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A new study recently emphasized how Eurasian jays are not quite as vulnerable to magic tricks as humans. These birds and other large-brained ones frequently use tactics the same as sleight of hand to keep food hidden in their beaks and away from possible scavengers, adding another level of intrigue in terms of how they respond to magic performed by a human.

A ScienceAlert report said, according to Elias Garcia-Pelegrin, a psychologist from the United Kingdom-based University of Cambridge, magic trick is effective as it violates one's expectations.

As such, added it is quite interesting to apply these effects of magic such effects of magic to check if the other minds' expectations are like humans'.

A series of tests engaging both birds and humans presented that the jays were less easily tricked than humans by magic tricks that involved expected motion instead of the actual motion, an indication that they do not expect actions like grabbing in a similar way humans do.

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Science Times - Magic Tricks Don't Work for All Birds; At Least Not with Eurasian Jays
(Photo: Becky Matsubara from El Sobrante, California on Wikimedia Commons)
A study recently found Eurasian jays are not quite as vulnerable to magic tricks as humans.

Magic Tricks Shown

Specifically, six Eurasian jays or Garrulus glandarius and 80 people were shown magic tricks where a worm, described as a lovely bit of food for jays, as described in ANIMALIA, was or was not passed between a pair of hands.

The birds and human participants were then prompted to specify where they thought the worm had ended up, with the said bird species having been trained to peck at the fist holding the food.

Three tactics were presented: one is with a palm transferring the French drop, the other uses dummy gestures and movement to make one think something has moved when it hasn't, and third, the fast pass using really quick movements as its major deception.

Humans involved in the research largely believed all three magic tricks, but the birds were only taken in by the fast pass method.

A series of test conditions involving the passing movement was made slowly proposed that unless the jays saw the worm physically move from one hand to the other, they believed it had not been transferred over.

Different Expectations

Results of the study, Exploring the perceptual inabilities of Eurasian jays (Garrulus glandarius) using magic effects, published in the PNAS, suggest that jays might have different expectations from humans when they are observing such transfer tactics.

While their findings are helpful for magicians who have a booking at an aviary, they show too how blind spots in perception can differ between species and offering more understanding into how these kinds of cognitive processes might have developed and progressed in different animals.

The next step, this report said, is to work out precisely what is going on, if the differences down to the actual manner the birds are perceiving what's happening, or if they are only not paying attention quite as closely.

The researchers suggested then that a wider selection of birds would be helpful next time to back up what has been observed here.

Sleight of Hand, Tailor-Made for Birds

In their research, The Academic Times specified, the study authors wrote, their results showing that Eurasian jays did not succeed in perceiving fast-paced movements have raised the intriguing question as to whether these birds themselves are taking advantage of such restraints when pilfering or shielding caches from the so-called "thieving conspecifics" or members of same species.

Eventually, the study authors are looking to develop sleight of hand tailor-made for birds, not to mention the way they are seeing the world.

They look into developing tricks that would expose more about how such creatures see and interpret the world surrounding them.

Magic effects, the researchers concluded, can offer an insight methodology to examine perception and attention shortcomings in both human and non-humans and provide unique opportunities to emphasize cognitive constraints in the diverse minds of animals.

Related information about Eurasian Jays is shown on Cambridge University's YouTube video below:

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