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Dr Danielle Sulikowski - Foraging Cognition - Beyond adaptations of spatial memory

The Centre for Research in Animal Behaviour seminar series. All welcome.

Event details


Studies on the adaptive nature of animal cognition have focused strongly on how performance on laboratory spatial learning and memory tasks varies with foraging ecology. In this seminar I will argue that to properly understand cognition, however, we need to step away from a laboratory-driven taxonomy of cognition and re-design the paradigms we use to study it. I will present my own work on the noisy miner bird, a generalist Australian honeyeater. Noisy miners feed on both nectar and invertebrates, food types with different natural distributions. In the laboratory, noisy miners exhibit divergent patterns of cognition in response to these food types, suggesting they possess dual cognitive mechanisms that have differentially adapted to the natural distributions of nectar and invertebrates, respectively.  I will argue that the ways in which animal cognitive abilities are typically conceptualised has not proved adequate for understanding the cognition of this bird, and, by extension, may not be adequate for understanding cognition in any animal.

Dr Danielle Sulikowski from Charles Stuart University, Australia, will be giving a seminar with the title 'Foraging Cognition - Beyond adaptations of spatial memory'.

The CRAB seminar series is organised by Elisa Frasnelli (


Washington Singer 105