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16 May 2004

Birds can have theories of mind

According to two recent studies of ravens (reported in the Economist) birds can understand that others have their own personal thoughts and therefore have the potential for empathy and deception. In these studies, ravens were found to follow the human gaze -

They found that all the birds were able to follow the gaze of the experimenters, even beyond the barrier. In the latter case, the curious birds either jumped down from the perch and walked around the barrier to have a look or leapt on top of it and peered over. There was never anything there, but they were determined to see for themselves.

- and practice deception to safeguard a food source.

Posted at 12:35 PM in Cultured animals | Permalink

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