Friday, 26 May 2017

Birds, bees and other critters have scruples, and for good reason

Date: May 24, 2017
Source: University of California - Berkeley

Humans are not the only species to show a strong work ethic and scruples. UC Berkeley researchers have found evidence of conscientiousness in insects, reptiles, birds, fish and other critters.

In reviewing nearly 4,000 animal behavior studies, UC Berkeley psychologists Mikel Delgado and Frank Sulloway tracked such attributes as industriousness, neatness, tenacity, cautiousness and self-discipline across a broad range of creatures great and small.

Just as in humans, conscientiousness in animals -- which includes working hard, paying attention to detail and striving to do the right thing -- has such evolutionary benefits as giving them an edge in hunting and gathering, attracting mates, procreating and fending off predators, according to the review published in the online issue of the journal Psychological Bulletin.

"Honeybees who are more likely to remove bee carcasses from their hive have more offspring, and birds who keep their nests tidier are less susceptible to being preyed on," said Delgado, a UC Berkeley doctoral student in psychology. "Also, for many bird species, mastering song is key to mating success."

And, "in some bird species, females carefully inspect the display nests that are built by males," she added. "Those males that build the best display nests and that have chosen nesting sites that are well hidden from predators, are more likely to be selected as mates."

Delgado and Sulloway divided the conscientious characteristics they found in animals into two main categories: "order and Industriousness," which includes organization and cleanliness, and "achievement striving and competence," which covers mastery and deliberation.


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