Blue tits are outperformed by great tits in a test of motor inhibition, and experience does not improve their performance

Utku Urhan* (Corresponding author), Magnus Mårdberg, Emil Isaksson, Kees van Oers, Anders Brodin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Motor inhibition refers to the ability to inhibit immediate responses in favour of adaptive actions that are mediated by executive functions. This ability may be an indication of general cognitive ability in animals and is important for advanced cognitive functions. In this study, our aim was to compare motor inhibition ability of two closely related passerines that share the same habitat. To do this, we tested motor inhibition ability using a transparent cylinder task in blue tits in the same way as we previously tested great tits. To test whether the experience of transparent objects would affect the performance of these species differently, both in the present experiment using blue tits and our previous one on great tits, we divided 33 wild-caught individuals into three different treatment groups with 11 birds each. Before the test we allowed one group to experience a transparent cylindrical object, one group to experience a transparent wall and a third group was kept naive. In general, blue tits performed worse than great tits, and unlike the great tits, they did not improve their performance after experience with a transparent cylinder-like object. The performance difference may stem from difference in foraging behaviour between these species.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2023

Research theme

  • Biodiversity

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