Adaptive intelligence of urban raccoons

21 Oct

Jude Isabella writes about how raccoons have adapted to living in the city:

“Unlike many animals, raccoons “flourished rather than receded in the face of human expansion,” Pettit points out in an article for the American Psychological Association.1 Part of the reason for their success may be that the urban environment has contributed to their intelligence. In humans, the effect is well known. Educational psychologist Walkiria Fontes has compared the cognitive abilities of rural and urban children on two metrics: crystallized intelligence, which is associated with experience, and fluid intelligence, which is the ability to think logically and solve problems in novel situations, independent of acquired knowledge. She found that urban rich kids have the edge with both kinds of intelligence. But even poor urban students scored better than poor rural students in fluid intelligence.

City raccoons also appear smarter than their rural counterparts. Suzanne MacDonald, a comparative psychologist who studies raccoon behavior at York University in Toronto, has compared the problem-solving skills of rural and city raccoons. The result? Urbanites trump their country cousins in both intelligence and ability.”

So the effects of cognitive enhancement may not be unique to humans!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: