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Tool-use and instrumental learning in the Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius)

Overview of attention for article published in Animal Cognition, January 2011
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 25% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (93rd percentile)
  • Good Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (65th percentile)

Mentioned by

2 news outlets
2 Wikipedia pages


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Readers on

141 Mendeley
1 CiteULike
Tool-use and instrumental learning in the Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius)
Published in
Animal Cognition, January 2011
DOI 10.1007/s10071-011-0379-4
Pubmed ID

Lucy G. Cheke, Christopher D. Bird, Nicola S. Clayton


Recent research with Rooks has demonstrated impressive tool-using abilities in captivity despite this species' classification as a non-tool-user in the wild. Here, we explored whether another non-tool-using corvid, the Eurasian Jay, would be capable of similar feats and investigated the relative contributions of causal knowledge and instrumental conditioning to the birds' performance on the tasks. Five jays were tested on a variety of tasks involving water displacement. Two birds reliably interacted with the apparatuses. In these tasks, both birds showed a preference for inserting stones into a tube containing liquid over a tube containing a solid or a baited 'empty' tube and also for inserting sinkable items over non-sinkable items into a tube of water. To investigate the contribution of instrumental conditioning, subjects were then tested on a series of tasks in which different cues were made available. It was found that, in the absence of any apparent causal cues, these birds showed a clear preference for the rewarded tube when the food incrementally approached with every stone insertion, but not when it simply "appeared" after the correct number of stone insertions. However, it was found that subjects did not prefer to insert stones into a tube rewarded by the incremental approach of food if the available causal cues violated the expectations created by existing causal knowledge (i.e. were counter-intuitive). An analysis of the proportion of correct and incorrect stone insertions made in each trial across tasks offering different types of information revealed that subjects were substantially more successful in experiments in which causal cues were available, but that rate of learning was comparable in all experiments. We suggest that these results indicate that Eurasian jays use the incremental approach of the food reward as a conditioned reinforcer allowing them to solve tasks involving raising the water level and that this learning is facilitated by the presence of causal cues.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 141 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United Kingdom 4 3%
United States 3 2%
Germany 2 1%
Israel 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Portugal 1 <1%
Canada 1 <1%
Unknown 128 91%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 31 22%
Student > Bachelor 28 20%
Student > Master 27 19%
Researcher 25 18%
Unspecified 7 5%
Other 23 16%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 63 45%
Psychology 42 30%
Unspecified 14 10%
Environmental Science 4 3%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 3 2%
Other 15 11%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 20. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 26 March 2014.
All research outputs
of 12,222,940 outputs
Outputs from Animal Cognition
of 902 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 158,369 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Animal Cognition
of 23 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 12,222,940 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 94th percentile: it's in the top 10% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 902 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 24.2. This one has done well, scoring higher than 79% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 158,369 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 93% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 23 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has gotten more attention than average, scoring higher than 65% of its contemporaries.