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Durham e-Theses
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Behavioral Flexibility, Curiosity, and Cooperative Breeding: Dealing with Complex Concepts and Paradigms

GOKCEKUS, SAMIN,YUCEL (2020) Behavioral Flexibility, Curiosity, and Cooperative Breeding: Dealing with Complex Concepts and Paradigms. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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In comparative cognition, and in empirical pursuits more generally, having clear definitions and a mutual understanding of terms and concepts is essential to producing accurate results. However, as philosophers of science Taylor & Vickers (2017) argue, many concepts today have become “fragmented” and different definitions are used in different fields on the basis of their theoretical usefulness. In an attempt not only to better understand the concept of behavioral flexibility – an organism’s ability to adaptively modify behavior in response to new or changing circumstances and contingencies – but also to highlight the importance of having a coherent conceptual framework for studying any phenomena, this thesis will explore the concept of behavioral flexibility in relation to two other concepts: curiosity and cooperative breeding. I review and critically analyze the concept of behavioral flexibility in order to disambiguate the relevant cognitive processes, their behavioral manifestations, and the tasks that are used to test them. After additionally reviewing cooperative breeding and the study species, I present my novel study of curiosity and inhibition (a component of behavioral flexibility) in the cooperatively breeding common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). Here, I find that group size and the interaction between breeding status, age, and curiosity score has a significant effect on inhibition score. These results provide insights in to the connections and relationships between these phenomena while also emphasizing the importance of having coherent conceptual frameworks for gaining an accurate understanding of reality, particularly in the field of comparative cognition.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Psychology, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Jan 2020 11:21

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