Transverse patterning in pigeons

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14 Scopus citations


The ability of pigeons to form configural stimulus representations was assessed in two operant discrimination experiments. In Experiment 1 the transverse patterning problem of Spence (1952) was trained. In Phase 1, subjects had to choose stimulus A on A + B - trials; B + C- trials were added in Phase 2. In Phase 3, the first two pairs were combined with C+ A- trials. The success of the subjects was simulated by a model assuming that elemental and configural stimulus representations coexist in a stable proportion, even in the phases of the experiment which do not require configural stimulus representations for successful solution. Experiment 2 replicated the first two phases of Experiment 1, but trained A + C- in Phase 3. Comparison of the results of this experiment with simulations of the model showed that elemental and configural stimulus representations coexisted in similar proportions as in Experiment 1, even though they were not necessary for successful task solution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-130
Number of pages12
JournalBehavioural processes
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Choice model
  • Key peck
  • Operant discrimination
  • Pigeon
  • Transverse patterning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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