Can reptiles perceive visual illusions? Delboeuf illusion in red-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria) and bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps).

Santacà, Maria, Miletto Petrazzini, M E, Agrillo, C and Wilkinson, Anna (2019) Can reptiles perceive visual illusions? Delboeuf illusion in red-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria) and bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps). Journal of Comparative Psychology., 133 (4). pp. 419-427. ISSN 0735-7036

Full content URL: https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037%2Fc...

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Can reptiles perceive visual illusions? Delboeuf illusion in red-footed tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria) and bearded dragon (Pogona vitticeps)
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Abstract

Optical illusions have been widely used to compare visual perception among vertebrates because they can reveal how the system is able to adapt to visual input. Sensitivity to visual illusions has never been studied in reptiles. Here, we investigated whether red-footed tortoises, Chelonoidis carbonaria, and bearded dragons, Pogona vitticeps, perceive the Delboeuf illusion. This illusion involves the misperception of the size of a target circle depending upon the context in which it is presented. We adopted the same size discrimination for both species to compare their performance. Animals were presented with two different types of trials. In control trials, they received two different-sized food portions on two plates of the same size. In test trials, they received two same-sized food portions but presented on two different-sized plates. If they perceived the illusion in the same way as humans, we expected them to select the food portion presented on the smaller plate. The tortoises exhibited poor performance in the control trials, which prevented us from drawing any conclusions about their perception of the Delboeuf illusion. In contrast, the bearded dragons selected the larger amount of food in control trials. In test trials, they selected the portion presented on the smaller plate significantly more often than chance, suggesting a human-like sensitivity to the Delboeuf illusion. Our study provides the first evidence of the perception of a visual illusion in a reptile species, suggesting that rather than simply detecting visual input, they interpret sensory information captured by photoreceptors.

Keywords:reptile, visual illusion
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:38032
Deposited On:29 Oct 2019 12:16

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