Journal of Ethology

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 111-116

First online:

Visual and auditory cues in conspecific discrimination learning in Bengalese finches

  • Shigeru WatanabeAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Keio University
  • , Tailing JianAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, Keio University

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Four Bengalese finches were trained to discriminate 2 conspecific individuals in an operant chamber. Still visual images and contact calls were simultaneously presented to the subjects and specific (“correct”) perching response was reinforced with food. After the birds acquired the discrimination, they received the first test in which visual cues alone, auditory cues alone and combination of the 2 modalities were presented. Visual cues dominantly controlled the discriminative behavior of all birds. Then the subjects received the second test in which mixtures of the visual image of 2 stimulus birds appeared under 3 different auditory conditions, namely, no call, calls of 1 bird and calls of the other bird. Two subjects used the auditory cues when the visual stimulus was a mixture of 2 stimulus birds. These results suggest that the birds used less dominant cues when the dominant cues gave ambiguous information.