Study: Parrots can show self-restraint to trade up in treats

03/13/2013 | Discovery

Parrots are capable of demonstrating enough self-control to be able to barter until they get what they want, according to a study in the journal Biology Letters. Modeled after a 1970s experiment that used marshmallows to study a child's ability to show self-restraint, scientists presented Goffin's cockatoos with different nuts to determine whether they were capable of waiting -- and trading up -- for better treats. "When exchanging for better qualities, the Goffins acted astonishingly like economic agents, flexibly trading off between immediate and future benefits," said lead researcher Alice Auersperg.

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