Oct. 6 (UPI) — In a paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, scientists argue that rivalries among animal neighbors could drive cognitive evolution, encouraging the development of ‘Napoleonic’ intelligence.
To date, the study of cognitive evolution among animals has focused on antagonistic and co-operative social interactions within groups — the kinds of interactions thought to demand the development of so-called Machiavellian intelligence.
“Machiavellian intelligence is the House of Cards-style cunning that has evolved to get ahead in social politics within groups,” senior Andy Radford, professor of behavioral ecology at the University of Bristol in Britain, told UPI in an email.
Machiavellian intelligence and the related cognitive processes help animals compete and cooperate with their intergroup peers and relatives.
“We argue that animals also need ‘Napoleonic’ intelligence, the more Game of Thrones-style sharpness necessary to triumph in a world packed with rival outsiders,” Radford said.