Spatial and configural factors in compound stimulus processing by pigeons

Three matching-to-sample experiments examined whether spatial or configural factors determined how the element arrangement ofcompound sample stimuli infiuersc-e&matching accuracy in pigeons. Seven types of compound stimuli were tested. The arrangement of color and lineorientation elements in these compounds varied in terms of the spatial separation between the elements, the degree ofconsistency in element spatial location, and the number ofbounded areas containing the elements. Matching accuracy wasexamined upon initial exposure to the compounds, during asymptotic conditions of shared attention, and with variation of sample durations ranging from .04 to 5.935 sec. In all three experiments, when spatial proximity, locational certainty, and the number of lines were precisely controlled or equated, no evidence for the proposed configural processingof “unified” compounds was found (Lamb & Riley, 1981). Element spatial separation, and to a lesser degree perceptual limitations, determined compound performance. These results question our lab’s previous evidence for configural compound processing by pigeons (Lamb, 1988; Lamb&Riley, 1981). They suggest instead that pigeons independently and separately process the individual elements of color/line-orientation compounds, with element separation determining the distribution of processing between the elements.

Main Author: Cook, Robert
Other Authors: Riley, Donald, Brown, Michael
Format: Villanova Faculty Authorship
Language: English
Published: 1992
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