by Asim Jalis
Here is a link to a news story about research on impulsiveness in
blue jays and the importance of short-term rewards for them:
Link to story.
Here are some excerpts from the story:
> In experiments with blue jays, David Stephens, a professor of
> ecology, evolution and behavior in the [University of
> Minnesota's] College of Biological Sciences, found that birds
> presented with a choice of getting a small food reward
> immediately or waiting a short time for a bigger one could not
> be trained to wait, even after a thousand repetitions.
> "Animals, I think, come with a hardwired rule that says, 'Don't
> look too far in the future,'" Stephens said. "Being impulsive
> works really well because after grabbing the food, they can
> forget it and go back to their original foraging behavior. That
> behavior can achieve high long-term gains even if it's
> "When psychologists study kids who are good at waiting for a
> reward, they find those kids generallly do better in life. It
> looks as though this is a key to success in the modern world,
> so why is it so hard for us to accept delays? The answer may be
> because we evolved as foragers who encountered no penalties for
> taking resources impulsively."