When it comes to solving problems, kids and wild great apes will spontaneously invent similar tools. For instance, when given a stick, young children will use it to retrieve Play Doh balls stuck inside a tube, much like apes use sticks to reach insects at the bottom of a hole. This discovery counters previous beliefs suggesting such tool use requires social learning.
Inhibitory control, or the ability to wait for a treat, may be a good indicator of how well your pooch can solve a problem.
A recent study of carnivorous animals foiund that those with large brains (relative to their body size) are better at solving problems than smaller-bodied individuals. Of the 140 animals tested, bears were the most successful at retrieving their favorite snacks from inside a secured metal box.
Some Asian elephants blast air through their trunks like leaf blowers in order to acquire inaccessible food, suggesting the animals have greater situational awareness and are better problem solvers than thought.
More than 500 dog owners have contributed to a study on dog cognition and problem-solving skills that suggests dogs can be conditioned toward psychological dependence.