Cuttlefish have been found to have evolved in self-control

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As a result of a research; It was concluded that squid, like humans, chimpanzees, parrots, and crows, evolved for self-control.

The study concluded that cuttlefish have the ability to delay their pleasure for a better reward, published Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

In the article written by Alexandra Schnell, the lead author of the study, it was stated that an adapted version of the Marshmallow experiment was applied to squid.

The Marshmallow experiment is a delaying pleasure test by Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel. In the test, children are presented with a prize, and it is said that if they do not receive this prize at the moment, they will receive another of the same prize.

He never even went to the chamber he couldn’t reach

In the experiment, squid were presented with different visual marks in different shapes.

The first sign would appear as soon as food was put into the chamber, and the mouth of the chamber would open with the squid heading. So the cuttlefish could eat the food right away.

The second sign would also appear as soon as the food was put, but unlike the first, there would be a delay in opening the chamber mouth.

Another sign was placed in the hopper with an extra plastic barrier preventing the squid from eating the prize.

When the hoppers were presented and saw the food, the cuttlefish also attacked all the chambers. However, over time, he realized that each chamber had its own rules.

In the end, the cuttlefish didn’t even bother to get close to the “unreachable” chamber because it learned that it could never reach the food.

Could wait between 50-130 seconds

After this test, this time the test was done with the first two chambers. The secondary food of squid is placed in the reservoir where the food is taken immediately; The primary food was put into the chamber with the delay.

Cuttlefish managed to delay and wait from 50 seconds to 130 seconds for the food it would prefer more.

Schnell said that this success can be compared to large-brained vertebrates such as chimpanzees, crows, and parrots, adding that they wanted to see if the squid could exercise flexible self-control with the experiment.

Stating that some primates and birds are able to demonstrate such advanced self-control because of their tool-handling skills or social relationships, Schnell said that these reasons do not apply to the squid: “They are not social and they do not use tools.”

Instead, squid may have evolved in self-control to maximize productivity.

Schnell said on this matter:

“They spend long periods of camouflage so as not to be prey. They remain almost immobile. So they can prevent predators from finding them. When they look for food, this camouflage is broken and they are exposed to their predators.

“We think their self-control may have evolved as a result of this. So they can optimize foraging by waiting to choose better quality.”


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