Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Published in Animal Learning & Behavior 22 (4), 373–378 (1994). Copyright 1994 Psychonomic Society, Inc. Used by permission.


Clark’s nutcrackers use spatial memory to recover stored food in the field and have performed very well in laboratory tests of spatial memory. During the present experiment, two groups of nutcrackers cached seeds every 4 days. Following each cache session, the stay group was tested with seeds in their caches; the shift group found seeds in novel sites. The stay group performed accurately throughout the experiment, but the shift group gave no indication of being able to learn to avoid sites where they had stored seeds. These results suggest that although nutcrackers can learn to shift away from remembered locations during some memory experiments, they cannot learn to shift away from cache sites. This raises interesting questions about the relationship between task characteristics, response strategies, and memory.