That’s some food for thought, but let’s see if humans take the ...

Ideas

That’s some food for thought, but let’s see if humans take the bait

While we are impressed by cuttlefish’s delay of gratification, human beings face their own test of self-control

Columnist

A cuttlefish has passed a cognitive test usually performed by human children, and now eating calamari is basically like deep-frying a toddler.

The person to blame for this very alarming information is a certain Dr Alexandra Schnell, whose team at Cambridge University subjected cuttlefish to a variation on the famous Marshmallow Test, which measures the subject’s ability to resist instant gratification in order to gain a greater reward than the one on offer.

According to a paper published this week, the cuttlefish were able to resist a less appetising snack (dead king prawns) and hold out for much tastier live grass shrimp for between 50 and 130 seconds, a feat of strategic self-control rivalling those of “large-brained vertebrates such as chimpanzees, crows and parrots” and surpassing by quite some distance my ability to resist a Prego steak roll from Chippies in Cape Town. ..

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