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Behav Brain Res. 1999 Oct;104(1-2):169-78.

Left-hemispheric superiority for visuospatial orientation in homing pigeons.

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Anatomisches Institut der Universität Zürich, Switzerland.


To test for lateralisation of visuospatial orientation during homing, pigeons who had binocularly learned the homeward route from remote release sites were tested monocularly on either their left or their right eye for homing performance. In two experiments with three different release sites, birds using their right eye showed considerably better homing performance. If sun compass information was available, there was no difference in the direction of vanishing. Without this information, a difference between pigeons using their left or right eye emerged. Results show that visuospatial orientation in birds can be lateralised in favour of the left brain hemisphere and lend further support to the view that vision is important for pigeons homing on a familiar route. Cognitive mechanisms which might account for the observed pattern of lateralisation are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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