Alien Minds: Evidence of intelligence in coleoid cephalopods
Cephalopods are a group of animals that are becoming increasingly popular subjects for cognitive studies, but they are not well-known for their intelligence outisde the scientiﬁc world. A literature review was conducted to determine what “intelligence” is, and to what extent the scientiﬁc literature supports the idea of cephalopods being intelligent animals. A deﬁnition of intelligence as an animal’s degree of mental and behavioural ﬂexibility was established based on a review of existing deﬁnitions, and possible driving forces behind the evolution of cephalopod intelligence were discussed. A review of the evidence for cephalopod intelligence was conducted; topics investigated included learning, problem-solving, decision-making, communication, play behaviour, personalities, tool-use, mirror self-recognition, and neural properties. Cephalopods were found to be intelligent beings by virtue of their learning, problem-solving and decision-making abilities. Other areas of investigation, such as play and personality, were suggestive of intelligence but were not conclusive. The information from the literature review was then used to write a non-ﬁction book on the topic of cephalopod intelligence aimed at a lay adult audience. The book combined studies from the literature review with personal anecdotes and experiences to both educate and entertain the reader.
Advisor: Davis, Lloyd; Mercer, Alison
Degree Name: Master of Science Communication
Degree Discipline: Zoology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: cephalopod intelligence; animal intelligence; mirror self-recognition; cephalopod learning; animal personality; cephalopod personality; cephalopod communication; cephalopod problem-solving; animal problem-solving; cephalopod play; animal play; cephalopod decision-making; octopus decision-making; octopus personality; squid personality; octopus play; cephalopod cognition; octopus cognition; cephalopod sleep; octopus brain; cephalopod brain
Research Type: Thesis