Clark, F. E. 2022. Bridging pure cognitive research and cognitive enrichment. Animal Cognition 25(6), 1671–1678.

Cognitive enrichment is a growing subset of environmental enrichment for captive animals. However, it has been difficult for practitioners to design, implement, and evaluate relevant and appropriate cognitive challenges. Even though pure comparative cognition researchers focus on fundamental evolutionary questions, their knowledge and expertise can also shape the future of cognitive enrichment. This paper describes the motive, means, and opportunity to do so. Taxon-specific summaries of animal cognition (including inter-individual variation in skill and effects of motivation), and experimental designs (including the task itself, training, and reward) need to be accessible to practitioners in applied settings, such as farms, zoos, and sanctuaries. Furthermore, I invite pure researchers to directly evaluate their cognitive research program as enrichment and thus bridge the disciplines of animal cognition and welfare.

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