Journal of comparative physiology

, Volume 144, Issue 3, pp 375–379 | Cite as

Thermoregulation mediated by conditioned heart-rate changes in pigeons

  • Markus Sieland
  • Juan D. Delius
  • Werner Rautenberg
  • Bärbel May


Pigeons were subjected to an apparent heat (44 °C) or cold (30 °C) load by means of a thermode located next to their thermosensitive spinal cord. They were then able to obtain brief thermonormality (40 °C) spells if they changed their heart-rate by a preset amount above (or below) their baseline heartrate. In the final experiments the animals increased (or decreased) their heart-rate by about 25% within 12 training sessions, thereby achieving a partial thermoregulation: they were able to maintain their spinal temperature at a normal level for about 25% of the time. Extinction sessions, in which the heart-rate changes did not have any thermoregulatory effect, and control sessions, in which thermonormality periods were given independently of the heart activity, yielded baseline heart-rates. It is concluded that the cardiac activity related to thermoregulation may be subject to modification through learning and thus may not differ fundamentally in this respect from some homeothermic behavioural responses.


Spinal Cord Normal Level Training Session Behavioural Response Cardiac Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Markus Sieland
    • 1
  • Juan D. Delius
    • 1
  • Werner Rautenberg
    • 1
  • Bärbel May
    • 1
  1. 1.AG Experimentelle Tierpsychologie, Psychologisches Institut and AG Temperaturregulation, Abteilung BiologieRuhr-UniversitätBochumGermany

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