Technical intelligence (incl. tool use behaviour)
The ability to act on information flexibly is one of the cornerstones of intelligent behaviour. As particularly informative example, tool-oriented behavior has been investigated to determine to which extent nonhuman animals understand means–end relations, object affordances, and have specific motor skills. Even planning with foresight, goal-directed problem solving and immediate causal inference have been a focus of research. However, these cognitive abilities may not be restricted to tool-using animals but may be found also in animals that show high levels of curiosity, object exploration and manipulation, and extractive foraging behavior. The kea is a particularly good example. Our captive kea have changed the state of an external object by using another one even though wild kea are not known tool users and thus lack biological predispositions for tool using. Thus they showed truly innovative behaviour. We are not only interested to learn what they understand about the physics of tools and how they perform in comparison to species that are common tool users, but also what they learn when watching tool using group members.
Gajdon, G. K., Ortner, T. M., Wolf, C. C., & Huber, L. (2013). How to solve a mechanical problem: the relevance of visible and unobservable functionality for kea. Animal Cognition, 16(3), 483–492. doi:10.1007/s10071-012-0588-5
Auersperg, A. M. I., Gajdon, G. K., & Huber, L. (2011). Navigating a tool end in a specific direction: stick-tool use in kea ( Nestor notabilis). Biology Letters, 7, 825–828. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2011.0388
Auersperg AMI, von Bayern AMP, Gajdon GK, Huber L, Kacelnik A (2011) Flexibility in problem solving and tool use of kea and new caledonian crows in a multi access box paradigm. PLoS One 6(6).
Auersperg, A. M. I., Gajdon, G. K., & Huber, L. (2010). Kea, Nestor notabilis, produce dynamic relationships between objects in a second-order tool use task. Animal Behaviour, 80(5), 783-789.
Gajdon, G. K., Amann, L., & Huber, L. (2011). Keas rely on social information in a tool use task but abandon it in favour of overt exploration. Interaction Studies, 12(2), 304–323. doi:10.1075/is.12.2.06gaj
Miyata, H., Gajdon, G. K., Huber, L., & Fujita, K. (2011). How do keas (Nestor notabilis) solve artificial-fruit problems with multiple locks? Animal Cognition, 14(1), 45–58. doi:DOI 10.1007/s10071-010-0342-9
Auersperg, A. M. I., Gajdon, G. K., & Huber, L. (2009). Kea (Nestor notabilis) consider spatial relationships between objects in the support problem. Biology Letters, 5(4), 455-458. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2009.0114
Huber, L., & Gajdon, G., K. (2006). Technical intelligence in animals: the kea model. Animal Cognition, V9(4), 295-305. doi:10.1007/s10071-006-0033-8
Werdenich, D., & Huber, L. (2006). A case of quick problem solving in birds: string-pulling in keas (Nestor notabilis). Animal Behaviour, 71(4), 855-863.