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Animal Cognition

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 53–60 | Cite as

Visual perception of biological motion in newly hatched chicks as revealed by an imprinting procedure

  • L. Regolin
  • L. Tommasi
  • G. Vallortigara
Original article

Abstract

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.

Key words Biological motion Imprinting Chick Perception 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Regolin
    • 1
  • L. Tommasi
    • 1
  • G. Vallortigara
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of General Psychology University of Padova, Via Venezia 8, 35131 Padova, ItalyIT
  2. 2.Department of Psychology Laboratory of Animal Cognition and Comparative Neuroscience and B.R.A.I.N. Center for Neuroscience, University of Trieste Via S. Anastasio 12, 34123 Trieste, Italy e-mail: vallorti@univ.trieste.it, Tel.: +39-040-6762724, Fax: +39-040-4528022IT

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