Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 202, Issue 3, pp 235–245 | Cite as

Visual response properties of neurons in four areas of the avian pallium

Original Paper


In the present study we investigate the visual responsiveness of neurons in the entopallium, arcopallium, nidopallium, and hippocampus of pigeons. Pigeons were presented with 12 different stimuli, including three stimuli of a pigeon (a portrait of a pigeon’s face, a profile view of a pigeon’s face, and a picture of a whole pigeon). A total of 53 cells were recorded from the entopallium, 65 from the arcopallium, 32 from the nidopallium, and 67 from the hippocampus. Although a number of neurons were selective for certain colours and shapes, no neurons were solely selective for the three pigeon stimuli. This finding contrasts with previous studies across a range of mammals demonstrating selective firing to images of conspecifics. Rather than reflecting an absence of these cells in pigeons, we argue our findings may reflect the difficulty pigeons have in understanding the correspondence between 2D representations of 3D stimuli.


Avian pallium Visually responsive Stimulus selective Face cell Grandmother cell 



This research was supported by a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Foundation Grant UOO703 to Michael Colombo. All experimental procedures were approved by the University of Otago Animal Ethics Committee and conducted in accordance with the University of Otago’s Code of Ethical Conduct for the Manipulation of Animals.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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