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J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process. 2009 Jan;35(1):108-15. doi: 10.1037/a0012621.

Generalized auditory same-different discrimination by pigeons.

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Department of Psychology, Tufts University. Medford, MA 02155, USA.


Three pigeons were trained in a successive same/different (S/D) procedure using compound auditory stimuli (pitch/timbre combinations). Using a go/no-go procedure, pigeons successfully learned to discriminate between sequences of either all same (AAAA...or BBBB...) or all different (ABCD...) sequences consisting of 12 sounds. Both pitch and timbre were subsequently established as controlling dimensions. Transfer tests with novel stimuli revealed a generalized basis for the discrimination (novel pitch/timbre combinations, novel pitches, novel instruments, and complex natural & man-made sounds). These results indicate for the first time that pigeons can learn generalized same/different discriminations in a nondominant modality. When combined with earlier visual results, they support a qualitative similarity among birds and primates in their capacity to judge this type of fundamental stimulus relation across different modalities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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