Can context changes improve behavioral flexibility? Towards a better understanding of species adaptability to environmental changes
Is behavioral flexibility manipulatable and, if so, does it improve flexibility and problem solving in a new context?
Recommendation: posted 20 March 2019, validated 26 March 2019
Coulon, A. (2019) Can context changes improve behavioral flexibility? Towards a better understanding of species adaptability to environmental changes. Peer Community in Ecology, 100019. 10.24072/pci.ecology.100019
Behavioral flexibility is a key for species adaptation to new environments. Predicting species responses to new contexts hence requires knowledge on the amount to and conditions in which behavior can be flexible. This is what Logan and collaborators propose to assess in a series of experiments on the great-tailed grackles, in a context of rapid range expansion. This pre-registration is integrated into this large research project and concerns more specifically the manipulability of the cognitive aspects of behavioral flexibility. Logan and collaborators will use reversal learning tests to test whether (i) behavioral flexibility is manipulatable, (ii) manipulating flexibility improves flexibility and problem solving in a new context, (iii) flexibility is repeatable within individuals, (iv) individuals are faster at problem solving as they progress through serial reversals. The pre-registration carefully details the hypotheses, their associated predictions and alternatives, and the plan of statistical analyses, including power tests. The ambitious program presented in this pre-registration has the potential to provide important pieces to better understand the mechanisms of species adaptability to new environments.
The recommender in charge of the evaluation of the article and the reviewers declared that they have no conflict of interest (as defined in the code of conduct of PCI) with the authors or with the content of the article. The authors declared that they comply with the PCI rule of having no financial conflicts of interest in relation to the content of the article.
Evaluation round #1
DOI or URL of the preprint: 10.5281/zenodo.1303263
Version of the preprint: v1.0
Author's Reply, 22 Feb 2019
Decision by Aurélie Coulon, posted 13 Sep 2018
I have now received two reviews of your pre-registration. It took longer time than we wished to get reviews, because of the (summer) timing and also because of the novelty of the pre-registration process. I apologize about this.
Both reviewers have interesting comments and suggestions about your hypotheses/predictions and protocol. I suggest revising your pre-registration accordingly, alongside writing a detailed response to each reviewer’s comment.
I look forward to receiving a revised version of your pre-registration.