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  • They're really clever. They have these amazing cognitive abilities.

  • They're more like feathered apes.

  • This is Betty, she's a female raven. She's the biggest of the corvids.

  • And corvids in general are very, very intelligent birds.

  • They can creatively problem-solve.

  • So they can put together sequences or behaviours that they've learned

  • into a novel way to solve a problem.

  • You see she'll look at things, she'll cock her head,

  • and you can actually see her working it out.

  • What is it? Can I benefit anything from that?

  • The hard part is trying to stay one step in front of her.

  • So there's a classic military line that says improvise, adapt, overcome.

  • And that's a really positive way of thinking about anything.

  • It's about trial and error and the resilience to keep going.

  • New Caledonian crows create multi-step tools,

  • which are essentially tools that are strong and thick at one end

  • and thin and flexible at the other end.

  • And that means that they are able to put those tools easily into crevices

  • and extract food items.

  • Albert Einstein described compound interest

  • as the eighth wonder of the world.

  • Crows really understand compound interest.

  • So when they save that bit of food and bury it in the grass,

  • they know that over time maggots will come in

  • and, from the crow's perspective, they will have even more food.

  • It's found its food, it's saved its food,

  • and now it's buried it in the ground somewhere

  • where it gets compound interest on its investment.

  • She's burying food in the summer, you've got files, flies lay eggs,

  • maggots hatch out the eggs. So when she goes back to the food,

  • not only has she got the rotten bit of food she's cached anyway,

  • but she's doubled it in size by having all the maggots on it as well.

  • For a long time it was thought that delayed gratification

  • was something that was unique to humans and non-human great apes

  • and some primates,

  • but it has been found that corvids will delay gratification.

  • So they will deny themselves an immediate reward

  • in order to get a reward of a better quality in the future.

  • They form really long-term relationships,

  • and those relationships are themselves

  • an example of delayed gratification.

  • Crows have absolutely nailed delayed gratification.

  • There's a seminal book, called The Marshmallow Test, by Walter Mischel,

  • which studies young children and as they've grown up

  • and their ability to delay gratification,

  • their ability to look at a marshmallow and wait,

  • and if they wait long enough they will get two.

  • What that study showed is that those children were able, later on in life,

  • to be better at managing money, better at managing relationships,

  • healthier, more likely to do exercise, more likely to eat well.

  • So delayed gratification is the key

  • to putting off those short-term gains for long-term benefits.

  • No. No.

They're really clever. They have these amazing cognitive abilities.


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What crows can teach us about getting ahead | BBC Ideas

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    Summer 發佈於 2022 年 03 月 08 日