Bees show scaffolded and social learning
Scientists had bees solve increasingly difficult "puzzle flowers" to get rewards. In a control group, they presented the hardest flower to the bee first, and the bee could not solve the problem. In a second study, naive bees watched experienced bees solve the puzzle, and then were able to solve it more quickly themselves. Read more here
Is less sometimes more for dogs?
This study suggests that 9 out of 10 dogs would rather have a piece of cheese rather than a piece of cheese that is paired with carrots (or at least 9 of the 10 dogs in this study). A similar effect has been found in humans, where baseball card collectors prefer 6 perfect cards over 6 perfect cards that have been paired with 3 cards in "fair" condition. One suggestion is it is easier to determine "average value" of one thing when making decisions.
Temperament testing in dogs? Helpful or harmful?
Temperament testing in shelter animals is often used as a "euthanasia test," even if that's not what the test was designed for. One shelter is facing a lawsuit after a dog that passed the SAFER test bit a child soon after adoption. In another news story, SAFER is being used to help a Toledo shelter make euthanasia decisions. A recent study (2012) found that "SAFER testing was unable to identify dogs with moderate aggression that could potentially be addressed with behavior modification." I see a full blog post coming on in the future! What do you think about temperament testing in shelter animals?