Picture-object recognition in the tortoise Chelonoidis carbonaria

Wilkinson, Anna and Mueller-Paul, Julia and Huber, Ludwig (2013) Picture-object recognition in the tortoise Chelonoidis carbonaria. Animal Cognition, 16 (1). pp. 99-107. ISSN 1435-9448

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10071-012-0555-1

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

To recognize that a picture is a representation of a real-life object is a cognitively demanding task. It requires an organism to mentally represent the concrete object (the picture) and abstract its relation to the item that it represents. This form of representational insight has been shown in a small number of mammal and bird species. However, it has not previously been studied in reptiles. This study examined picture-object recognition in the red-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria). In Experiment 1, five red-footed tortoises were trained to distinguish between food and non-food objects using a two-alternative forced choice procedure. After reaching criterion, they were presented with test trials in which the real objects were replaced with color photographs of those objects. There was no difference in performance between training and test trials, suggesting that the tortoises did see some correspondence between the real object and its photographic representation. Experiment 2 examined the nature of this correspondence by presenting the tortoises with a choice between the real food object and a photograph of it. The findings revealed that the tortoises confused the photograph with the real-life object. This suggests that they process real items and photographic representations of these items in the same way and, in this context, do not exhibit representational insight. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.

Keywords:animal, article, decision making, food, recognition, turtle, vision, Animals, Choice Behavior, Recognition (Psychology), Turtles, Visual Perception, Aves, Geochelone carbonaria, Mammalia, Reptilia, Testudines, Testudinidae
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D300 Animal Science
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:9128
Deposited On:23 Apr 2013 15:20

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