Tracking of unpredictable moving stimuli by pigeons

Wilkinson, Anna and Kirkpatrick, Kimberly (2020) Tracking of unpredictable moving stimuli by pigeons. Learning and Behavior . pp. 1-14. ISSN 1543-4494

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Tracking of unpredictable moving stimuli by pigeons
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Despite being observed throughout the animal kingdom, catching a moving object is a complex task and little is known about the mechanisms that underlie this behavior in non-human animals. Three experiments examined the role of prediction in capture of a moving object by pigeons. In Experiment 1, a stimulus moved in a linear trajectory, but sometimes made an unexpected 90o turn. The sudden turn had only a modest effect on capture and error location, and the analyses suggested that the birds had adjusted their tracking to the novel motion. In Experiment 2, the role of visual input during a turn was tested by inserting disappearances (either 1.5 cm or 4.5 cm) on both the straight and turn trials. The addition of the disappearance had little effect on capture success, but delayed capture location with the larger disappearance leading to greater delay. Error analyses indicated that the birds adapted to the post-turn, post-disappearance motion. Experiment 3 tested the role of visual input when the motion disappeared behind an occluder and emerged in either a straight line or at a 90o angle. The occluder produced a disruption in capture success but did not delay capture. Error analyses indicated that the birds did not adjust their tracking to the new motion on turn trials following occlusion. The combined results indicate that pigeons can anticipate the future position of a stimulus, and can adapt to sudden, unpredictable changes in motion but do so better after a disappearance than after an occlusion.

Keywords:Motion perception, visual perception, tracking, anticipation, pigeon
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:40063
Deposited On:05 Feb 2020 09:37

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