Cuttlefish Show Cognitive Complexity

In a landmark new study, scientists have shown that cuttlefish are capable of delaying gratification, and that those who choose to delay longer are also more intelligent (Schnell et al., 2021). Cuttlefish are only the third species—after humans and chimpanzees—in which a link between self-control and intelligence has been shown. In an adapted version of the famous Stanford marshmallow test (in which children choose between one marshmallow now or two if they can wait), most cuttlefish chose to wait 50–130 seconds to receive a higher-value treat rather than consuming a lower-value treat immediately. Those willing to delay longer were also quickest at learning a discrimination task. This is yet more evidence that cuttlefish, along with other cephalopods, are cognitively complex. These animals deserve legal protection if used for experimentation.

photo by Richard
photo by Richard

 

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