Can this Cuttlefish Pass an Intelligence Test Designed for Children?

Witness a hungry, color-changing cuttlefish take part in an oddly adorable, psychological test. Following days of training, the cuttlefish is faced with the decision to strike and devour one of two tempting prey: Will it wait for the live crayfish or immediately strike the shrimp? Its intriguing behavior is challenging our understanding of the origins of intelligence.

This groundbreaking experiment was adapted from the Stanford Marshmallow Test, originally designed for children.


Produced, Directed, and Narrated by Greg Kestin
Senior Digital Producer: Ari Daniel

Executive Producers: Julia Cort and Chris Schmidt
Consultants: Aaron Blaisdell, Josep Call
Camera: Greg Kestin, Shaun Hepple, Emily Zendt

READ more in the research paper “Cuttlefish exert self-control in a delay of gratification task”

Alexandra K. Schnell
Nicola S. Clayton
Markus Boeckle
Micaela Rivera
Roger T. Hanlon

Special Thanks:
Tina Newberry
Kelly Sowers
Joe Porter
Mitchell Salley
Brennan Schaefer
P.J. Donahoe
Edward Thomson
Sara Cooper
Kendra Buresch
Chris Matulis
Denise Semedo
E.J. Masicampo
Timothy Huang

Music: APM
Sound Effects:
Stock footage: Videoblocks, Pond 5, Shutterstock

Funding by: Foundational Questions Institute Franklin Fetzer Fund

This project was supported by grant number FQXi-RFP-1822 from the Foundational Questions Institute and Fetzer Franklin Fund, a donor advised fund of Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

© WGBH Educational Foundation 2021
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