Pigeons' categorization may be exclusively nonanalytic

TitlePigeons' categorization may be exclusively nonanalytic
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsJ Smith, D., F Ashby G., Berg M. E., Murphy M. S., Spiering B., Cook R. G., & Grace R. C.
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin & Review
Date Published2011 Apr
KeywordsAnimals, Cognition, Columbidae, Concept Formation, Discrimination Learning, Pattern Recognition, Visual, Photic Stimulation

Recent theoretical and empirical developments in human category learning have differentiated an analytic, rule-based system of category learning from a nonanalytic system that integrates information across stimulus dimensions. In the present study, the researchers applied this theoretical distinction to pigeons' category learning. Pigeons learned to categorize stimuli varying in the tilt and width of their internal striping. The matched category problems had either a unidimensional (rule-based) or multidimensional (information-integration) solution. Whereas humans and nonhuman primates strongly dimensionalize these stimuli and learn rule-based tasks far more quickly than information-integration tasks, pigeons learned the two tasks equally quickly to the same accuracy level. Pigeons may represent a cognitive system in which the commitment to dimensional analysis and category rules was not strongly made. Their performance could suggest the character of the ancestral vertebrate categorization system from which that of primates emerged.

Alternate JournalPsychon Bull Rev
PubMed ID21327382
PubMed Central IDPMC3532937
Grant ListP01 HD038051 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
HD-060563 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
P01 HD060563 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
MH3760-2 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
HD-38051 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States