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Percept Mot Skills. 2012 Aug;115(1):27-42.

Further tests of pigeons' (Columba livia) planning behavior using a computerized plus-shaped maze task.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Kyoto University, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Tokyo, Japan. miyata@cog.human.nagoya-u.ac.jp


Miyata and Fujita in 2008 reported that pigeons, trained to move a target square to a goal square by pecking, plan one step ahead while performing on a plus-shaped maze, that is, the birds frequently made errors to move the target toward the previous goal direction after the goal jumped to another arm. In the present study, pigeons' planning using this maze was further examined. In Experiment 1, when goals appeared at all three of the arms during solution, the birds did not choose the old goal at above chance. Reaction time data suggested that the birds decided which goal to choose after crossing the center point. In Experiment 2, after the goal jumped to another arm following a preview phase, some birds frequently moved in the direction of the old goal. These results suggest that pigeons may plan one step ahead but might have updated plans for each movement.

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