This article is free to access.
One key aspect of domain-general thought is the ability to integrate information across different cognitive domains. Here, we tested whether kea (Nestor notabilis) can use relative quantities when predicting sampling outcomes, and then integrate both physical information about the presence of a barrier, and social information about the biased sampling of an experimenter, into their predictions. Our results show that kea exhibit three signatures of statistical inference, and therefore can integrate knowledge across different cognitive domains to flexibly adjust their predictions of sampling events. This result provides evidence that true statistical inference is found outside of the great apes, and that aspects of domain-general thinking can convergently evolve in brains with a highly different structure from primates. This has important implications not only for our understanding of how intelligence evolves, but also for research focused on how to create artificial domain-general thought processes.
Bastos, A. P. M., & Taylor, A. H. (2020). Kea show three signatures of domain-general statistical inference. Nature Communications, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14695-1