Categories: Brain & NeuroscienceScience & Space

Great Tit Birds Possess as much Impulse Control as Chimpanzees

The great tit birds are the common European songbirds. Recently, the biologists at the Lund University in Sweden studied that this bird possesses a tremendous capacity for impulse control or self-control. Up till now, the researchers have associated this much self-control with large cognitively advanced animals. The cognitively advanced animals are generally assumed to possess better self-control due to their larger brains. They possess the ability to decline immediate rewards compared to the less cognitively advanced animals due to large brain volume.

Latest Research on the Great Tit Birds

This research was conducted by Anders Brodin, one of the Biology professors at the Lund University. He collaborated with his colleagues, Emil Isaksson and Utku Urhan to study the self-control ability of the great tit birds. In their previous research, they discovered that the great tit birds possess an unusually high ability to learn and to remember just by observing.

According to their new research, the self-control ability of the tit birds is almost the same as that of chimpanzees and ravens. During their study, they placed food in a small translucent cylinder to observe the response of the great tit birds. Some of the birds started pecking at the cylinder to get to the food. Since their behavior was an impulsive act, so the researchers considered them failing the test.

On the other hand, some of the birds moved to an opening in the cylinder to access the food. They did not start pecking at the cylinder wall, so the researchers considered them passing the test. The results showed that the great tit birds followed the right thing and succeeded in eight of the initial ten attempts. This means they chose the right approach 80 percent of the time. This ratio is far better than most of the other animals who took part in the test. And this ratio is almost on a par with the intelligent animals such as chimpanzees and ravens.

According to the professor Andres, it was amazing to observe this type of self-control in a bird with such a small brain. The brain volume of a great tit bird corresponds to only 3 percent of the brain volume of a raven. Similarly, it corresponds to only 0.1 percent of the brain volume of a chimpanzee. This shows that the great tit birds are very resourceful. Due to their great self-control, they can handle their impulses whenever they desire to gain access to a reward such as food.

Conclusion: 

This research showed that the great tit birds can sit and observe at a distance. They can also memorize where other species store their food. According to this study, the female birds generally outperform their male counterparts in observing and memorizing the events. In this study, the biologists compared the behavior of the great tit birds with their close relatives, i.e., the willow tit birds and the marsh tit birds. Unlike the other species, they do not store food to survive during the winters. Instead, they learn where their relatives hide their food and subsequently steal it for their survival.

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