Memory in Clark's Nutcrackers: A Cognitive Model for Corvids


Computational modeling has rarely been used to study questions in animal cognition, despite its apparent benefits. In this paper, we aim to demonstrate the value of this approach by focusing on work with Clark’s nutcrackers. Like all corvids, these birds cache and recover food, by burying it under ground and returning to it later. With our computational model, we successfully replicate three laboratory experiments investigating this behavior. In the process, we provide the first integrated computational account of several behavioral effects of memory observed in corvid caching and recovery, in addition to a new explanation for a known empirical result.

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