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?
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.
Aurélie Coulon (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
Evaluation round #113 Sep 2018
DOI or URL of the preprint: 10.5281/zenodo.1303263
Version of the preprint: v1.0
Decision by Aurélie Coulon
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.