Vol 6, Issue 1, February 2019

Testing New Transposition Task Stimuli and Procedures with a Military Macaw (Ara militaris)


Wrape, A., & Hammonds, F. (2019). Testing new transposition task stimuli and procedures with a military macaw (Ara militaris). Animal Behavior and Cognition, 6(1), 71–79. https://doi.org/10.26451/abc.


Studies of transposition in nonhuman animals have produced mixed results and have been criticized as having problems with cueing. Sensory and social cues may reveal the location of the item to be tracked in the experimental procedure. The current study involved testing a military macaw (Ara militaris) on a transposition task or “shell game.” We designed new stimulus materials and procedures to reduce the possibility of cueing. Under these experimental conditions, the macaw was able to perform simpler training tasks, but did not perform significantly above chance on the final transposition task. We describe the details and advantages of the materials and procedure and make comparisons to previous studies of transposition.


Sensory cues, Social cues, Associative learning, Transposition, Shell game