Eurasian jays can use ‘psychological time journey’ like people, examine finds

Eurasian jays can bear in mind incidental particulars of previous occasions, which is attribute of episodic reminiscence in people, based on a examine revealed Might 15, 2024, within the open-access journal PLOS ONE by James Davies of the College of Cambridge, UK and colleagues.

When remembering occasions, people have the flexibility of “psychological time journey,” consciously reimagining previous experiences and doubtlessly recalling particulars that appeared unimportant on the time. Some researchers have advised that this “episodic reminiscence” is exclusive to people. On this examine, Davies and colleagues ran a reminiscence experiment to check for episodic-like reminiscence in seven Eurasian jays, birds that excel at remembering the situation of saved meals.

Within the experiment, the birds watched meals get positioned beneath one cup in a line of 4 similar cups and have been then rewarded for appropriately choosing the baited cup. Over a number of trials, the birds have been educated to establish the right cup by remembering its place in line. Then, at take a look at, the jays got an surprising reminiscence evaluation: they watched meals get positioned beneath one of many cups, which now all had distinctive visible traits, however they have been then separated from the cups for 10 minutes whereas the cups have been relocated and rearranged. Regardless of the modified positions of the cups and the added time delay, the birds nonetheless appropriately recognized the baited cup based on their visible traits 70% of the time.

These outcomes recommend that regardless that visible variations between the cups have been unimportant throughout coaching, the birds have been capable of discover these variations at take a look at and recall them later, much like episodic reminiscence in people. This examine signifies that episodic-like reminiscence would possibly help jays find meals shops, and the researchers recommend that future research would possibly examine whether or not the birds can carry out related feats of reminiscence in different non-food-related eventualities.

The authors add: “Because the jays have been capable of bear in mind particulars that held no particular worth or relevance on the time that the reminiscence was created, this means that they’re able to report, recall, and entry incidental info inside a remembered occasion. That is a capability that characterises the kind of human reminiscence by way of which we mentally ‘relive’ previous occasions (or episodes), often known as ‘episodic’ reminiscence.”



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