Cognitive Ecology II

Cognitive Ecology II

Reuven Dukas and John M. Ratcliffe

Print publication date: 2013

ISBN: 9780226169354

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


This book is an attempt to describe cognitive ecology, which focuses on the ecology and evolution of “cognition,” defined as the neuronal processes concerned with the acquisition, retention, and use of information. It presents new work on established and emergent research programs relating cognition to avian ecology. The authors find that, with few exceptions, all animals have to make decisions within the four general categories of feeding, predator avoidance, interactions with competitors, and sexual behavior. Few chapters of the book focus on cognitive aspects of decisions made within two of these behavioral categories of reproduction and antipredator behavior. Not much attention has been devoted to cognition at the embryonic stage, but recent experiments reviewed by the authors clearly indicate that embryos possess sophisticated abilities to assess and respond to cues of predation. The book also discusses the social information, social learning, and integrating knowledge about animals' natural behavior, ecology, and evolutionary history with the powerful empirical techniques of experimental psychology.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

Reuven Dukas & John M. Ratcliffe

Part I Learning: Ultimate and Proximate Mechanisms

Part II Avian Cognition: Memory, Song, and Innovation

Part III Decision Making: Mate Choice and Predator-Prey Interactions

8 Cognitive Mate Choice

Michael J. Ryan, Karin L. Akre & Mark Kirkpatrick

10 Assessing Risk: Embryos, Information, and Escape Hatching

Karen M. Warkentin & Michael S. Caldwell

Part IV Cognition and Sociality

13 Adaptive Trade-offs in the Use of Social and Personal Information

Rachel L. Kendal, Isabelle Coolen & Kevin N. Laland

15 Prospects

Reuven Dukas & John M. Ratcliffe