Innovative Problem Solving

Why are some animals able to solve complex problems whereas others fail? What distinguishes successful individuals from unsuccessful individuals? Dr. Benson-Amram examined the role of motor diversity, persistence, and neophobia in problem-solving success by presenting wild spotted hyenas with a novel problem-solving task. This work was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society: B (see publications) and done in collaboration with Dr. Kay Holekamp (Michigan State University).

In collaboration with colleagues from the University of California at Berkeley, Dr. Benson-Amram also did a comparative study examining differences in problem solving abilities between wild and captive spotted hyenas. This work was published in the journal Animal Behaviour (see publications).

We are currently investigating problem-solving abilities in zebra finches, raccoons, and elephants.

Publications