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J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process. 2009 Apr;35(2):129-42. doi: 10.1037/a0013722.

Do pigeons (Columba livia) study for a test?

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.


In 4 experiments, the authors asked whether pigeons (Columba livia) would show metamemory by choosing to study a sample stimulus before taking a memory test. In Experiments 1a-1c, pigeons chose between cues that led either to exposure to a sample stimulus or directly to the comparison test stimuli without seeing the sample in a delayed matching-to-sample task. The same choice was used in Experiment 2 to see whether pigeons would take a reminder when memory of the sample was weak. In Experiments 3 and 4, pigeons' responses led to either a choice between red and green side keys with a sample present to guide the choice or a choice with no sample present. The findings of all of these experiments suggest the absence of metamemory in pigeons.

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