, Volume 171, Issue 6, pp 799-806

Lateralization and unilateral transfer of spatial memory in marsh tits

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The results reported in this paper demonstrate lateralization and transfer of spatial memory processing in an adult, food-storig bird. The technique of monocular occlusion was used to investigate lateralization and memory transfer in food-storing marsh tits (Parus palustris) for two tasks, food-storing and one-trial associative learning, which rely on one-trial learning for the spatial location of hidden food items. In the food-storing task, marsh tits had to return to the sites where they had previously stored a seed; in the one-trial associative learning task, the birds had to return to sites where they had been allowed to eat some, but not all, of a piece of peanut. For both spatial memory tasks, it was demonstrated that although the visual systems fed by both eyes are involved in short-term storage, the right eye system is associated with long-term storage, and that memories are transferred from the left to the right eye system between 3 and 24 h after memory formation.