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Pigeons' recognition of partially occluded objects depends on specific training experience


, : Pigeons' recognition of partially occluded objects depends on specific training experience. Perception 36(1): 33-48

DiPietro et al (2002 Perception 31 1299-1312) reported a dramatic improvement in pigeons' recognition of partially occluded objects after the birds had been trained to recognize objects that were placed on top of another surface. Here, we investigated whether training with partially erased stimuli or with notched stimuli that had a thin gap between the object and another surface would similarly enhance pigeons' recognition of partially occluded objects. We found that erased training had no effect on the birds' recognition of partially occluded objects. Training pigeons to recognize notched objects improved their performance with the same objects when they were partially occluded; but this improvement did not transfer to novel objects, a result that DiPietro et al reported after on-top training. Together, the present results and those of DiPietro et al implicate prior experience as a key factor in pigeons' recognition of partially occluded objects. Training experiences which improve recognition of partially occluded objects may do so because they improve decomposition of complex two-dimensional scenes by pigeons into separate entities.

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PMID: 17357704


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