Chickens are actually quite intelligent creatures, despite the depreciating words of some well-known idioms and jokes that people mutter out of their lips all the time.
According to a new study that has been published in the journal Animal Cognition, there’s a lot more to what goes on in a chicken’s complex little brain than meets the eye.
Image Credit: Congerdesign/Pixabay
They seem to have a basic understanding of mental processing of quantities and the ability to discriminate between different things based on unique qualities.
"They are perceived as lacking most of the psychological characteristics we recognize in other intelligent animals and are typically thought of as possessing a low level of intelligence compared with other animals," Marino says. "The very idea of chicken psychology is strange to most people."
In one study, newly-hatched chicks that were no more than five days old were presented with the task of processing the most basic arithmetic, inlcuding addition and subtraction. By tracking groups of objects that were appearing and disappearing behind screens, the chickens were reportedly able to remember which group had more objects comparatively, even after one had disappeared.
Chickens also demonstrate the ability to remember the movements of animated objects for as much as 180 seconds, which is pretty similar to that of certain primates comparatively. This ability means they have an understanding of time intervals and can even use this information to predict what will happen next.
It doesn’t stop there, however. It seems that chicken brains are capable of a lot more mental processing than we give them credit for.
They appear to be self-aware of one another and can communicate with each other in a variety of ways, including but not limited to visual displays and different kinds of vocalizations. These kinds of communication can be used for illustrating dominance and alerting others of danger among other things.
Not only do they know when to use these forms of communication at the right times, but those who hear or see these communication techniques seem to understand what they mean and exhibit the appropriate emotional response that researchers would expect to see.
While the mental research behind these fowl isn’t very extensive in this day and age, it goes without saying that they’re far more complex than we’ve been giving them credit for. Perhaps calling someone a ‘Bird Brain’ isn’t as insulting as one might think it to be.
Source: Mercury News