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Time management skills keep animals primed for survival

Many animals may have a previously under-appreciated ability to make up for lost time with more effort, according to new research publishing this week in .

Researchers from challenge the conventional view that animals face a simple trade-off between the speed and the accuracy of their decisions. , and instead suggest that this picture of a two-way trade-off is missing a crucial third component: an ability to expend effort at a greater rate to compensate for any limit to the time spent making a decision.

Lion watching zebras.
making decisions that need to be both fast and accurate.
Credit: Daniel Rubenstein


An Extra Dimension to Decision-Making in Animals: The Three-way Trade-off between Speed, Effort per-Unit-Time and Accuracy, de Froment AJ, Rubenstein DI, Levin SA, PLoS Comput Biol doi:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003937, published 18 December 2014.

We thank Princeton University, the Burroughs-Wellcome Fund and the National Science Foundation (Grant EF-1137894) for support. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.