Cuttlefish marshmallows can pass the test

Aquatic invertibet like squid floating in an aquarium.
Zoom in / A common cuttlefish, Sepia offic fisinalis, At the Marine Resource Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hall, M.A. A new study finds that cuttlefish can delay delight – the famous “marshmallow test.”

Alexandra Chanel

Some species show significant ability to delay delirium, especially the great ape, corvids and parrots, while other species (such as rats, chickens and pigeons.) Do not add cuttlefish to the previous category.

Scientists administered a convenient version of the Stanford Marshmallow test for cuttlefish and found that cephalopods can delay delight – that is, wait a bit for prey of choice rather than settling for less desirable prey. Cuttlefish also performed better in subsequent learning tests, for the first time the link between self-control and intelligence was found in mammals, according to a new paper published in the journal Protlingings the Royal Society B.

As we noted earlier, Walter Mitchell’s landmark behavioral study involved 60,000 children between the ages of four and six, all from Stanford University’s Bing Nursery School. He would give each child a marshmallow and give them the option to eat it immediately if they choose. But if they can wait 15 minutes, they will get another marshmallow as a reward. Michelle will then leave the room, and a hidden video camera will tap what happens next to me.

Some children eat marshmallows immediately. Others had hand disruptions: covering their eyes, kicking the desk, or zooming on the marshmallows with their fingers. Some smelled it, licked it, or took small pills around the edges. About one-third of the children held out long enough to earn another marshmallow. A few years later, Mitchell saw a strong connection between the success of some children in later life (better grades, higher confidence) and their ability to delay happiness in nursery school. Mitchell’s follow-up study confirmed the relationship

Mitchell himself warned against further explanation of the consequences and insisted that children who simply could not bear for another marshmallow did not have to be built for a life of failure. The 2018 study offered a more sensitive picture that mimicked the marshmallow test with preschoolers. There is a similar relationship between subsequent achievement and the ability to resist the temptation of preschool, but that correlation was less significant after the researchers formed aspects such as family background, home environment, and so on. And an excellent experimental setup using Orios and vanilla cookies with German and Kenyan schoolchildren in a 2020 German study. The study found that children are more likely to be happy when they are dependent on each other.

Other selected species have also demonstrated the ability to delay delirium through “future forging”. For instance, apes and corvids respond to variable and unpredictable food supplies by not eating certain foods immediately in preparation for future shortages. Alexandra Chanel, a biologist at the University of Cambridge, who is the lead author of the latest study, wants to explore cuttlefish.Sepia offic fisinalis, Related to octopus and squid), may also demonstrate self-control during a fellowship at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hall, Massachusetts. Previous studies have shown that cuttlefish can recall details of what, where and when, from past coriander, when adjusting their strategy in exchange for changing hunting conditions. But is this evidence of future-oriented self-control?

To find out, Snell and his colleagues conducted the first tests to determine the preferred prey for the six-month-old cuttlefish used in their experiments: live grass shrimp, live Asian shore crabs and pieces of raw king prawns. Cuttlefish became the absolute Phoenician eater, showing the least preference for Asian coastal crabs; Some of the crabs in the cuttlefish did not eat at all. Among the remaining two types of prey, cuttlefish show a significant preference for live grass shrimp on raw king prawns.

Alexandra Chanel at the Cephalopod Mercury Facility at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts, Woods Hall.
Zoom in / Alexandra Chanel at the Cephalopod Mercury Facility at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hall, Massachusetts.

Grass Foundation

For the experimental setup, the team 3D-printed a two-chamber device, consisting of two short thighs of black plastic, each with a transparent sliding door so the cuttlefish could see the contents. Each chamber was given a symbol of its distinctive, unique shape. The team placed the device in the aquarium and then used PVC barriers at the other end of the tank to keep the cuttlefish at equal distances from both chambers.

Next, the cuttlefish underwent a double training phase. In the first, cephalopods were placed in an aquarium and then presented with a chamber marked with visual symbols, to train the subjects to associate the space with a certain degree of hunting degree accessibility. For example, one symbol was associated with the immediate accessibility (instant gratification) of hunting; The second was associated with delayed release, followed by hunting access (delayed gratification); And the third was associated with the unavailability of prey (no gratification). In the third option, after the sliding door opens after a short delay the cuttlefish will avoid preying on them with clear prey.

The second training phase involves the selection of a choice. There were two chambers (no associated symbols) without a bited mark with the same type of prey. When the cuttlefish went to one chamber and made a “choice”, the prey of the other chamber was immediately removed. The test subjects also went through an early stage to teach them that the length of the delay in hunting accessibility would continue to increase. In this preamble, the delay period ranged from two seconds to 20 seconds and each cuttlefish had to “choose” between the immediate and delayed option.

For the actual experiment, the cuttlefish had to choose between two different prey items: it could choose to eat raw king prawns immediately, or preferably delay the delight for live grass shrimp. (The controlfish of the cuttlefish needed to choose between immediate access to the prey and no entry.) Subjects could see both options for the trial period and would leave at any stage waiting and eating the king prawns if they were bored. Holding out for grass shrimp. The team also subjected cuttlefish study work to evaluate cognitive performance. Cephalopods first learned to associate a visual symbol with a specific prey reward, and then researchers reversed the situation so that the same reward was associated with a different symbol.

Schematic of test conditions in delay maintenance work: (a) control conditions, and (b) experimental conditions.
Zoom in / Schematic of test conditions in delay maintenance work: (a) control conditions, and (b) experimental conditions.

Alexandra K. Snell et al., 2021

Results: “In the current study, cuttlefish were able to wait for a better prize and endure delays of up to 10-1 seconds, which is comparable to what appears in large-brain vertebrates such as chimpanzees, crows and parrots.” Furthermore, “The Cuttlefish which was quick to learn from both associations [with the food reward] Were better at self-control. “

Humans have developed the ability to delay satisfaction as a means of strengthening social bonds, which benefits the whole species. In APS, Corvids and Parrots, the evolutionary driver can be associated with the use of their equipment and storage of food (caching behavior), as well as strengthening social bonds. But cuttlefish do not use equipment or store food, and it is not a social species. This link between self-control and cognitive exposure seems to have evolved through completely different evolutionary pathways – an example of convergent evolution.

“Cuttlefish spend most of their time scattering, sitting and waiting, scattered by short-term scattering,” said Snell of his working hypothesis for how cephalopods have developed this ability to bring self-control. “They break the camouflage when they graze, so every predator of the sea who wants to eat it comes up against it. We speculate that delayed delicacy may develop as a byproduct of this, so cuttlefish await better quality selection. Seeing can make fodder better. “

DOI: Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2021. 10.1098 / RSSpb.2020.3161 (About DOI)