Little evidence that Eurasian jays protect their caches by responding to cues about a conspecific’s desire and visual perspective

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Farrar, Benjamin G 
Krupenye, Christopher  ORCID logo

Eurasian jays have been reported to protect their caches by responding to cues about either the visual perspective or current desire of an observing conspecific, similarly to other corvids. Here, we used established paradigms to test whether these birds can – like humans – integrate multiple cues about different mental states and perform an optimal response accordingly. Across five experiments, which also include replications of previous work, we found little evidence that our jays adjusted their caching behaviour in line with the visual perspective and current desire of another agent, neither by integrating these social cues nor by responding to only one type of cue independently. These results raise questions about the reliability of the previously reported effects and highlight several key issues affecting reliability in comparative cognition research.


Funder: European Commission; FundRef:; Grant(s): Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship MENTALIZINGORIGINS Grant reference: 752373

Funder: FP7 Ideas: European Research Council; Grant(s): ERC Grant Agreement N 3399933

Research Article, Ecology, Eurasian jay, corvids, theory of mind, desires, perspective, replication, Other
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eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd
Leverhulme Trust (Study Abroad Scholarship SAS-2020-004\10)
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (Doctoral Training Programme BB/M011194/1)