Like humans, crows recognize faces and form associations with them—and to accomplish this, the two species’ brains appear to work in similar ways.
The crows were captured by investigators wearing masks called “the threatening face.” The crows were never treated in a threatening way, but the fact they’d been captured created a negative association with the mask they saw.
Then, for the four weeks they were in captivity, they were fed by people wearing a mask different from the first—this one called “the caring face.” The masks were based on actual people’s faces and both bore neutral expressions so the associations made by the crows was based on their treatment.
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Photo credit: Marzloff Lab/U. Washington