New Publication!

Our latest collaboration has been published in the peer-reviewed journal, Animals.

“Training the Concept of Innovate in Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) Is Both Creative and Cognitively Stimulating”

Download a copy of the article by clicking here. See all of DCP’s publications by clicking here or looking under the Research Hub.

Congrats and thank you to the paper’s lead author, Dr. Deirdre Yeater, and all of our co-authors including several students!

Simple Summary: Creative or novel behaviors in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) can be
indicators of flexible thinking and problem solving. Twelve bottlenose dolphins (five females, seven
males) in managed care were reinforced for exhibiting different behaviors of their choosing in
response to a hand gesture. Using a human-based theory of creativity, the dolphins’ behaviors were
assessed for four aspects: how many different behaviors they could produce in a session or in a row
(fluency), how different the behaviors were from each other (flexibility), how simple or complex the
behaviors were (elaboration), and how novel or new the behaviors were (originality). The results
indicated that dolphins were variable in all aspects measured, with some animals producing more
behaviors that were also more complex and variable in type and energy than the other dolphins.
Behaviors were also invented by several dolphins. The dolphins were engaged and cognitively
challenged by this task, which suggests this task facilitates cognitive welfare while providing a means
to study innovative behavior across species.

Citation: Yeater, D.B.; Dudzinski, K.M.; Melzer, D.; Magee, A.R.; Robinett, M.; Guerra, G.; Salazar, K.; Bolton, T.; Hill, H.M. Training the Concept of Innovate in Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) Is Both Creative and Cognitively Stimulating. Animals 2024, 14, 896.