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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Blocking between landmarks during 2-D (touchscreen) and 3-D (ARENA) search tasks with pigeons

  • Author(s): Leising, KJ
  • Wong, J
  • Ruprecht, CM
  • Blaisdell, AP
  • et al.

© 2014, Psychonomic Society, Inc. Many studies investigating cue competition have focused on the blocking effect. We investigated the blocking effect with pigeons using a landmark-based spatial search task in both a touchscreen preparation (Exp. 1a) and an automated remote environmental navigation apparatus (Exp. 1b). In Phase 1, two landmarks (LMs: A and Z) appeared on separate trials as colored circles among a row of eight (touchscreen) or six (ARENA) identical response units. Subjects were rewarded for pecking at a target response unit to the right of LM A and to the left of an extraneous LM, Z. During the blocking trials in Phase 2, LM X was presented in compound with a second LM (A) that had been previously trained. On control trials, LM Y was presented in compound with LM B and a target in the same manner as in the trials of AX, except that neither landmark had previously been trained with the target. All subjects were then tested with separate trials of A, X, B, and Y. Testing revealed poor spatial control by X relative to A and Y. We report the first evidence for a spatial-blocking effect in pigeons and additional support for associative effects (e.g., blocking) occurring under similar conditions (e.g., training sessions, spatial relationships, etc.) in 3-D and 2-D search tasks.

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