The Ecology of Cognition: Win-shift biases are sensitive to food type.

Danielle Sulikowski, Darren Burke

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Theories of neuroecology assume that cognitive abilities are subject to natural selection and, therefore are adapted to solve the particular problems presented by an animal's cognitive niche. One hypothesised example of such an adaptive specialisation, is the tendency of various nectarivourous species to perform better on tasks requiring them to avoid previously rewarding locations (to win-shift) than to return to such locations (to win-stay). This bias has been explained as an adaptation to the depleting nature of nectar. This interpretation relies to some extent on the previously untested assumption that the win-shift tendency is not associated with food types in an omnivorous honeyeater, the noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala). As predicted, we found that the win-shift bias was sensitive to foraging context, manifesting only in association with foraging for nectar, not with foraging for invertebrates.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventASSAB 2007 - Canberra
Duration: 12 Apr 200715 Apr 2007


ConferenceASSAB 2007


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