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PLoS Biol. 2005 Jul;3(7):e208. Epub 2005 Jun 7.

Visually inexperienced chicks exhibit spontaneous preference for biological motion patterns.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, B.R.A.I.N. Centre for Neuroscience, University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy. vallorti@univ.trieste.it

Abstract

When only a small number of points of light attached to the torso and limbs of a moving organism are visible, the animation correctly conveys the animal's activity. Here we report that newly hatched chicks, reared and hatched in darkness, at their first exposure to point-light animation sequences, exhibit a spontaneous preference to approach biological motion patterns. Intriguingly, this predisposition is not specific for the motion of a hen, but extends to the pattern of motion of other vertebrates, even to that of a potential predator such as a cat. The predisposition seems to reflect the existence of a mechanism in the brain aimed at orienting the young animal towards objects that move semi-rigidly (as vertebrate animals do), thus facilitating learning, i.e., through imprinting, about their more specific features of motion.

PMID:
15934787
PMCID:
PMC1150290
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pbio.0030208
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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