Decisions relative to tool functionality and reward quality in Goffin cockatoos (Cacatua goffini) (#283)
To make profitable decisions in natural situations, an agent may have to consider more levels of relational complexity than merely deciding between an immediate and a prospective option. So far there are only a few primate studies that aim to explore aspects of tool related decision making into further detail. By using a new experimental approach featuring two different types of tools and their respective apparatuses as well as two different reward qualities, we investigated Goffin cockatoos´ ability to make flexible and profitable decisions within five different setups. Paralleling results in primates, the cockatoos did overcome immediate drives in favor of future gains even if this implied tool use as a work effort. Further subjects not only flexibly maximized their profit by simultaneously considering the presence of a tool as well as the difference in food quality between an immediate and a prospective food reward, but at the same time they also attended to the functionality of the available tool. As their performance levels remained stable across trials in all testing setups, this was unlikely the result of a learning effect. Further we were able to detect limits in Goffin cockatoo´s ability to focus on relevant information, when the task at hand required more than four components at the same time.