ABS 2022
No support for the causal cognition required to solve a balance task in Goffin’s cockatoos
Poppy J Lambert1, Sarah R Beck2, Sabine Tebbich3, Alice M I Auersperg1. 1University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, , Austria; 2University of Birmingham, Birmingham, , United Kingdom; 3University of Vienna, Vienna, , Austria

Problem solving tasks with balances can be used to investigate causal cognition relating to the object property of weight. We presented a novel balance task to a group of Goffin’s cockatoos, a tool-using and innovative parrot. We first trained them to compress the arm of the balance downward with their leg, to the heights of two different windows (higher/lower) to gain access to a reward. Then we presented a modified set-up where the balance arm could only be moved downward (to the height of one window, either higher or lower) by dropping a weighted object from above. The birds did not show the ability to link the effort required to compress the arm to (any knowledge of) the downward force the heavy/light object would exert. Furthermore, they did not learn the relationship between object weight and the distance the arm would move downward over 100 trials. These findings suggest that the species could be limited in their ability to transfer or flexibly use knowledge of object-object interactions across contexts (e.g. a branch bowing under their own weight, a balance arm being displaced), and are limited in their recognition of the causal link between weight and object displacement.