After reading The Thinking Rat, by Oskar Pineno I learned that the rat is much more than just an absent-minded rodent. The rat is actually a purpose driven animal whose behaviors intend to get the most from what the surrounding environment has to offer. (Pineno, 2010, p.106) These behaviors are driven by some surprisingly complex and interesting mental abilities. Two of these mental abilities I find most interesting are causal reasoning and metacognition. I am pairing these two mental abilities because together they take down the traditional view of them being an animal that automatically reacts without thinking to stimuli. (Pineno, 2010, p.105) Before I explain how they work together let me explain them individually.
The mental ability…show more content… (Pineno, 2010, p.105) It was previously widely thought that rats passively, in other words just obtain and store, information from the environment. However, rats seem to process environmental information actively through causal reasoning, while being aware of the limits of its own cognitive ability, metacognition. (Pineno, 2010, p.105)
My prior thoughts on animal intelligence have also been challenged by the bird species, specifically hummingbirds and scrub jays. The study of the foraging techniques of these two birds leads to some pretty shocking conclusions. Foraging requires forming cognitive maps as well as remembering and learning where and when a certain type of food can be found in order to be efficient. Through the experiments of Clayton and Dickinson scrub jays were attributed with the mental ability of episodic-like memory. This was uncovered after it was realized through foraging experiments they had knowledge of what, where, and when. In other words they remember themselves doing certain things, in specific places, and at precise times. This memory actually includes personal and unique experiences. (Pineno 2010, p.109-11) These personal memories from the past give the rat the ability to simulate future events using its memory of its own past experiences. Having an episodic-like memory gives them the ability of mental time travel. So in theory