Visual perception of biological motion in newly hatched chicks as revealed by an imprinting procedure
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Day-old chicks were exposed to point-light animation sequences depicting either a walking hen or a rotating cylinder. On a subsequent free-choice test (experiment 1) the chicks approached the novel stimulus, irrespective of this being the hen or the cylinder. In order to obtain equivalent local motion vectors, in experiments 2 and 3 newly hatched chicks were exposed either to a point-light animation sequence depicting a walking hen, or to a positionally scrambled walking hen (i.e. an animation in which exactly the same set of dots in motion as that employed for the walking hen was presented, but with spatially randomized starting positions). Chicks tested on day 1 (experiment 2) or on day 2 (i.e. after a period in the dark following exposure on day 1 (experiment 3)) proved able to discriminate the two animation sequences: males preferentially approached the novel stimulus, females the familiar one. These results indicate that discrimination was not based on local motion vectors, but rather on the temporally integrated motion sequence.
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