Stopping and changing actions in response to unexpected events or changes in the environment, are considered key components of flexible behavior and ‘self-control’, and are essential for navigating everyday life. 

However, current accounts of stopping and changing behavior, and behavioral control more generally, still fail to provide answers to one of the most fundamental questions in the field, namely why behavioral control is easy for some, but hard for others. In other words, why do we observe derailments in behavioral control, and how do such individual or group differences arise? 

In the Methusalem project, we aim to develop a pluralistic explanation of ‘stop and change’ behavior. 

With this research, we are primarily trying to understand animals better. This may even tell us something about humans. But this research also has a number of practical applications. For example, research on development and the importance of early-life environment can inform us on how to better prepare animals for life in the wild (which can be important for our partners at the wildlife rescue centre, who focus on the rehabilitation or reintroduction of wild animals). And when we better understand who the winners and losers are in times of great change (and why), we may also be able to better intervene. In times when biodiversity is under severe pressure, this too is incredibly important.