Six pigeons were trained in a change detection task with four colors. They were shown two colored circles on a sample array, followed by a test array with the color of one circle changed. The pigeons learned to choose the changed color and transferred their performance to four unfamiliar colors, suggesting that they had learned a generalized concept of color change. They also transferred performance to test delays several times their 50-msec training delay without prior delay training. The accurate delay performance of several seconds suggests that their change detection was memory based, as opposed to a perceptual attentional capture process. These experiments are the first to show that an animal species (pigeons, in this case) can learn a change detection task identical to ones used to test human memory, thereby providing the possibility of directly comparing short-term memory processing across species.
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This research was supported by NIH Grant MH-072616.
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Wright, A.A., S. Katz, J., Magnotti, J. et al. Testing pigeon memory in a change detection task. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 17, 243–249 (2010). https://doi.org/10.3758/PBR.17.2.243
- Change Detection
- Attentional Capture
- Visual Working Memory
- Test Array
- Change Detection Task