved an academy award for that dialogue alone IMO. The film is littered with great dialogue, some of it surprisingly tender.

    One of the most beautifuI feelings you'll experience here...

    But I love you. You first!

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    Last edited by slang; 2017-Jul-10 at 04:31 PM. Reason: language

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    The discussion about fiction involving ravens is off-topic for this thread and needs to stop.
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