Friday, February 12, 2010

A New Level in Motivation

Ever thought about self rewarding behavior? I've heard about it sometimes when a behavior in parrots becomes comforting. Like that Moluccan Cockatoo that used to scream just for attention, but now he does it all the time with or without a reward. Or that feather picking African Grey that simply picks as a way to occupy his time, but now the behavior has become a self-soothing perpetuating behavior. Like the way I bite my nails...

These issuse might be considered a bit more simplistic in the way of behavior, compared to what Mr. Pink talks about (it is a simplistic task for an instant reward). But this gets me to wonder about how his topic could influence what behavior techniques we use in the world of animals. Crows and Keas as examples; these birds have shown extra ordinary abilities to quickly solve unclear tasks (Like Pink talks about humans in the video) for a food reward. Odly, he points out that this kind of bribery works poorly on us humans, compared to an alternative view he expresses.



Then again I remember some faint memory of the birds just standing around just looking at the food based reward puzzle, for several minutes, before attempting it. This is the same thing that humans do in trying to figure out multiple step problems, yet bribery works poorly. Could any of Mr. Pink's research be applied to animals? Can the Keas and Crows actualy perform better at thier tasks like the test subjects he talks about, and if so how do we go about setting up a task for animals like that? I hope I find out in my lifetime.

I've often dreamed about reaching a point with my animals where they can learn "just for the fun of it" but is this possible for creatures other than humans? Or will animals always do better at tasks if given a bribe for simple tasks, like us humans? The jury is still out on that one.

Don't forget to comment and share the insight you've gained from this video or any research you may have come across on the topic. This "New Science" stuff is always interesting!

Copyright 2013 Caitlin Bird
The Sequential Psittacine Blog
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