Study of investment diversification on the UC-Berkeley campus

That’s a header from the excellent Mark Thorson.  Here is an excerpt:

“Think of them as little bankers depositing money and spreading it out in different funds, and doing some management of those funds,” said Mikel Delgado, a doctoral student in psychology who heads the squirrel research team in the laboratory of UC Berkeley psychologist Lucia Jacobs.

Here is another good squirrel sentence:

“Despite her disability, she’s great at caching,” said Delgado.

And this:

…squirrels shake their heads to assess the quality of the nut, and that this “head-flicking behavior” increases when they plan to store the nut rather than eat it.

Finally, unlike many of us:

While Delgado hopes to crack the mystery of which cognitive navigation skills squirrels use to find their personal stashes, one thing’s for sure: “They’re saving for the future,” she said, “and they’re really smart about it.”

The story is here.

Comments

Hi, I'm Mark Thorson. I'm excellent.

This story and the story of the Tyler & Cowan [sic] shows why ancients believed in the superstition that a word itself would yield secrets to a deeper meaning. For example, this story proves in the wisdom of "going nuts about savings", and "squirreling away savings". The Tyler Cowan story shows the Tyler is at war with the Cowan, and hence TC here is at war with himself and therefore tries to give both sides of the story. When he's not eavesdropping (Google Freemasonry Tyler Cowan).

I just saw another word association here: it struck me like a conspiracy theory. TYLER COWEN of George MASON University! The anti-Masonic Cowan. The Masonic Tyler. What are the odds? The same as an unknown teen amateur beating world famous Grandmaster Pal Benko for first in the 1977 NJ State Chess championship? Did Benko even play that year? My head is spinning from all the implausible possibilities--black swans abound!

What does this mean?

Jacobs [UC Berkeley psychologist Lucia Jacobs.] was also the first to discover that squirrels remember the location of their own buried nuts more so than of nuts buried by other squirrels.

I'm puzzled. How does one know, let alone remember?

I guess also squirrels have eyes to watch others burying their nuts..?

I'd rather think of bankers as big squirrels.

I'd be impressed if the experimenters succeeded in getting squirrels to deposit the nuts for safekeeping and accept a plastic fiat nut token in return.

Wonder if this can be pulled off......

you're thinking of finuts, which are traded in open markets in Grant Park, Chicago, except in winter.

Or put the squirrels online and see if they'll make trades using bitnut.

I wouldn't brake for bankers.

You aren't risk averse then. Just Imagine the subsequent bodywork estimates.

70 year out-of-date fat joke!

Having to survive a winter will turn anyone into a saver. An anecdote. Where I live construction workers could count on 10 months of work a year. The slow time coincided with ski season as an added benefit. The workers would stash away enough for that time. When the construction boom happened in the mid 00's everyone was able to work all year. That went on for maybe 4,5 years then things reverted to normal. A fellow I know was saying that we knew how to make do with slow times but forgot.

If economists were meteorologists they would have enormous bodies of literature with competing schools on how to smoothe out the weather cycle.

Squirrels always take our hazelnuts before they are ripe. A couple of winters ago, though, we found they'd left us lots of walnuts buried in our garden tubs.

i wonder how do the squirrels maintain property rights.....do some squirrels just live on the savings of others..how do they resolve conflict...or rather avoid it at all?...

If it's true that squirrels "remember the location of their own buried nuts more so than of nuts buried by other squirrels", then apparently the squirrels' own natural cognition is what gives rise to property rights. The fact that squirrels' ownership of their nuts stems from natural cognition, rather than from some squirrel government, would seem to suggest that the notion of property precedes the notion of government.

If they are saving , could they be Asian ? I guess some commenters would have a squarrel with this thesis.

'squirrels shake their heads to assess the quality of the nut, and that this “head-flicking behavior” increases when they plan to store the nut rather than eat it.'

In _Charlie and the Chocolate Factory_, the squirrels tap Veruca Salt on the noggin to see if she is a bad nut. But it turns out they head-flick instead of tap. Another myth busted.

Wait, I thought hoarding was bad? Maybe we could stimulate the squirrel economy if we printed tickets for nuts?

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