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Frustration or persistence? Evolution and function of affect in creative problem solving based on study of behavior in common ravens

Matjaž Hegedič (2016) Frustration or persistence? Evolution and function of affect in creative problem solving based on study of behavior in common ravens. MSc thesis.

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    Frustration, the response to a blockage in attainment of a desired goal, is present in humans and non-human animals alike, and primarily studied by two different disciplines (psychology and ethology) for each respective group. By studying different aspects and having different perspectives, each of the two disciplines offer unique theoretical models of frustration causes and function, however empirical research to date never integrated knowledge from both. Based on recent publications, I propose that such an integrative approach should be taken, bridging psychology and ethology, in order to resolve some of the discrepancies in existing empirical studies. My core assertion (which I call the distinction hypothesis) is that they originate from a failure to distinguish two different causes for frustration, which prompt different affective responses; namely, violation of reward expectancy and failure to complete the task (prompting response and goal persistence, respectively). Additionally, I also assert that frustration facilitates novel problem solving through persistence, and finally, that frustration and persistence have adaptive value from an evolutionary point of view. To test the distinction hypothesis empirically, I have conducted an experiment with a group of common ravens (Corvus corax), adapting the experimental design from a recent study done on fox squirrels (Sciurus niger). It is centered around a box apparatus which I designed to be opened in two possible ways. The results showed strong empirical support for the distinction hypothesis, but the effects of frustration and persistence on novel problem solving remain unclear.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: common ravens, distinction hypothesis, frustration, persistence, problem solving
    Number of Pages: 52
    Language of Content: English
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    dr. Thomas BugnyarMentor
    Link to COBISS: http://www.cobiss.si/scripts/cobiss?command=search&base=50126&select=(ID=11333193)
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 4150
    Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2016 13:00
    Last Modified: 22 Nov 2016 13:00
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/4150

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